Education Officer (Local Authority

The Job and What's Involved

Education officers help to develop, implement and monitor key education plans, based on local priorities and the national agenda for education. In this way, they contribute to the successful operation of the education service provided by children's services authorities.

Children's services authorities were created following the merger of local council social services and education departments. They have responsibility for education and social services for children, young people and families.

Education officers usually work in one of the following areas within authorities:

School Support Services - which includes responsibility for improving standards, monitoring effectiveness, implementing education development plans and developing curriculum policy.

Pupil Services - which has responsibility for developing access and inclusion policies, implementing behaviour and attendance strategies and overseeing special needs education.

Planning and Resources - which involves responsibility for developing an admissions policy, maintaining and improving educational premises and approving student awards and grants.

Priorities and therefore job roles are defined by individual authorities. Education officers are likely to be involved in some or all of the following activities:

  • Supporting schools on a range of issues to meet the requirements of legislation and local policies.
  • Working with head teachers to help them resolve specific problems.
  • Using ICT to provide management information to schools.
  • Developing and maintaining a positive relationship between schools, the community and the local authority.
  • Providing direct advice and support to clients of the education service including parents.
  • Working with and advising elected council members.
  • Advising governing bodies on the appointment of head teachers.
  • Helping to organise and deliver in-service training and personal development programmes.
  • Managing budgets and preparing bids.
  • Writing reports for a wide range of audiences.
  • Managing people.
  • Co-ordinating the work of assistant education officers.
  • Planning, co-ordinating and leading meetings.
  • Collating, analysing and interpreting data.
  • Promoting, developing and supporting anti-discriminatory practice.

In addition they may become involved in special projects.

Education officers work with other colleagues within the authority or council as well as head teachers, governors and parents.

Education officers are usually contracted to work standard full-time hours, Monday to Friday. Additional hours may sometimes be required to meet deadlines or attend meetings.

Education officers are office based, although they spend some time travelling locally to attend meetings and visit schools.

Job sharing and other flexible working arrangements may be available.

At the lower end of the pay scale, education officers may earn from around £40,000 a year. With higher qualifications and experience, education officers may earn between £45,000 and £50,000 a year.

Education officers with a high level of responsibility, extensive experience or expertise in a specific area, may earn £60,000 a year or more.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Education officers are employed by local authority children's services authorities. There are approximately 155 local authorities, employing around 1,000 education officers.

Jobs are advertised in local and national newspapers such as The Times Educational Supplement and The Guardian (Tuesdays). They are also advertised on individual local authority and council websites, and national websites such as www.jobsgopublic.com and www.lgjobs.com.

Although other educational establishments, and tourist attractions such as museums, may also use the job title 'education officer' in job advertisements, the responsibilities are likely to vary considerably from those outlined in this job guide, which refers specifically to education officers employed by local authorities and councils.

Education and Training

Although there are no set entry requirements, most education officers are graduates. Many will have teaching qualifications and teaching experience as well.

The exact requirements for each position vary according to the needs of the role, but are likely to include some or all of the following:

  • A degree leading to qualified teacher status or a relevant degree plus a Postgraduate Certificate in Education ( PGCE).
  • A postgraduate qualification, such as a Masters degree in education, education management or business administration.
  • Experience as a head teacher or head of department as well as the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).

As the job is likely to involve contact with young people, entrants will have to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. A driving licence is useful.

The minimum requirements for a degree course are usually two A levels and five GCSE's (A*-C) or equivalent qualifications.

For a degree leading to qualified teacher status, candidates must have GCSE's (A*-C) or equivalent qualifications in English, maths and science. For a PGCE, candidates must have a relevant first degree plus GCSE's (A*-C) or equivalent qualifications in English and maths. For a primary-level PCGE, a GCSE in science (A*-C) or equivalent is required in addition to English and maths. For more detailed information on how to qualify as a teacher, see the School Teacher job guide.

It may also be possible for graduates to join the local government National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP) which recruits up to 80 trainees each year. Applicants need a good degree (2.1 or above) to apply for the two-year programme.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

As this is a senior post, most education officers have a considerable amount of experience in education and training before moving into this area of work.

Local authorities offer both internal and external training opportunities to all staff, either to address identified training needs that are relevant to the job or for personal development.

There is a BTEC qualification in education and children's service development available through the Association of Professionals in Education and Children's Trusts (Aspect).This is work based and can be studied on a flexible basis.

There may be opportunities to study for a Masters degree in subjects such as education, education leadership or education management.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An education officer should have:

  • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to network and negotiate.
  • Strong communication and presentation skills.
  • People and project management skills.
  • Clear vision and creativity.
  • Knowledge of legislation, current issues and developments in education.
  • An awareness of the needs of clients of the education service.
  • Good computer skills.
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills.
  • Knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of school governing bodies.
  • The ability to adapt to and manage change.
  • Excellent organisational skills.
  • Numerical skills and the ability to manage budgets.
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • The ability to work under pressure and to meet deadlines.

Your Long Term Prospects

It is possible, with extensive experience, for an education officer to progress to more senior posts within an authority or education company.

An experienced education officer could also move into consultancy work.

There may even be opportunities to work overseas.

Get Further Information

Association of Professionals in Education
and Children's Trusts (Aspect), Woolley Hall,
Woolley, Wakefield WF4 2JR
Tel: 01226 383428
Website: www.aspect.org

Local Government Talent (LG Talent)
Website: www.lgjobs.com

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