Home / Roles / Campus Principals (x 2) City Campus & Bede Campus, Sunderland College | Education Partnership North East (EPNE)

Campus Principals (x 2) City Campus & Bede Campus, Sunderland College Education Partnership North East (EPNE)

As an organisation with a reputation for innovation, creativity and success, there couldn’t be a better time to become a Campus Principal within Education Partnership North East (EPNE), and help lead the place-based, community-focused strategy being implemented across Sunderland, Hartlepool and Northumberland.

  • Location: Sunderland, North East
  • Salary: c.£78,000
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 19th June

Education Partnership North East (EPNE) is a multi-award winning organisation with a track record of supporting communities and changing the lives of those who live and work across the North East.

The largest college group situated entirely in the North East of England, we are a dynamic partnership of three colleges – Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and Northumberland College – and collectively we are one of the largest colleges in the country. Through our broad curriculum delivered over our seven campuses (and multiple satellite delivery centres), we offer academic and technical programmes for young people, adult learning programmes (FE and HE), apprenticeships and provision for students with high needs.

Who are EPNE?

With a history that stems back to the late 19th century, Education Partnership North East (EPNE) was established through the mergers of our constituent colleges between 2017 and 2019. EPNE is recognised as a sector leader in the delivery of high-quality, transformative, inclusive education across the North East.

Since 2017, we have invested over £90million in world-class facilities and we continue to be led by pioneering experts who develop and deliver curriculums that ensure our students are prepared for their next step, whatever that may be. This investment in our facilities and our staff has been done in a way that ensures our financial health remains positive (DfE confirmed Good financial health in 2024).

We are an organisation that strives to be a standard bearer for the FE sector and to ensure that our local communities are given every possible opportunity to engage in the education and training they

need to improve their life chances and live healthy, prosperous lives. Our success here is demonstrated through ever-improving achievement rates which place us in the top three nationally for 16-18 provision. We currently are self-assessing as Outstanding overall.

We are able to achieve this through the hard work and efforts of our determined and talented staff team, led by a group of individuals who each share in our collective vision to put excellence at the heart of everything we do.

This clear vision ensures that we embrace both culture and quality in equal measure, driven by our ethos of ‘our passion is our strength’. It is this philosophy that drives our collective success.

Our staff are experts in their individual fields, and these fields are aligned to the needs of the labour markets of the North East, from Berwick-upon-Tweed to the Tees Valley. Our relationships with key stakeholders – employers, local authorities, and most importantly, our students, ensures that colleges are able to deliver engaging, high-quality provision which has positive impacts and outcomes in the towns and cities that we serve.

We take pride in the quality and breadth of our provision all of which is delivered by a group of driven, nurturing, and supportive individuals who work tirelessly to evolve and improve our practices, allowing us to excel in the pursuit of excellence, to grow our reputation and to support our students to achieve their aspirations.

Since the success of our Ofsted inspection in May 2022 – where we were found to be Good with Outstanding features – we have continued to take bold and exciting steps to further improve our provision and our facilities, ensuring that we continue to deliver on the commitments made to our students and communities as noted in our strategic vision (2019-2025).

Most recently, these steps have included breaking ground on our Housing Innovation and Construction Skills Academy (HICSA), our partnership with the local Crown Works Studios development and agreeing on a new strategic partnership linked to our higher education provision.

As we enter the final year of this strategic vision, we need to consider what the next chapter will look like for our organisation. As such, there is also a need for us to evolve our structures so that we continue to grow, to remain focused on the needs of our local communities and to bring continued success to the organisation.

Each of our campuses shares in the EPNE culture. They are each vibrant, and inclusive centres of learning, yet each has its own authentic atmosphere and distinct educational focus linked to different, specific, needs of the local area. To this end, we have recognised a need to take a deeper, place-based approach to leadership across the organisation; an approach that will see us become embedded into communities on a deeper, more local level. To facilitate this change, we now seek to appoint two new Campus Principals at our biggest college – Sunderland College. These roles will be based at our City Campus and at our Bede Campus respectively.

