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Head of Programme Design and Innovation – BookTrust


Do you want to design innovative programmes to get the UK’s children reading? As Head of Programme Design and Innovation at BookTrust you’ll make reading fun for millions of children.

  • Location: Battersea, London
  • Salary: £60k - £65k
Storytime Prize, BookTrust, Executive recruitment

About the role

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. We know that children who read are happier, healthier, more empathetic and more creative. They also do better at school.

Supported by Arts Council funding, we work with every local authority across England, Northern Ireland and Wales to reach over three million families a year through partners in schools, children’s centres, health visitors and libraries. This incredible network helps us to get children excited about reading from an early age.

This is a brilliant time to join BookTrust and you’ll really help shape this new role. It’s been created to revitalise and develop our programmes to enable us to reach more children, particularly those who are disadvantaged, and engage them in the experience and benefits of reading.

This is a role which offers huge scope and potential. It provides an opportunity to work with our newly appointed Director of Programmes and Partnerships to re-evaluate our programme portfolio and seek new opportunities for development, drive innovation, pilot new ideas, and ultimately extend and deepen the impact of our work.

We have a secure funding base, investment from our reserves and keen support from our trustees to drive and develop this work. So, with these firm foundations in place, you can focus on testing and refining new initiatives and ideas, translate and drive roll-out on a national scale.

Who we're looking for

Charity sector recruitment for BookTrust, children's charity

You’ll be someone who is intellectually curious, enjoys problem-solving and can come up with new ideas – and, as importantly, drive them towards implementation. You’ll work collaboratively with others, both internally and with our current and future partners, and you’ll have the gravitas, credibility and influence to engage and galvanise your colleagues and team in new ways of working.

Your background could be in consultancy, programme innovation and development or consumer innovation – we’re open minded. But what is just as important is your ability to devise impact-focused programmes and to think laterally and rigorously.

If you want to be a key catalyst for change and support our mission to get more children reading across the UK then please get in touch with our advising consultants:

Emma Harvey (07702 678653 | emma@peridotpartners.co.uk)

Philippa Fabry (07772 902071 | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk)

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Philippa Fabry

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Dear Applicant,

Annie Crombie, BookTrust, charity recruitment

BookTrust is all about getting children reading and supporting families to read with their children from the very earliest age.

In an increasingly complex world for parents this is an ever more challenging task. We’re passionate about the importance of our mission and ambitious for the future. We don’t just want to change attitudes, we want to change actual behaviour so that more children and families experience the joy of reading and we know this is hard! We have strong universal programmes which have been running for over 20 years, but we want to do more to make sure that all children, whatever their background and family life, are able to read for pleasure.

Our new Head of Programme Design and Innovation is an essential part of making this happen.

You’ll lead the design and development of initiatives to encourage children and families to start reading early, read more, read more often and enjoy reading. You’ll engage with other organisations and partners, with research and data, to understand the context for our programmes and spot new opportunities and potential innovations. You’ll manage your team to work on projects at many different levels: some will be developing new ideas for creating new initiatives and others will be about making improvements to existing programmes.

You’ll have the opportunity to put your ideas in practice – setting up and managing pilots and prototypes and seeing the work through to the point where it is rolled out at scale. Our aim is that everything we do should be done at scale when successful – whether this is a targeted programme reaching 75,000 families a year, an initiative available to all children in care of a certain age, or a universal programme that reaches millions of children. This means you’ll be able to take learning from a trial and translate it into national roll-out.

You’ll be a strong manager and leader with drive and creativity who is excited by the opportunity to develop and expand your team. You’ll be intellectually sharp, analytical and rigorous and be confident in using a wealth of in-house information and developing new sources of data and intelligence. You’ll be genuinely collaborative, enjoy project-based work with different teams and be able to make sure that the organisation is aligned around new initiatives and ideas. You’ll be able to build new external partnerships to support innovation and programme delivery.

In return, we can offer you a vital cause, an open, friendly workplace with expert colleagues, an organisation with a firm funding foundation well supported by a fantastic range of stakeholders and an opportunity to make a real difference.   We’re also genuinely family-friendly.

BookTrust has a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to the next generation.  If you have the skills and passion to be a part of that, we would love to talk to you.

Yours sincerely,

Annie Crombie
Director of Programmes and Partnerships

Charity recruitment for BookTrust

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity working in every region in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

We know that children who read are happier, healthier, more empathetic, and more creative. They also do better at school.

Working with every local authority and across every region in the country, and supported by Arts Council funding, we reach over three million families a year via partners in schools, children’s centres, health visitors and libraries. This incredible network helps us to get children reading across the country.

BookTrust wants all children to have the chance to enjoy reading from an early age. Our national reading schemes and initiatives are there to achieve this ambition.

Our current portfolio of programmes includes:

  • Bookstart – our flagship scheme which provides families a carefully designed gift in their child’s first year to support starting to read early with their baby, and develop the reading habit using books, stories and rhymes.  Since it was established over 25 years ago, the Bookstart model has been replicated and adapted across the world.
  • Bookstart Corner – designed for children’s centres to use with young children and families who need more support to enjoy reading.
  • The Letterbox Club – an award-winning initiative for children in care which provides personalised gift parcels to vulnerable or looked-after children aged 3 – 13 in order to develop their love of reading, engage with numeracy activities, and provide supplementary support to meet both educational and emotional needs.
  • Bookbuzz – a scheme to engage children aged 11-13 with the fun and social benefits that come from choosing books. Last year, over 150,000 children in secondary schools across England and Northern Ireland discussed our specially curated collection of books, debated which was the most appealing to them, and chose their own book to take home and keep.

While our programmes support children and young people from birth to age 14, our focus is on families with children aged 0-5, as fun experiences of reading, stories and rhymes early on can make the biggest difference. We know there is more we can do to ensure the children who need the most help get the right support – this is an important focus of the next phase of our work.

BookTrust is refreshing its strategy.  We’re reviewing what we do against the backdrop of a fast-changing landscape. We want to respond to changes in family-life, to the development of new technologies, and changes in the delivery infrastructure of local services. In the context of a strong universal offer, we particularly want to do more to support children and families who need more help to develop a love of reading.

BookTrust website
BookTrust About Us Pack
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To access a full job description and application details,
please fill out the form below.


If you would like an informal conversation around the role, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Emma Harvey | 07702 678653 | emma@peridotpartners.co.uk   

Philippa Fabry | 07772 902071 | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk

To apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (the supporting statement should be a maximum of two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the experience criteria in the person specification.

Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Head of Programme Design and Innovation, BookTrust” into the subject field.

Disabled applicants are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process, to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the job. Please note that all equality monitoring surveys are completely anonymous, so if you would like to contact us as a disabled applicant, to make us aware of potential operational difficulties, adjustments or support, then please email: emf@peridotpartners.co.uk.

We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief. All applications will be considered solely on merit.


Closing date: 9am, Monday 15th July 2019
Preliminary interviews: Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd July
Shortlisting: Wednesday 24th July
Final interviews: Tuesday 30th July

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

Peridot and BookTrust are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We would therefore be most grateful if you would complete equality monitoring survey.

The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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