Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber
About the job
The Department for Education‘s (DfE) vision is to provide world-class education and care that allows every child and young person to reach his or her potential, regardless of background. There are now over 6,000 open academies, free schools, studio schools and University Technical Colleges, with numbers increasing rapidly. In recent years, the results of sponsored academies have improved faster than other state-funded schools and, the longer they are open, the better they perform on average.
The National Schools Commissioner (NSC) and his eight Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) play a key role in the academies system. The RSCs are supported by head teacher boards, who provide advice to ensure that the decisions the RSCs take on behalf of the Secretary of State, are based on local knowledge and expertise.
The main responsibilities of the Regional Schools Commissioners include:
• taking action where academies and free schools are underperforming;
• intervening in academies where governance is inadequate;
• deciding on applications from local authority maintained schools to convert to academy status;
• improving underperforming maintained schools by providing them with support from a strong Trust;
• encouraging and deciding on applications from Trusts to operate in theregion;
• taking action to improve poorly performing Trusts;
• advising on proposals for new free schools;
• advising on whether to cancel, defer or enter into funding agreements with free school projects
•deciding on applications to make significant changes to academies and free schools
The Regional Schools Commissioner for East Midlands and the Humber (EMH) is John Edwards, who is based in Sheffield and works across the EMH Region fulfilling the responsibilities outlined above for an area spanning 17 Local Authorities and over 1000 open academies.
These roles are an exciting opportunity to work alongside the Regional Schools Commissioner for EMH and his team.
There are 2 roles, an Academy School Improvement Expert (Post 1) and a Trust Development Expert (Post 2); both roles are being offered on a short-term contract of between 6-9 months.
Candidates should indicate which post they are applying for and if applying for both posts then please state an order of preference (please specify your preference in your personal statement).
The roles offer an excellent insight into the work of DfE, and provide substantial development opportunities for the successful candidates, who we would expect to be highly skilled in school improvement (Post 1) and multi-academy trust development work (Post 2).
We would expect that the successful candidates will come from either schools or trusts, but would not rule out candidates with the appropriate skills and experience from other areas of the system.
Both roles require the successful candidate to have a passion for delivering a great education that unlocks children’s potential and allows them to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them.
The successful candidate for the Academy School Improvement Expert role (Post 1) will be highly skilled in developing and delivering school improvement strategies, delivering school improvement practice and in advising others how to deliver improvement activities. They will also bring substantial experience of reviewing strategies and improving governance, leadership, people development, school improvement and strategic financial planning. They will support John and his team, working alongside schools, academy trusts, local authorities and other key stakeholders to help drive school improvement within EMH academies.
The successful candidate for the Trust Development Expert role (Post 2) will have a proven track record in developing and implementing a successful growth strategy within a high preforming Trust. They will be highly skilled in bringing people together and in facilitating the sharing of best practice. They will also bring substantial experience of reviewing strategies and improving governance, leadership, people development, school improvement and strategic financial planning. They will support John and his team, working alongside schools, academy trusts, local authorities and other key stakeholders to help drive Trust development within the region.
This is an exciting opportunity to spend some time working in the DfE. If you share our passion and commitment for unlocking children’s potential and delivering a world-class education for children and young people, we look forward to hearing from you.
The successful candidates will have a strong track record of delivering school improvement outcomes and/or helping to develop a strong Trust throughout its growth journey. You will have a sound understanding of the wider system and how successful trusts and schools continually improve their performance and work with others to share and learn from best practice.
You will be able to command the respect of a wide range of stakeholders by being able to demonstrate outstanding skills in delivering high quality education. You will be a strong team player, with excellent relationship management skills and be able to work effectively with a range of stakeholders including schools, academy trusts, dioceses and local authorities as well as internal stakeholders to help bring about effective outcomes.
You will work alongside the RSC for EMH and his team in an area that is both fast paced and high profile. You will support the team with the development and delivery of the RSC’s priorities, throughout a period of significant growth and change.
The work will include:
Academy School Improvement Expert (Post 1)
• Share your expert school improvement knowledge to help upskill the internal team so that they are able to work as partners with the trusts across our region, and challenge and support trusts throughout their development;
•Support the team with the further development of a range of school improvement strategies specifically designed for the academies within our region, including how we tackle underperformance via intervention and prevent failure in schools via early warning indicators;
•Help develop a training programme;
•Work with and advise the cadre of Education Advisers across the region;
•Support engagement with stakeholders;
•Help facilitate the sharing of school improvement best practice gained from academies across the region and more widely from academies across other RSC regions.
Trust Development Expert (Post 2)
• Share your expert Trust development knowledge to help upskill the internal team so that they are able to work as partners with the trusts across our region, and challenge and support trusts in their development;
• Support the team, via training and specific advice, with the further development of our regions Trust strategies including how we better support trusts with their models for growth, consolidation and collaboration;
• Support the team with the further development of strategies to improve governance and leadership across the region;
• Support the team in developing and sharing a range of best practice tools for Trusts;
• Support the team to further develop our strategy to help prevent Trust failure by using early warning indicators;
• Engage strategically with and encourage links between Trusts, including through trust-to-trust collaboration, engagement with strategic school improvement through teaching school alliances and the deployment of capacity, the development of MAT CEOs and a range of other areas of focus;
• Help facilitate the sharing of Trust development and best practice across the region and more widely across other RSC regions by developing appropriate networks.
We would expect individuals to be highly skilled in school improvement (Post 1) and multi-academy trust development work (Post 2). We would expect that the successful candidates will come from either schools or trusts, but would not rule out candidates with the appropriate skills and experience from other areas of the system.
We'll assess you against these competencies during the selection process:
- Making effective decisions
- Collaborating and partnering
- Building capability for all
- Managing a quality service
- Delivering at pace
Civil Service Competency Framework
Things you need to know
Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Candidates will be subject to UK immigration
requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules
If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.
Selection process details
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and a personal statement. Applicants should provide details on how you meet the essential role requirements within the application competency responses. Candidates will be advised of how the role will be offered - this will be discussed further at interview.
An initial sift based on competency 1 (making an effective decision) may be held if a large number of applications are received
If your application progresses to a full sift, all competences will then be considered
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.
Working for the Civil Service
The Civil Service Code
sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.
We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
Apply and further information
Contact point for applicants
Sift/interview dates and location
Sift expected to commence from 2nd October 2017 to 4th October 2017
Interviews expected to commence from 17 October 2017 to 20 October 2017.
Interviews to take place at the Department of Education office based in Sheffield i.e. 125 Norfolk St, Sheffield S1 2FJ.
If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check maybe carried out.
A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made
New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.
The Department for Education’s recruitment processes are underpinned by the Civil Service Commissioner’s Recruitment Principles, which outlines that selection for appointment is made on merit based on fair and open competition.
If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the values in the Civil Service Code and/or if you feel the recruitment has been conducted in such a way that conflicts with the Civil Service Commissioner’s Recruitment Principles, you may make a complaint, by contacting the Central Recruitment Team at the following address CentralRecruitment.Operations@education.gov.uk
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint you have the right to complain to the Civil Service Commissioners
If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.
If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:
• approach the point of contact in the job advert as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs
• complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional
Contract Details : 6-9 month fixed short-term contract for approximately 3 days per week starting 4th December 2017. However, we can be flexible regarding the start date for the right candidate.
We appreciate that the successful candidate may not be able to join us immediately. If that is the case we would expect to negotiate some early commitment to the role e.g. 1 day per week if the start date is later than the 4th December 2017.