About the roles.

Principal of City Campus, Sunderland College

Our £30m City Campus is – as the name suggests – as the heart of the City of Sunderland and is our base of delivery for provision with a predominantly technical focus. From here, we deliver curriculums linked to advanced manufacturing and engineering along with other technical provisions such as hospitality, travel & tourism and business. The site also contains commercial hair & beauty salons and a restaurant.

This campus is also the current home of our construction provision but in 2025, this will be moved to our new Housing Innovation and Constructions Skills Academy (HICSA). This facility will be a world-class training centre developed in collaboration with a number of local partners which will undoubtedly become the regional centre for construction education and training. As the Principal of City Campus, you will also have leadership responsibilities for this new facility.

Principal of Bede Campus, Sunderland College

Bede Campus is the largest campus within Sunderland College. It is the home of state-of-the-art science labs, a health simulation ward and our dedicated sixth form centre, to our Sports Academy and Arts and Media Academy. Using these facilities we provide a wide range of technical and academic provisions including health & health science, sport, public services and creative and digital.

Plans are currently being developed for the expansion of our Bede Campus too as we look to develop a skills hub in collaboration with the Crown Works Studios which will allow us to widen our current skills provision within media, broadcast and TV & radio production; a process that our Campus Principal will be involved in and have future leadership of.

Who we are looking for.

To be successful in this role, the appointed candidates will need to be experienced, values-led leaders who are able to demonstrate a successful track record on all aspects of curriculum development and quality improvement – linked specifically to the key areas of provision being delivered at each campus.

As well as being a Campus Principal, postholders will each have specific cross-college responsibilities. As such you will need to be able to demonstrate your qualities as a strategic leader and be able to work in collaboration with a wide range of colleagues. This will include working closely with CEO, Ellen Thinnesen OBE, and Deputy CEO, Toni Rhodes, to develop and deliver on our place-based strategy and to bring even greater success to the organisation in the years ahead.

As a leader, you will need to be able to lead by example and demonstrate characteristics which motivate and empower your

OBE, and Deputy CEO, Toni Rhodes, to develop and deliver on our placed based strategy and to bring even greater success to the organisation in the years ahead.

As one of the college group’s executive leaders, you will attend Board meetings and need to be able to lead by example, demonstrating characteristics which motivate and empower others to strive for excellence and to join you on the forward transformational journey as you lead your respective campus. Where you encounter barriers and challenges, you will solve these through authentic and respectful conversation, clear communication and accountable teamwork.

As a curriculum expert, you will need deep experience in curriculum planning, an ability to interpret data and have demonstrable experience in improving the quality of provision you have overseen.

It is not just your team who will need to join you on this journey of transformation, but also our stakeholders. As such, you will need to be able to build, manage, and develop relationships with a diverse range of key groups as we seek to further transform our campuses and our provision.

We are an organisation full of driven, determined and ambitious individuals and you will need to be able to demonstrate a complimentary ethos and set of values whilst sharing in our passion for delivering high-quality education that meets the needs of the communities that we serve.

Whilst being part of a larger group, all of our colleges and campuses have retained their own identities; and we want the same to be true of our new Campus Principals. We are looking for someone who is outgoing, creative, and shares in our values of being authentic, respectful, innovative, and ambitious; someone who is as excited to join our journey, as we are to go on it!


Read more about EPNE’s employee benefits here.

Peridot Partners and Education Partnership North East are, together, committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and our client expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. The successful candidates will be subject to an enhanced DBS check and satisfactory references before any final offer can be made.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dan Baxter

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Welcome from the Chief Executive

I am delighted you have found your way to this page and are thinking about joining us. Our college is a very special place, and I hope you will see and feel this as you explore who we are through our application and selection process.

Right across our seven campuses, we are deeply proud of our heritage, and of our transformative impact which stems as far back as the Victorian era. And this transformation still continues today.

As a college group, we are deeply rooted in people, place and communities.

