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Chair - Dorset Centre of Excellence

Chair - Dorset Centre of Excellence

Job Title: Chair - Dorset Centre of Excellence
Client: Dorset Council
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: South England
REF: 1192441
Contact Name: Chris Barrow
Contact Email:
Job Published: 7 months ago
Job Expiry Date: 28 Nov 2021

Unfortunately this job has now expired. However you can view all of our Live jobs here.

Job Description

A unique opportunity to create real change for children and young people.

Dorset Council is ambitious for its children and young people. Our vision is for ‘Dorset to be the best place to be a child; where communities thrive, and families are supported to be the best they can be’.

Working together with its partners and stakeholders, the Council set out a new vision, recognised in its key strategies. The Council Plan 2020 – 2024, set out our vision to provide more specialist education within Dorset for children with complex communication and learning needs. In addition, the Council’s Children and Young People’s 2020 – 2023, set out the vision for the Council to create an education community that delivers the best outcomes for our children and young people, together. Dorset Council’s SEND Capital Strategy 2020 – 2025 set out the significant and growing pressure the Council’s specialist provision is currently under and features proposals to expand provision by approximately 500 high quality and economically efficient places across the council area.

In January 2021 Dorset Council purchased the former St Mary’s School site for £10.05 million to support the delivery of this strategy.

The Dorset Centre of Excellence is a Council owned, limited company that will operate the site of the former St Mary’s Independent School in Shaftesbury. It is a place where world class research, best practice and personal development come together in a unique environment. We seek to bring young people and professionals together in a beautiful community setting to take both on a journey of learning, development and discovery. We are evidence led and forward thinking in our approach to achieving the best outcomes for young people and adults through a high quality, relationship based approach.

Please follow this link to a short tour of St Mary’s with Councillor Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio holder for Children, Education and Early Help:

The Centre will be home to a new special school for children and young people with special educational needs with social communication, social emotional and learning needs. The Centre will also deliver other provision to support vulnerable children and young people such as short breaks for respite care, a national centre of learning for best practice in education and social care, support for wellbeing through social prescribing, and other provision to enhance people’s lives. It truly is the first of its kind.

We’ve made great progress and now seek an Independent Chair to lead the Board. The school will be opening at pace and the new Chair must build robust compliance, governance and financial control, whilst ensuring children are properly safeguarded. They will help to create a culture for the new Board and provide clear strategic direction and accountability for its members. We want a Chair who will be a true advocate of the company and the Council; someone who will shine a spotlight on Dorset and the Centre of Excellence to deliver the best outcomes for children and young people.

You will have proven Chair or non-executive experience, building and fostering excellent relationships with key stakeholders across the company, Council and government, so you will be politically astute and a great communicator, with the ability to work collaboratively across a complex environment.

With an innovative and commercial mindset, you will provide vital leadership and strategic oversight for this dynamic initiative to realise its full potential. You will ensure the Centre of Excellence is forward thinking, evidence led, and improves outcomes for children through a high quality, relationship-based approach. Above all else, you will be truly passionate about the project and its ability to transform lives of vulnerable learners. This is a unique opportunity to bring together the vast expertise of the Board to innovate and create real and lasting change.

If you possess the skills and experience we seek and share our passion for creating a beacon of best practice which changes lives, we would love to hear from you.

For a confidential discussion, contact Chris Barrow (07437 839048) or Anita Denton (07725 554802).

Closing Date: Midnight on Friday 26th November 2021
Shortlisting: Wednesday 1st December (no candidate involvement)
Fireside chats with DCS and Director of Education: Monday 6th December
Interviews: Thursday 9th December

To apply, please click the link below and submit an up-to-date copy of your CV, along with a supporting statement (four pages maximum) that addresses the criteria set out in the relevant role profile and uses examples to demonstrate how you meet the essential requirements.

Applications must include:

  • Full contact details;

  • Names, positions, organisations and contact details for two referees (we will ask your permission before contacting referees);

  • Notification of any dates when you are not available for interview.

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At Tile Hill, we are committed to inclusion and accessibility. We champion and support all individuals to ensure everyone feels valued, listened to and motivated to get the very best out of each recruitment process and that processes are designed to meet the needs of individuals. If you have any specific requests and would like a confidential discussion with the Tile Hill team, then please email