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Chief Executive Officer | Whitefield Academy Trust

Whitefield Academy Trust

Lead an 'outstanding' and internationally renowned specialist education provider as Whitefield Academy Trust's new CEO, who seek an expert educationalist to drive their progressive and innovative agenda.

  • Location: London
  • Salary: Highly competitive

About the role

The Whitefield Academy Trust has a reputation for excellence, offering an ‘outstanding’ level of education, support and services to the Trust’s 500 children and young people, as confirmed in Whitefield Schools’ most recent Ofsted report.

With the addition of the Joseph Clarke School, the Trust has grown in size and ambition, wishing to further develop capacity with the support of its stakeholders in order to help alleviate the annual waiting list for places and share its model of best practice. More than delivering classroom-based education alone, the Trust plays a crucial role in the development of academic research and innovation, teacher education and staff development, and community-based services and partnerships. It truly is an exceptional organisation working to transform the lives of early years’ children through to young adults.

Following the announcement of the CEO’s intention to retire, the Whitefield Academy Trust Board of Directors seek to appoint a strategic educationalist with substantial experience of SEN school-based leadership, high quality school improvement, partnership work and diverse income generation.

The CEO leads an experienced executive team overseeing all aspects of the Trust’s truly outstanding educational provision and business services.

Who we're looking for

As one of the largest and most successful specialist multi-academy trusts in Europe, the Whitefield Academy Trust is outward facing and has an ambition to leverage its knowledge of SEN education and innovation in the sector to support policy both here in the UK and abroad. As such, they need a CEO who can balance both the strategic oversight of the Trust and ensure it retains its Ofsted ‘outstanding’ profile, whilst also running its business of education and raising its profile with stakeholders.

The Trust and its children benefit greatly from an expert staff team who live and breathe its vision and social mission of ensuring enjoyment, achievement and wellbeing for all. There is a deep sense that the staff of the Trust, employed at every level, care deeply about the work of the Trust’s schools and their history, legacy and reputation.

As CEO the appointed person will need to be an inspiring leader who will strongly advocate for and on behalf of the children of the Trust, and for the business itself when managing external relations. Every school will thrive under your leadership, with each being driven by the specific needs of their children and young adults.

It is expected you will have substantial and successful experience of leading SEN provision in an educational context; being adept at curriculum design, an expert around SEN funding and able to translate policy into reality. You will be experienced in capacity building and able to spot opportunities which will enhance the Whitefield Academy Trust’s reach, influence and position in the sector.

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

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364 033

Education recruitment with Drew Richardson-Walsh

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Drew Richardson-Walsh

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Welcome from the CEO & Chair

Dear Candidate,

We write on behalf of the young people at the Whitefield Academy Trust.

Thank you for your interest in the role of Chief Executive Officer. We start with what is most important to the young people and staff which is embodied in the mission statement:

‘Enjoyment, achievement and wellbeing for all’

We have huge energy across our Trust to provide a personalised curriculum with a high focus on pupil progress. Therefore, our young people are successful across the Trust and well-prepared for adult life. Students leave equipped for college, supported living or employment within our award winning Project Search programme.

We have a very well-established, highly valued staff training programme for all staff which ensures that education is of the highest quality. The work of the Teaching School and Research and Development Centre ensures our pedagogy and thinking are very well-informed and shared across the whole community and the wider national and international community.

The retirement of the CEO after 42 years in education, nine of these at Whitefield, enables the Trust to offer an exciting opportunity to the right candidate. If you share the Trust’s commitment to enable ‘enjoyment, achievement and wellbeing for all’, we would be pleased to hear from you.

Yours faithfully,

Elaine Colquhoun OBE

Andrew Howat
Chair of the Board of Directors

Whitefield Academy Trust

Whitefield Academy Trust is one of the largest providers of special education in Europe, with an international reputation for expertise, curriculum and training. The Whitefield Schools are rated as ‘outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted and is a National Teaching School, and Joseph Clarke School is quickly moving towards ‘outstanding’.

There are two main schools within the Trust; Joseph Clarke School and Whitefield Schools, each providing excellence in teaching and learning for a specific group of children:

Joseph Clarke School

For pupils aged 3-19 with visual impairments and complex needs.

Whitefield Schools is split into three schools, as listed below:

Margaret Brearley School

For pupils aged 3-19 years old with complex needs including learning difficulties, physical impairment and sensory impairment.

Peter Turner Primary School

For pupils aged 3-11 years old with autism or speech and communication difficulties.

Niels Chapman Secondary School

For pupils aged 11-19 years old with communication or interaction difficulties or have hearing loss.

An Introduction to Whitefield Academy Trust

Adding value to the Trust and the sector through the development of specialist services

The Whitefield Research and Development Centre leads initial teacher training within the Teaching School Alliance, runs courses in SEN up to Masters level and leads training for SENCOs and middle leaders in special schools. The Centre works in partnership with universities including Greenwich, Kingston and UCL.

In addition to the Research & Development Centre, the Trust has two outreach teams that offer practical advice and support to mainstream schools. These are presently:

Vision Impairment – The Joseph Clarke Educational Service

Established for over 30 years, the Joseph Clarke Educational Service supports children with vision impairment, their families and schools.  From ICT and Mobility to Braille and general advice, the Service operates across Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham and Enfield.

SEN and Hearing Impairment – Whitefield Outreach

Whitefield Outreach supports mainstream schools looking to help their pupils who have communication and interaction difficulties, hearing impairment or learning difficulties and developmental delay. The team is made up from teachers of the deaf, SEN outreach teachers and a hearing impairment technician all of whom offer advice, support and training within the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Whitefield’s services are committed to remaining at the forefront of exemplary practice and to working to fulfil their vision of:

Enjoyment, achievement and wellbeing for all.

The Whitefield Academy Trust is unquestionably committed to the personal development of both children and employees. Through their ground-breaking employability programme, ‘Project Search’, they aim to deliver the best employment options for young adults with learning disabilities and autistic spectrum conditions. The programme continues to grow in success through the development of supported internships and work placements.

For the Trust’s employees, professional development is a supported expectation of the organisation. New teachers joining the Trust undertake the Advanced Diploma in SEN, with a strong impulse for them to further their educational attainment through completion of a Masters degree. At present, all middle leaders are MA educated and regularly undertake research with all learning being absorbed back into the Trust and across the sector.

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 and fill out the Equality Monitoring Form

If you would like to have an informal conversation about the role you can contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

To apply: Please submit a CV and supporting statement (maximum two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification. Please include your interest and motivation in applying for this position. Please also complete this equality monitoring form.

Please ensure that your application and Equality Monitoring Form is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “CEO, Whitefield Academy Trust” 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, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

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 for applications: 12pm, Monday 9th March 2020
Candidates informed of outcome: 5pm, Monday 16th March 2020
Preliminary interviews: w/c Monday 23rd March 2020 (TBC)
Final stage interviews: w/c Monday 30th March 2020 (TBC)

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

Peridot and Whitefield Academy Trust 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 this equality monitoring form.

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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