Andrew J Baker:
Education Consultant and lecturer in Contemporary History

Andrew is a specialist in education and contemporary history. He was Headmaster of Westcliff High School for Boys, a Grammar School, for over 22 years and led the school to four successive OFSTED judgements of ‘outstanding’. He has an exceptional command of the current educational, social and political agendas and is a fluent speaker and writer able to connect with a wide range of audiences.

Andrew has worked as a Consultant with many schools and given presentations to Heads, Governors and businessman on many aspects of contemporary education and, more generally, on the nature and challenge of leadership. He has also been commissioned by local authorities to prepare detailed and evaluative Reports on the quality of provision in schools across an Authority.

Andrew has also mentored many newly appointed Heads, contributed to consultations led by the Secretary of State on The Future of the National Curriculum and given presentations to both the Westminster Education Forum and conferences for Independent Schools. He recently chaired an enquiry into Health Service provision in Essex and adjacent areas.

As a fluent, engaging and entertaining speaker with a particular interest in social, educational, cultural and political change in Britain since the Second World War, Andrew has given lectures and presentations to a range of audiences, including on cruise ships. Audiences invariably comment upon the clarity and accessibility of his presentations as well as the warmth and humour he brings to them.

He gives his audiences insights into the times through which they have lived and has a sharp eye for detail and anecdote. He paints vivid portraits of our post-war leaders bringing a particular focus to their personalities, styles and beliefs. He looks as well at the huge post-war changes British society has undergone. His incisive presentations on Brexit and the upheavals of 2017 have a resonant contemporary flavour and give opportunities to sit back, reflect and see our own times more clearly.

Andrew is the author of a best-selling book on Contemporary British Politics and he has recently published a further volume: Education and the Pursuit of Values: A Headmaster’s Reflections.

Andrew offers Consultancy Services in the following areas and is always happy to discuss wider possibilities.
  • Understanding the OFSTED Framework and Preparing for successful Inspection outcomes
  • Enhancing the quality of whole school teaching and pupils’ learning
  • Building rigorous and effective school self-evaluation as a vehicle for school improvement
  • Preparing and writing specific school self-evaluations to inform School Development Planning
  • Building effective whole School Leadership as a vehicle for Promoting Cultural Change
  • Using data intelligently to drive school improvement
  • Building and implementing systems of Performance Management to enhance school performance
  • Strengthening School Middle Management as a vehicle for School Improvement
  • Building and implementing whole school strategies to enhance the quality of teaching and learning
  • Building a school’s ethos to promote the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of pupils
  • Using School Assemblies as a vehicle for strengthening a school’s provision in SMSC
  • Planning budgets in times of austerity to realize best value and to correct imbalances
  • Planning and implementing Building Development Programmes to enhance teaching quality
  • Advising Governing Bodies on Headship Appointments and managing the entire process
  • Mentoring newly appointed Heads or established Heads wanting to reflect on their own leadership
  • Understanding, Achieving and Using Academy Status as a vehicle for school improvement
  • Advising on the role of Free Schools in the current educational landscape and planning initiatives
  • Conflict resolution: investigating and reporting on internal difficulties and advising Heads/Governors
  • Providing digests of OFSTED, HMI and DfE papers to enhance awareness and inform School planning.

Record as Headmaster

  • Played a pivotal leadership role in enabling Westcliff to become one of the first Schools to take Grant Maintained Status in September 1991 and the wider freedoms of Academy Status in September 2010.
  • Achieved judgements of ‘Outstanding’ over four OFSTED Inspections, as well as a similar judgment on Leadership and Management, through rigorous preparation, meticulous attention to detail and an insistence on common standards and procedures.
  • Developed the School’s curriculum, values, pastoral system and extra-curricular life to create an ethos focused on participation, personal integrity and responsibility which impacted powerfully on students.
  • Brought about a significant enhancement in levels of academic performance to make the School, across all performance indicators, the most successful in the local community: GCSE A*/A% record of 75% and an A*/A/B% record at Advanced Level of 80%. Promoted a sustained focus on teaching quality, vitality in the school’s corporate life, honesty in self-evaluation and proactivity in leadership and management.
  • Conceived and implemented a largely self-financed but transformational Building Development Programme embracing both new build and refurbishment with over sixty separate projects over twenty-two years at a cost of £8.2m and financing that programme almost entirely from revenue income.
  • Fostered a very strong sense of corporate identity and belonging by building close and effective relationships with Governors, staff, parents, students and the wider community in the interests of whole School development and sustaining that programme through an intensive communications programme.

Examples of work as a Schools’ Consultant

  • School Development Planning: Providing a detailed critique of a School’s Self-Evaluation and Development Plan and advising on aspects of School development within the national context.
  • Mentoring: Writing the self-evaluation of two Schools further to OFSTED inspections which put those Schools in Special Measures and mentoring the Heads.
  • Performance Analysis: Providing a rigorous analysis of data for four Schools, enabling each to understand better its areas of strength and weakness and its relationship to Schools in similar circumstances.
  • Recruitment: Advising on Headship appointments including writing promotional materials, shaping the interview process, reviewing candidates’ strengths and weaknesses, advising at interviews.
  • In-service Training: Presenting at national conferences on a wide range of educational issues