The Consultants’ Oath

Doctors swear the Hippocratic Oath - I wrote a "Pedagogical Oath" for teachers see it here but what are the ethics of freelance consultants? The Consultants’ Oath began as a personal statement of the values and principles that drive my work. It has since been developed in workshops with other consultants. It has been used by ASPECT/PROSPECT as part of our professional code of practice

John Pearce 2012

Our commitment to you as independent education improvement professionals.

Our values will inform our behaviour, as we work alongside you, to identify, clarify and respond to your development needs. In order to do this effectively we will:

Develop a shared moral purpose

We believe in integrity, trust, accountability and honesty.  We are fair and ethical in our dealings.  We show respect and earn it by building effective relationships, the foundation of all sustained improvement.

We promote simplicity, clarity, innovation and reflective practice.

What will HELP

What might HINDER

Discussing the proposal and contract openly and honestly

Hiding elements of our intentions,

Creating an agreed, written, programme of work and providing a specific contract with you

Unclear or non-negotiable contractual arrangements

Having measurable and meaningful outcomes for both content and process

Unrealistic expectations, or vague aims, leading to unintended consequences

Being explicit about principles and ethics

Over-emphasising ends to the detriment of means

Communicating a transparent approach to fees and charges     

Hidden costs and unexpected charges at the invoicing stage

Offering simple guarantees

Complicated contractual arrangements


Work alongside you

We know our best work will be collaborative and tailored to your needs. We recognise we are not a permanent part of your workplace and that you know your circumstance and culture best.  We will bring our experience, knowledge and understanding of leadership and learning to support and challenge you as you develop, or sustain improvement and progress.

What will HELP

What might HINDER

Our inclusive and cooperative mindset

Only responding to individual perspectives

Listening to you and your colleagues first

Offering solutions that work elsewhere

Being role models for those we work with

A mismatch between what we say and do

Selecting bespoke and appropriate interventions

Using “one size fits all” and “off the shelf” approaches



leadership and learning

We believe the best leaders are learners who look at what they do with a view to doing it better next time. We also know that the best learners are leaders too, because they are willing and able to collaborate and inspire others in their endeavours. We thrive in working interdependently, making connections, networking and openly sharing ideas, materials and strategies.

What will HELP

What might HINDER

Picturing the whole workplace as a learning environment (having a systems thinking approach)

Only working in one area, or, focusing on one piece of the jig-saw, to the detriment , or exclusion of others.

Building a community of practice where success is celebrated and failure studied

Looking to champion and emulate success and denying, or ignoring, lessons from failure

Seeing everyone linked, or involved with the workplace as learners and potential leaders

Working only with individuals or the willing and motivated, thereby missing key perceptions.

Working interdependently

Working independently

Building in monitoring and self-evaluation

Just doing the task at hand


long term

Whilst our work with you will be limited, our focus will always be on the long term for you and your workplace. We are practical, imaginative and energetic about ways to build your and your colleagues’ capacity to make and sustain improvement.  We will look for short and midterm gains but will always keep your overall vision and purpose in focus.

What will HELP

What might HINDER

Helping you clarify your long term vision

Concentrating on the urgent, not the important

Keeping the bigger picture in mind

Focusing only on the here and now

Being persistent in identifying need

Jumping to conclusions

Looking to develop existing strengths

Seeking change for the sake of change

Seeking strategic and capacity building approaches that sustain improvement

Looking only for quick fixes, or short term remedies – treating symptoms not causes


Put simply, he is an inspiration. Always an innovator, John's work is the product of deep thinking and is anchored in what he knows motivates people. I have so often seen the long lasting impact when he works with groups and individuals alike. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending him without reservation

Philip Holmes, Director, BCEM Ltd

He is wise and he wants you to be wise too. It sounds dramatic but he changed my life by helping me regain the courage and self-belief which had been temporarily been taken from me.

Secondary Head Teacher (wishes to remain anonymous)

Your role is vital - you are the trusted face and the professional glue. Don't underestimate the effect of how you model professional conduct and integrity. You do walk the talk and ask the tough questions of everyone, including yourself.

Mike West Inspector of Special Measures School

I was at your session – you were incredibly inspiring – so much that it somewhat ‘changed my life’. So I guess it’s a big thank you to you for being one of those realistic, down to earth and interesting guys that education seems to lack these days!

Stuart Spendlow Teacher

I heard John speak – he was witty, articulate knowledgeable and inclusive. He was a big hit - thought provoking while remaining respectful of the experience of his audience. John will stretch you and make you think about things more deeply than you may have before. Not only that, he's a thorough good man!

Mark Grant Business & Leadership Coach.

He has a special way of bringing clarity and common sense to any task or challenge, which, combined with his wicked sense of humour endear him to colleagues at any level. He is demanding and authoritative but genuinely perceptive, supportive and caring.

Maggie Morland - Artist at Maggie Morland Arts

John is extraordinarily energetic and creative, with a capacity to pull together disparate ideas in a way that is readily accessible. He has been a pleasure to work with bringing warmth and profound sense of values and purpose into everything he has done with us

Kevin Ford Chief Executive FPM

I worked with John and he was fantastic, he really helped me realise my potential and believe in my new business venture. After working with him I feel clear about what I need to do next and how to do it. Really hope to work together again in the future.

Diane Stubbs Business Woman and winner of local “Dragon’s Den”

I've been privileged to work with John and have been impressed with his total engagement and commitment to his clients. John possesses that rare quality of truly respecting and valuing people. 'People Matter' to John Pearce and he ensures that their needs comes first.

Alan Wayment, Director, VISION

Of all the days I have delivered for the National College, the ones I have facilitated with John shine out like beacons in my memory. They are the ones from which I have learned and they are the ones from which the participants have continued to contact me, as a serving head to follow up issues which began as discussion on the day.

Jill Boyle Head teacher and National College Facilitator

The Consultants’ Oath - my ethics and values

The moral purpose & ethics driving my work.

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