Who We are

Elaine Smith, Managing Director

Elaine Smith

Elaine is managing director of the Education and Skills Improvement Service (ESIS), which provides high quality solutions to the post 16 Further Education and Skills sector; specialising in quality improvement services and interim management, with a specific focus on improving overall organisational performance and outcomes. Elaine provides critical friend support to senior leadership teams. She delivers leadership and management training and works with senior managers to develop strategy and organisational implementation.

Paulina Wall, Sales Director

paulina wall

Paulina Wall is Sales Director and has many years’ experience of the sector. Paulina owned a group of travel agencies before bringing her talents to further education. She managed most aspects of a college and many curriculum areas before joining the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and latterly becoming an Ofsted Inspector. Paulina was previously the founder and owner of BW Consultants, renowned for sector-leading quality improvement consultancy work. Elaine and Paulina joined forces in 2015 to create Education and Skills Improvement Service (ESIS). Their significant experience and outstanding track record has enabled them to successfully work with many education and training providers to bring about direct, tangible and sustainable quality improvements.


ESIS Values

At ESIS we want our Improvement Advisors to be recognised as the best in the sector with the highest standards, expectations and professionalism. It is important to us that each programme we deliver exceeds expectations as we know we are only as good as our last project and most future work is secured on customer satisfaction from previous work. At ESIS we appreciate the commitment and efforts of our Improvement Advisors and want to re-enforce the standards and expectations of our team:

  • We believe maintaining the confidentiality of provider, staff and learner information is paramount
  • We should continually provide added value for providers by ensuring we leave them with sustainable improvements and impact
  • We aim to always lead by example and ensure everything we do is best practice. Improvement Advisors/Interim Managers are invariably used as role models
  • We value continuous professional development to ensure we are providing the most current advice and support; particularly around pedagogy
  • We act in the best interests and well-being of learners, teachers, assessors and the provider
  • We respond promptly and take appropriate action on any safeguarding or health and safety issues
  • Where there may be an issue with a provider, we want them to let us know so we can resolve it together

ESIS was first established to make a difference. We want to be known as credible professionals who care, listen, support and improve by observing, coaching, training and managing; resulting in direct improvements in the quality of provision, outcomes for learners and organisational performance of providers in the Further Education and Skills sector.


Programmes recently delivered to providers by ESIS include:

  • English and mathematics – policy to best practice
  • Stretch and challenge – developing independent, critical-thinking learners
  • Target-setting learner’s progress and achievements
  • Collaborative assessment planning to maximise high grades
  • Preparing teachers for linear assessment
  • Maximising impact from effective self-assessment and quality improvement planning
  • Measuring progress over-time through direct developmental observations
  • Managing apprenticeship reforms – standards, levies and end-point assessment

Our unique approach focuses on your core business – the quality of your teaching, learning and assessment.  We know what works well and why! Our improvement adviser team understand the challenges facing the education and skills sector and have extensive experience of:

  • Planning and delivering learning
  • Developing effective teaching and learning strategies
  • Supporting learners to progress and fulfil their career aims
  • Embedding English, mathematics and employability skills into the curriculum
  • Ensuring continuous professional development directly impacts on organisational performance

Additionally, ESIS quality assures provision for work-based learning providers and employers.  This comprises of empowering the provider’s teams through:

  • Registration of approved training provider or approved employer (RoATP/EP)
  • Due diligence, compliance and audit
  • Learner records and MIS
  • Employer engagement
  • Learner recruitment
  • Delivery – following the learner journey
  • Funding and finance
  • Policies, procedures and processes support
  • Quality assurance and improvement, including audit and inspection-readiness

“Elaine’s session was very well planned, highly relevant and bespoke to the needs of our College.  It was informative, practical and thought-provoking.  All staff found it valuable!”

| North West College

“I’m glad ESIS saw the impact of their work when they returned – thanks for their astute observations”

| Vice Principal, North West FE College

“Attendees praised you to a person for the direct, frank and clear message given.  You created a virtual hornets nest of activity, which was exactly what we needed”.  Director of Quality South East College of FE”

| Director of Quality South East College