Education SSA at British High Commission in need of Consultant, English.

Location: Abuja

Role Type: Business, Partnership and Programme Development / Delivery FTC 
Pay Band: 7
Duration: 2-year Fixed Term Contract + 1 by agreement 
Reports to: Senior Consultant English and Education SSA 

Role Purpose

  • To support business and programme development and the delivery of quality, effective, efficient and compliant State Aid and Non State Aid English for Education Systems (EES) contracts, to build a technically strong and sustainable English contracts portfolio in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Geopolitical/SBU/Function Overview
Sub-Saharan Africa context and market developments:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the poorest region in the world with the highest population growth. In 2014 the population was 973 million in 45 countries and it is forecast to grow to 1.8 billion by 2050. 70% of the population is under 25 and growing. It is projected that by 2030, the number of youth (15-24 years) will increase by 42% and more than double to 2055 (UN). More than 26% of the world’s refugees live in SSA. According to the International Organisation for Migration, internal (including rural to urban), regional and intercontinental migration is occurring on a larger scale in Africa than any other region. Large-scale internal migration (rural-urban) is the single biggest demographic change underway in SSA, projected to continue over the next 15-20 years. This poses huge challenges to infrastructure and delivery of basic services, including health and education. The World Bank forecasts that by 2050 the region will have a middle class the size of Europe and there is an increasing focus from the UK on developing greater commercial links with a growing number of countries across the region. However, countries remain vulnerable to economic shocks, climate change and the increasing threat from international terrorism.
  • Generally, the region is becoming more politically stable but the majority of countries in SSA are still developing economies and the risk of unrest caused by large-scale internal rural to urban migration, increasing levels of youth unemployment and unequal economic growth within societies remains significant.
  • All this has long term implications for national, regional and global security and presents huge opportunities and challenges for the UK.
  • Across SSA, government priorities are economic growth, education and skills and youth employment. The opportunity and challenge is to meet the needs of emerging societies and economies and the aspirations of the burgeoning youth population. The ability of these young people to prosper will be critical for the future success of their societies and economies, and for their resistance to alienation arising from inequality and frustration.
  • Within this context, many governments seek to invest in education systems to raise standards. However, with the gains made in universal access to education and a rapidly increasing youth population, governments are struggling to finance education. With the considerable challenges education systems in the region face, there are therefore competing demands for limited resources.

Context and market for English within education reform:

  • Africa is multi-lingual with between 2,000-2,500 languages spoken across the continent and around 100 used for cross-border and inter-ethnic communication. Colonialism left a legacy of English, French and Portuguese as official languages in different countries and decades of political argument and sensitivity around the relative status of languages in any one country. In recent years this has evolved on the one hand into recognition of the role of mother tongues in early grade education, but also to the recognition of English as a language of educational, economic and international opportunity.
  • There is therefore a mixed landscape of language policy and practice across the region; some countries have introduced English as an additional language at different stages of primary or lower secondary education as part of a multi-lingual or bilingual approach; others are in the process of introducing English as the medium of instruction (EMI), again at different stages of basic education and some, where English has long been the medium of instruction in school, are either struggling to improve teaching and learning through English or on the other hand, failing to acknowledge the ‘problem of English’ in influencing overall learning outcomes.
  • All of these different scenarios pose individual challenges in supporting governments but also give us the opportunity to influence policy through consultancy and thought leadership, in line with the Juba Principles.
  • Currently, most support to education is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), European Union (EU), World Bank, Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and USAID, although there are several other development partners also funding education on a smaller scale in more stable countries like Rwanda, Tanzania and Senegal. Competitors for large-scale education reform projects include international agencies such as Education Development Trust (EDT), MottMacDonald/Cambridge Education and McKinsey, which are establishing track record through recent successful project bids in e.g. Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. Where appropriate we will seek to partner with international organisations as well as NGOS and local ministries of education. In countries like Sudan and South Africa our long-term relationship and work with the Ministries of Education has led to a willingness to partner with us in teacher development and capacity building projects.
  • Whilst we have had some success in attracting funding for teacher development for teachers of English and for support to the transitional year to English medium education, major opportunities to improve bilingual education systems and transform learner outcomes through high quality English provision are likely to come through reforms of core areas of education, such as the curriculum, assessment and teacher education.
  • In this context, the merger of Education and Society (E&S) and English for Education Systems (EES) is a logical and positive development. Through an integrated approach to education we can influence donors’ understanding of the significance of the language of instruction in the revision of current curricula, textbooks, assessment and pedagogy in and for English.

