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Chair of the Board | Croydon College

Croydon College, including Coulsdon Sixth Form College, provides further education and training in South London to an aspiring and diverse population of 16-18 and adult students. The College is seeking a talented and dynamic strategic leader with a local connection to join their Board of Governors as Chair.

  • Location: Croydon and Coulsdon
  • Salary: Unremunerated with expenses paid

About the role

Following the merger, Croydon College is now one college working across two well-established sites. Both Croydon College and Coulsdon Sixth Form College have established their own unique identities but now, as one college, they can share best practice across the curriculum areas and students have the opportunity to benefit from the facilities and teaching across both sites. Croydon College is now in an excellent position to be the main provider of qualifications and skills training across the Borough. To strengthen its links within the community and with local employers to develop their offer to students and diversify progression routes for their 7,000 students.

After a lengthy term successfully leading the Board and College, which included leading them through a period of financial challenge and the recent merger, the current Chair is planning to step down formally by the end of this calendar year. The Board of Governors are therefore seeking the appointment of a new Chair to lead the Board of Governors and work closely with the Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Caireen Mitchell, the Executive Team and Director of Governance in its next steps.

The Chair will ensure that the Board fulfils its legal responsibilities and oversees the delivery of the College’s new five-year strategy, as well as ensuring that the College continues to meet the needs of the communities it serves.

The time commitment is 2-3 days per month, with attendance at five board meetings per year and committee meetings as required.

Who we're looking for

With a naturally strategic mind, experience of operating at a senior strategic level within a large and complex business environment, and a passion and commitment to lifelong learning, the next Chair will lead an established and experienced team of non-executive board members.

Whilst recognising your experience might not have been gained in the further education sector, you should understand and appreciate the role of further education and its impact on economic and skills improvement. Croydon College provides life changing opportunities to people of all ages; it is vital that the Chair recognises this and is willing and able to champion the work of the college in the role of ambassador across the sector, the local community and wider stakeholder communities.

Your style should be inclusive and collaborative, to enable and foster open and honest discussion and debate around the board table. With previous Chair or board-level experience, you’ll recognise the difference between executive and non-executive decision making and lead the appraisal of plans put forward by the Principal & CEO and executive team with the required level of challenge and respect.

With the further education sector expected to continue to change and adapt in response to Government policy, the Chair will need to be decisive; recognising when to act independently and when to draw on the expertise around the Board, the executive team and peers within the sector.

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

Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528 307

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

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dr Sophie Carney

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Welcome from the CEO

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in becoming Chair of Governors at Croydon College. The College is on an exciting journey, in our most recent inspection we were recognised to be ‘Good’ by Ofsted, but, we aspire to be even better, indeed we want to be ‘Great’. We want to be able to provide great education and training to our communities, ensuring that the communities we serve in Croydon and beyond have the skills and qualifications they need to thrive, both economically and socially.

To meet this challenge and become ‘Great’, we have revised our Vision, our Values and developed a new Strategic Plan. There are three key themes in these. Firstly, to serve our communities, we need the College to be an asset to the local community, one which supports both residents and employers achieve their ambitions, while also supporting local and regional economic growth and productivity. Secondly, to serve our students well, putting their interests at the centre of our decision making and ensuring we support their attainment of their potential. Thirdly, to recognise and treat our staff as our greatest asset, nurturing our workforce, investing in, trusting and recognising their expertise.

The College operates in a difficult environment, policy is continually changing and the sector is highly regulated. It is recognised that in recent years the sector has suffered from under-investment, and funding rates continue to be significantly lower than Higher Education and Schools, yet the expectations of us are just as demanding. Our buildings need investment, our staff are underpaid and generally our resources are very stretched. Despite all this, we have great ambition.

We need a Chair who through and with the Board can support the executive team to deliver the College Strategy, despite the complexities. Enabling the College and the communities we serve to thrive.