Over the past 7-8 years, we have invested over £90 million in state-of-the-art campuses, buildings and resources. But greater still, our strategic investments have all been about place-shaping; supporting the evolution of thriving communities where our staff and students can live, work, achieve and give back to society.

We are a college group where our purpose is much more than our courses and qualifications. Social justice lies at the heart of why we come to work every day, and it matters deeply that we play an active role in supporting economic growth, societal impact and sustainability.

Over recent years our quality performance has progressively climbed the national achievement rate tables – and we are now in the top three colleges nationally for our 16-19 achievement, to give just one example. At the same time, our financial health continues to improve (despite external challenges), and after taking on two insolvent colleges in 2017 and 2019, we are now in Good Financial health and are projecting to improve further.

Building on our remarkable past, we are currently in the process of refreshing our values and reimagining our new strategic plan, which will be launched early in 2025.  It’s a very exciting time and as one of our new Campus Principals, we would love you to be part of what promises to be an exceptional journey ahead.

There is no better time than now to be rooted in the North East, a region with new devolution powers, and major education, skills and industrial investment happening right across the communities we are located within and serve. This includes two of our newly built college campuses opening in 2025.

To give further insight, I want to briefly mention the importance of high-performance leadership. For our college group, this is about leading with courage, behaving with authenticity, acting with respect, and delivering excellence in a safe, supportive, yet appropriately challenging environment.

We are not afraid to challenge the status quo, to think differently and to actively shape our future. Meaningful mutually beneficial partnerships matter, especially if this drives the positive change needed for our region and local communities.

Finally, and importantly. We want our people to really enjoy coming to work, to laugh, to feel connected, engaged, and productive. Culture and quality are equally important and as such we place a high value on living and breathing our professional values.  Our current vision “Excellence at the heart of everything we do” along with our developing Vision for 2030, embeds the notion of ‘going beyond’ and ultimately expresses our ambition to do more, achieve more, go the extra mile and create new horizons.

I really do hope you will want to be part of what promises to be a bright future for our college group and look forward to meeting you soon.

Best wishes,

Ellen Thinnesen OBE

Chief Executive

About Education Partnership North East

Education Partnership North East (EPNE) is a dynamic partnership between Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and Northumberland College.

We believe that culture and quality are equally important and as such place a high value on living and breathing our professional values. We constantly striving to ensure that we are consistently authentic, respectful, innovative and ambitious for our students, people and partners.

Our people come to work every day to make a positive difference to our community of approx. 21,500 students. We are passionate about positively contributing to the social, economic and educational outcomes of our region.

Following the merger with Hartlepool Sixth Form and Northumberland College, we are now one of the largest college groups in the country. Our campuses span across  Northumberland, Sunderland and Hartlepool; with a catchment area from Berwick-upon-Tweed to the Tees Valley. Whilst we are working hard to create a one-college approach, each one of our colleges will remain strongly connected to the communities that they serve.

Sunderland College has delivered highly successful courses for more than 20 years. We offer a wide range of A-Levels, vocational courses, and T Levels.

At Sunderland College, we have a proven track record of providing high-quality education and training to our students who consistently gain high achievement rates. Our expert staff of subject specialists and industry professionals is highly qualified and passionate about helping our students reach their full potential.

We provide our students with the best facilities and resources.

Our three campuses are located across Sunderland and are equipped with modern classrooms, learning suites, workshops, and laboratories. We have invested in the latest technology to enhance the learning experience for our students.

Sunderland College is the top-performing college in the North East for student achievement.

95% of our graduates go into employment or go on to university or further study.

Our sixth-form provision is also ranked number one in the North East for student achievement rates.

Our students consistently achieve outstanding results.

Sunderland College has been ranked in the top 25% in the country for teaching our courses.

We have also have had outstanding personal development for our students.

Learn more about Education Partnership North East

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Role Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application: EPNE – Campus Principal” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

    Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

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    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 19th June 2024
    Candidates informed on income: No later than Tuesday 25th June 2024
    Interviews: Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th July 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Education Partnership North East 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 will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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