Home / Roles / Chair and Trustees | Voice 21

Chair and Trustees | Voice 21

Build a best-in-class Board, help grow an ambitious national education charity and improve the educational opportunities and life chances of disadvantaged children and young people.

  • Location: Central London
  • Salary: Unremunerated

About the role

Voice 21 is the  national oracy charity dedicated to enabling children to find their voice for success in school and life. By promoting the value of oracy (spoken communication skills) in education and building the capacity of teachers and schools to provide high-quality oracy education for all, we work to improve the educational opportunities and life chances of over 150,000 of children and young people in 1,100 state schools since our launch five years ago.

Having recently become an independent charity, we are now focused on increasing our scale and impact to achieve an ambitious but sustainable new strategy aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged children.

Children’s spoken language skills are one of the strongest predictors of their future life chances, yet too many disadvantaged children arrive at school with poor communication skills, already behind their more advantaged peers. Left unaddressed, this gap grows rather than diminishes as children move through school, hampering their academic outcomes, self-esteem and progression to higher education and employment. Teaching oracy can change this.

Oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language and there is a compelling body of research demonstrating that teaching oracy:

  • improves academic outcomes, including in maths, English and STEM subjects, particularly for disadvantaged young people
  • improves social mobility by narrowing gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their more advantaged peers.
  • improves employability – successive employer surveys find are a large skills-shortage in oral language communication abilities of younger employees
  • increases children and young people’s wellbeing and confidence

Despite this strong evidence base the majority of state schools do not consistently teach these vital skills.

This is why Voice 21 works work in partnership with teachers and schools to build their understanding, confidence and expertise in oracy to ensure that every child, regardless of their background, can benefit from a high-quality oracy education and develops the communication skills they need to thrive.

Since our inception five years ago, Voice 21 has experienced exceptional growth in reputation, reach and influence. With a talented team, the backing of education influencers and leading funders and growing demand for our work, we are poised to be a major force in education leading systemic change to make real and lasting impacts for disadvantaged children and young people.

What we're looking for in our first Chair

Now an independent charity, Voice 21 is building a new board to work with our dynamic, innovative and high-performing team and lead us to a new level of scale and impact. This is a rare opportunity to shape the future of a fast growing charity with an impressive track record and huge potential.

As the first Chair of Voice 21, we are seeking someone who matches our ambition, drive and passion.

You will bring your knowledge and experience of serving on high performing boards, exceptional chairing skills and an understanding of best-in-class governance to build an effective Board and governance structure. You will be confident in leading an organisation through growth and have the skills to challenge, guide and advise us as we scale ensuring we continue to evolve and innovate. You will be an influential champion for our cause and an inspiring ambassador for the charity.

The time commitment for Chair is expected to be about 2-3 days per month. The time commitment for Trustees is up to 1 day a month.

What we're looking for in our new Trustees

To work alongside our Chair, we are also looking for new Trustees with a range of skills and experiences including but not limited to:

  • Finance and commercial experience,
  • Entrepreneurialism and experience of scaling start-ups and/or social enterprises
  • Fundraising and income generation
  • Marketing and communications
  • Public affairs and campaigning

You’ll love this role if…

  • You are motivated by the challenge of taking a small but successful newly independent charity to a new level of scale and impact.
  • You have the vision, energy and enthusiasm to build a Board that can be the best in the sector.
  • You believe that education has the power to change lives and want to be part of changing education.

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

Jennifer Horan | Jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

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

Closing date: 9am, Monday 24th August 2020

Trustee and board recruitment in the charity sector with Jennifer Horan

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Jennifer Horan

View profile

Welcome from the Chief Executive and Founder

Thank you for your interest in joining the Board of Voice 21.

Since our inception, we have experienced exceptional growth in reputation, scope and influence. Now we are an independent charity, we are set to become a powerful force in UK education and we are looking for an exceptional leader to become our first Chair of Trustees and lead us into the exciting next phase of our growth in scale and impact.

Given our current stage of development we are looking to appoint a diverse range of people to our Board to help us build and develop our organisation further.

Ensuring all children have access to a high-quality oracy education is an issue of social equity. Children’s spoken language skills are one of the strongest predictors of their future life chances. Yet too many disadvantaged children arrive at school with poor communication skills, already behind their more advantaged peers. Left unaddressed, this gap grows rather than diminishes as they move through school hampering academic attainment, job prospects and social mobility.

If you share our passion for ensuring that all young people can find their voice for success in school and life, and are passionate about promoting the impact of oracy on student outcomes and building a movement for change, then please get in touch with our consultants at Peridot Partners.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Beccy Earnshaw
Chief Executive

Peter Hyman

About Voice 21

Voice 21 was created in 2015, informed by innovative practice developed in School 21 (an award winning, outstanding 4-18 state school in Stratford), as well as research conducted with Cambridge University and the Education Endowment Foundation.

Since launching our first schools programme in 2017, Voice 21 now works with over 750 schools annually across the UK and is recognised nationally and internationally as the go to oracy education charity.

Through our work Voice 21 has:

  • Supported over 1,100 schools and 7,000 teachers predominantly serving the most disadvantaged communities from Plymouth to Dundee to provide a high quality oracy education and built a movement of 11,000 educators who regularly access our advice, extensive bank of resources, and guidance
  • Successfully secured and delivered independently evaluated high profile projects for the Education Endowment Fund and Department for Education and created hubs of best practice in areas including Merseyside, Inner London, Leicester, Ipswich, Plymouth, Pendle, West Yorkshire and North Tyneside
  • Set the standard for oracy education, producing The Oracy Benchmarks: the UK’s first cross-phase, robust framework to guide best practice in teaching effective communication skills
  • Published a book both here and in the US (Transform Teaching and Learning through Talk: The Oracy Imperative
  • Launched the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Oracy with cross-party support from MPs and acted as the Secretariat for its ongoing ‘Speak for Change’ inquiry
  • Developed a sustainable financial model achieving an annual income off over £900k (2019/20) with 80% generated through programme ‘sales’ and 20% from grant funding
  • Secured financial support and partnership from major UK trusts and foundations including Impetus, NESTA and Shine and been recognised as one of the 100 top global education innovations (HundrED)
  • Grown a highly skilled and credible team of 20 members of staff

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


Please download the Role Description and Person Specification for Chair and Trustee and fill out this Equality Monitoring Form

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

Jennifer Horan | 07519 070497 | jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk

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

To apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement that clearly outlines your interest and motivation in applying and your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification.

Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Chair, Voice 21” OR “Trustee, Voice 21” into the subject field.

We will send an acknowledgement email within three working days from receipt. If you have not received a response, please contact Oliver Gardner on oliver@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07807 014772 or Kerry-Ann Charles on kerryann@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 398905.

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.

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.


Closing date: 9am, Monday 24th August 2020
Candidates informed of outcome: TBC
Interviews: September

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

Peridot and Voice 21 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.

We treat all job applicants equally and fairly and do not unlawfully discriminate against them. We do this by ensuring that we operate an open and fair recruitment process, and making decisions using selection criteria which do not discriminate. We will take every possible step to ensure that employees and volunteers are treated fairly, with the aim of creating a culture that respects and values each others’ differences, that is free of discrimination and promotes dignity, equality and diversity.

Data Processing, Protection and Privacy Policy

By completing the form to view, or if you have access to this page from an email invitation, Peridot Partners will have processed your personal information. For more information about Peridot Partners’ data processing activities and your rights, please read our Privacy Policy.

You might also be interested in: