We have considerable experience of designing and delivering tailor made UK study visits for overseas clients. Programmes of short (maximum 4 weeks, normally 2 weeks) study visits to a location away from the client’s country of residence to view good practice and to establish how new strategies may be applied in the client’s own situation, can be an invaluable aid to developing individual skills. Critical is a detailed analysis of the client’s experience, understanding needs and the matching of these with the experience made available.
This needs to be reviewed on an ongoing basis during the progress of the visit and, if possible, followed up in the client’s own situation at the end of the visit. Visits are usually focussed on particular aspects of education (e.g. teacher development; raising of school standards; education finance; MIS development).
We are able to undertake the entire organization and delivery, involving other agencies and institutions as required. Very often clients wish to spend some time talking with national UK agencies in London and some time working outside London. Through our organization we are able to make all the logistic arrangements, including, if required, the development of an associated cultural programme.
Using our very close links with UK Local Authorities we are able to organise longer term placements for school principals and other senior education staff. Our experience is that this has to be more than simply “placing” the individual in a particular professional location.
The programme needs to be carefully designed around the individual needs; it is important then to offer regular support, guidance and reflection. Our approach is usually to identify a senior professional “mentor”. This person will be a very experienced senior educator, but one who has the personal skills to support and encourage. With senior colleagues we appreciate that the task is as much about “reflecting” their understanding and, in some cases, challenging and reviewing their experience.
In this way we have worked with colleagues from various locations including various African countries, from St Helena and from Caribbean countries.