Caireen Mitchell
Principal & CEO

Welcome from the Chair

I want to introduce you to an exceptional opportunity as Chair of Croydon College. I shall step down from the role in the Summer of 2020, having served as a Governor, Vice-Chair, then Chair since 2004. I have been privileged to work with incredibly talented Governors and staff over that time, and I know that my successor will have a passionate board and exceptional executive and wider staff team. You will have the opportunity to impact on the lives of our richly diverse student body across our two campuses, in central Croydon and Coulsdon.

There have been significant changes to the College in recent years, with the appointment of a new Chief Executive in April 2018 and the merger with Coulsdon Sixth Form College in February 2019. There have also been changes to the membership of the Governing Body. The College now has a new strategy to take forward over the next five years.

I will not be playing a direct part in the recruitment of the new Chair, but I am very keen that our appointment panel of Governors, working with Peridot, find a strong shortlist of candidates. Should you wish to speak directly with me, this can be arranged through Peridot.

This role is challenging and voluntary, but ultimately very rewarding, with the opportunity to make a real difference to the College and the diverse communities it serves.

Gordon Smith
Chair of the Board of Governors

About Croydon College

Croydon College offers further education and training in South London. Rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, last year the college merged with Coulsdon Sixth Form College and every year they deliver education and training to 2,500 16-19-year-olds and 4,000 adults, as well as provision for apprenticeships and higher education courses.

Both Croydon and Coulsdon Colleges have built distinctive and proud cultures at their well-established campus sites, but they share the same values and are working together to transform the economic, social and employment prospects of the communities they serve. Students are at the heart of what they do, with a focus on their needs and attainment.

The College celebrates diversity and is committed to providing an inclusive and enjoyable environment for both students and staff to reflect the vibrant populations they are located within. The College has a dedicated staff team with industry-related experience and expertise that supports its diverse vocational provision. They aim to provide an innovative and inclusive learning environment, which serves and supports the wider community.

Croydon College

Croydon College is located in one of the fastest growing boroughs in London and offers hundreds of academic and vocational qualifications in 17 main curriculum areas. In recent years they have invested significantly to develop their suite of learning spaces, providing industry-standard facilities and equipment in the Hair & Beauty Academy, the Croydon School of Art, and the construction, engineering, film and media workshops.

The College delivers the largest selection of vocational courses in the Borough and provides their students with excellent opportunities to take up placements with a wide range of employers in the hospitality, health and social care, construction, engineering, business and finance sectors and others to make them work-ready on completion of their courses. As well as progression routes into a diverse range of employment opportunities, the college also offers HE provision through the University Centre Croydon, with degree programmes awarded by the University of Sussex in business, health and social care, early childhood studies and criminology.

The College is extremely proud of its history and is committed to serving the community, where generations of the same family have been educated.

Croydon College welcomes and celebrates diversity and is dedicated to promoting equality of opportunity. They are committed to social cohesion and value the benefits this will bring to the College and wider community.

Coulsdon Sixth Form College

Coulsdon Sixth Form College is situated a few miles outside of Croydon and specialises in providing high quality education for 1,000 16-18-year-olds in a supportive and inclusive community. In 2018, it was also rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted and was commended for its fantastic results and destinations for its students, with a 100% pass rate in 2018 and all their students progressing to either the university of their choice, employment or an apprenticeship.

Coulsdon offers the opportunity for students to study a combination of both A-Level subjects and vocational courses and they have access to a range of additional support services, including learning, careers, finance and counselling support. Located in a modern university-style building, students are taught in specialist subject classrooms, with facilities for science, visual arts, music and media.

The College also encourages students to develop their skills through its ‘Coulsdon Plus Programme’, with options to take part in a range of sports, volunteering and fundraising activities.

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:

Sophie Carney | Sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528 307

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 “Chair, Croydon College” 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 7th September 2020
Candidates informed of outcome: Wednesday 16th September
Interviews: Monday 28th September

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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