British Council’s SSA vision and strategy refresh to 2020:

  • We will focus on creating opportunities and enabling young people to fulfil their potential – improving their employability, resilience and networks. We will do this through developing long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships between the UK and Africa that support prosperous and secure futures for both. We will:
    • Enable connections, exchange and opportunities between Africa and the UK 
    • Develop a strong understanding of our primary audience
    • Contribute to greater inclusion in African societies
    • Contribute to economic development, innovation & employability in Africa and the UK
    • Enable the UK to have strong and enduring networks with future leaders and influencers.
  • One of five programme priorities for the SSA region is to develop a compelling English for Africa strategy, comprising English for non-Anglophone countries, English for Education Systems, including teacher training, and a sustainable English teaching operation.

British Council’s SSA E&S vision:

  • By 2020, through building lasting people to people, institutional and state level relationships with the UK, we will provide opportunities:
    • For young Africans to become productive and engaged in their communities
    • To increase the effectiveness of institutions, and
    • To enable civil society and the state to work together more effectively.

British Council’s SSA English in Education (EES) portfolio:

  • The EES portfolio of programmes includes a £5 million Teaching for Success contract in Rwanda (State Aid), the £3.9m English Connects programme (State Aid) and a €4 million Teaching for Success contract in Sudan (Non State Aid). There are smaller projects in Inclusion and Teaching for Success in South Africa and Nigeria, and Language for Resilience activity in Ethiopia and Uganda.
  • British Council programmes in the English in Education portfolio fall under the following four EES thematic areas: Teacher Education and CPD; English Medium and Multilingual Education; Language for Resilience; and Curriculum, Resources and Assessment.

Teacher Education and CPD:

  • English Connects is working with Ministries of Education in unrepresented countries to provide capacity building for secondary level teachers of English
  • Regional Teacher Networks is a programme providing capacity building workshops and professional development opportunities for representatives of English Language Teacher Associations across SSA
  • Building Learning Foundations is building teacher capacity in primary schools across Rwanda
  • There is a longstanding ELT collaboration programme with the Department for Basic Education in South Africa
  • Sudan has projects around English for Teaching and English as a University Requirement

English Medium and Multilingual Education:

  • English Connects is providing a variety of consultancies for Ministries of Education in unrepresented countries
  • Regional, sub-regional and country-based research and thought leadership, including language policy dialogues (e.g. in Nigeria)

Language for Resilience:

  • Working with refugees and migrants in Ethiopia and undertaking research in Uganda

Curriculum, Resources and Assessment:

  • English Connects is providing a variety of consultancies for Ministries of Education and access to high quality free resources
  • Language and Resources for Resilience in Ethiopia, Uganda and West Africa

Main Accountabilities

  • Reporting to the Senior Consultant English and Education SSA and working in close collaboration with the regional, cluster and country-based Education and English in Education teams, key stakeholders in priority countries and other stakeholders, the postholder will support countries in SSA to develop EES State Aid and Non State Aid programmes in line with regional EES strategy.
  • A key accountability will be to contribute to proposal management. The postholder will also support the development and delivery of quality, effective, efficient and compliant State Aid and Non State Aid EES contracts, contributing to the scale up of existing projects and design of new ones (using programme based planning).

Main Duties and Responsibilities
Main duties and responsibilities will be in line with our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Child Protection (CP), Adults at Risk (AaR) and other overarching corporate policies and include: 

Proposal management:

  • Support the technical writing for EES State Aid and Non State Aid bids
  • Ensure proposal coordination, including sourcing resources required
  • Ensure British Council standards for proposal documents – design and data protection
  • Work with EES commercial manager and finance teams to ensure proposals are costed and priced appropriately

Project design and development:

  • Work in collaboration with the Senior Consultant English and Education SSA and regional English in Education team to contribute to the development and implementation of programmes, projects and services which deliver British Council goals on impact and income within the Education and EES businesses and that align to wider corporate and regional strategies
  • Promote a Teaching for Success approach in continuing professional development (CPD) for schools to countries, clients and partners
  • Ensure mainstreaming of EDI within English and Education programme development in line with the regional EDI strategy

Project management and delivery:

  • Manage planning, preparation, communication and delivery of all programme and project activities in countries, ensuring compliance with British Council’s corporate requirements and Centre of Excellence standards for project management
  • Manage the planning, preparation and delivery of project reports, communications, marketing and monitoring and evaluation
  • Manage procurement of all goods and services for projects in line with British Council requirements and in collaboration with relevant British Council regional and country staff
  • Liaise with key education stakeholders and agencies in priority countries as required; collaborate with key internal Education and English stakeholders
  • Identify related risks and issues and manage these proactively using the corporate and project risk management frameworks; regularly report risks to the Senior Consultant English and Education SSA and relevant regional and country staff
  • Be accountable for all project assets, inventories and registers (including contracts register), ensuring compliance and escalating any associated risks
  • Lead on project information knowledge and records management
  • Act as a focal point on relevant programmes and projects; ensure compliance with British Council policies on child protection, adults at risk, health and safety, GDPR and other overarching corporate policies and procedures
  • Be accountable for the analysis, input and reporting of participation (REF Level 2) along with project outcomes, impact

Financial and resource management:

  • Manage all programme and project financial records in accordance with British Council requirements
  • Plan and refine budgets as required and ensure these are entered in SAP in collaboration with the Senior Consultant English and Education SSA and regional and country Finance
  • Undertake monthly internal checks and reporting as required
  • Manage any journals, accruals, deferrals and reconciliations and ensure they are recorded in SAP and reported as required
  • Prepare budget revisions as required and manage communications with regional Finance
  • Prepare monthly commentary against projects for regional English in Education, finance and country commentary reporting
  • Plan and prepare for internal and external audits
  • Manage value for money planning and analysis in collaboration with relevant regional and country teams
  • Manage and report on benefit to the UK for related programmes and projects as required

Networks and partnership development:

  • Develop and maintain an active Education and English sector network to augment and raise awareness of the British Council’s expertise and engagement in English
  • Contribute to sector conferences, professional forums, external workshops which increase British Council profile
  • Alongside E&S colleagues, build relationships with partners, stakeholders and clients in the English and Education portfolios
  • Develop and maintain an active internal regional and global network of E&S colleagues for knowledge sharing, communications and developments within E&S.

Key Relationships 

  • SSA Portfolio Lead English in Education (EES) and Portfolio Lead Education
  • Regional and Country Senior Advisers and EES Heads (Education and English)
  • Regional Education and English teams
  • SSA regional digital, marketing and communications teams
  • Regional and country business support (BSS) teams including Finance and HR
  • Country Directors


  • Donors such as DfID, the EU, UNICEF, World Bank, Ministries of Education, stakeholders including teachers’ associations in priority countries, school leaders, teachers and teacher trainers
  • Short term experts and consultants
  • External suppliers/vendors

Role Requirements 
Threshold requirements:

  • Passport requirements/ Right to work in country: You must be able to secure the right to live and work in Nigeria.
  • Assessment stage – Shortlisting
  • Direct contact or managing staff working with children?: Yes
  • Assessment stage – DBC check or equivalent required
  • Notes: Travel within the region and to priority countries, according to security and risk guidelines. Postholder will be required to work Monday to Friday each week and may sometimes be required to work unsocial hours and / or at weekends.

Person Specification
Language requirements:

  • English proficiency (IELTS 7+) – Minimum / essential
  • Assessment stage – Shortlisting


  • Postgraduate Diploma in English Language Teaching or equivalent – Minimum / essential
  • MA in ELT or Education – Desirable
  • Relevant programme or project management qualification – Desirable
  • Assessment stage – Shortlisting

Role Specific Knowledge & Experience:

  • At least 2 years’ experience of writing bids/proposals for external clients – Minimum / essential
  • At least 2 years’ experience of managing English/Education for development projects in a low income country – Minimum / essential
  • At least 2 years’ experience of recruiting, managing and working with international and national consultants – Minimum / essential
  • At least 2 years’ experience of managing budgets and resources – Minimum / essential
  • Experience of commissioning research and/or monitoring and evaluation – Desirable
  • Assessment stage – Shortlisting & Interview

Role Information

  • Diplomatic status: No
  • Is security clearance required?: No
  • Can the post holder be accompanied by a partner?: Yes
  • Can the post holder be accompanied by children? If there is an age restriction, please state what age: Yes

Method of Application

Use the link(s) below to apply on company website.

Click here to download Job Details (Pdf)

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  • Please state the location you are applying for in your Supporting Statement.
  • In your application form, please clearly explain how you meet the essential and desirable skills, qualification and experience criteria mentioned in the person specification section of the role profile. This will help us determine your fit for the role and increase your application’s chances of success.