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Chair of the Corporation Board – East Sussex College Group

East Sussex College Group

The East Sussex College Group is keen to engage enthusiastic, experienced and dynamic people with: local economic and skills policy knowledge, substantial executive leadership experience and a detailed understanding of how an outstanding non-executive board operates.

  • Location: East Sussex - Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes & Newhaven
  • Salary: Unremunerated

About the role

Inspire and enable individuals, employers and communities to be successful by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their ambitions and aspire to new challenges.

The Corporation Board is the College Group’s governing body and meets termly to consider strategic developments and monitor College and management performance. It is made up of people drawn from local businesses, public bodies, community groups, educational establishments, staff and student representatives and the Principal & CEO. The Board work closely with the college executive team to oversee its management and set its future direction.

The Board is responsible for the quality of service that the College offers to learners and the local community, as well as the financial health and strategic direction of the College. They are also responsible for the employment practices of the College and for setting the organisational vision, mission and strategy.

The Chair ensures that the Corporation Board fulfils its duties in:

  • Articulating the vision of the Board
  • Maintaining and developing the College’s ethos
  • Setting corporate objectives
  • Assessing the performance of the CEO and other senior post holders
  • Establishing high standards of integrity
  • Securing the College’s financial health
  • Setting the College’s curriculum, based on local, regional and national need

Who we're looking for

East Sussex College Group is seeking to appoint a new Chair to lead the Corporation Board and work closely and collaboratively with the CEO, Board Members and Local Governing Bodies in driving the organisational strategy and ensuring the college has its desired impact on the lives and prosperity of people right across East Sussex.

Ideal candidates for the role will uphold the following attributes:

  • Skills and experience to understand the complexity of a public sector organisation
  • Exemplary financial acumen
  • Knowledge of economic and education policy context across the county of East Sussex
  • Previous exposure to the education and skills sector
  • An understanding of the economic development of the region
  • Be an advocate of local authority and partner relations
  • Maintain passion and drive to ensure the college achieves its objective to become ‘Outstanding’, and fulfil the ambition of the college to impact the county of East Sussex
  • Significant experience of implementing and driving strategy to achieve impact
  • The ability to understand the scale and complexity of the challenge
  • The ability to articulate a credible and realistic vision for the college

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

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

Sarah Szulczewski | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

Further education recruitment with Sarah Szulczewski

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Sarah Szulczewski

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Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in becoming Chair of East Sussex College Group. We were formed in March 2018 following the merger of two colleges, and our three largest college campuses are in Eastbourne, Hastings and Lewes.

We are a young college group, excited about our very clear ambitions and strong strategic direction for both the group as a whole and each of our constituent colleges. We place great importance on the local identity of our colleges and devolve significant autonomy to them for the design and delivery of their curriculum and students’ success. Each of our colleges has the privilege of serving diverse students and communities across East Sussex, and we’re deeply aware of the impact we have on the county’s education standards and economic prosperity.

Initially, as the Chair Designate, we’d like to give you time to get to know the college group and governors before taking up the role as Chair. We hope you will quickly identify that we have strong governance, with a board made up of highly talented people from local communities. Our board culture has been developing quickly over the past 18 months and has seen us become a unified team. We believe our board has a sophisticated understanding of governance that provides the appropriate level of support and challenge to our executive team and amongst ourselves.

The recruitment of my successor comes at a rather unique time for us, as we also look to appoint a new CEO in late 2019. This follows the planned retirement of our current CEO Clive Cooke, the first CEO of East Sussex College Group. Clive has very successfully led the merger process and is leading the college group through its early transition. We’re making strong progress.

Working closely with me upon your appointment, and recognising that you will wish to have a constructive and productive relationship with Clive’s successor, we will very much welcome your involvement in all aspects of our new CEO appointment. In order for our college group to achieve its ambitions, we know how critical it is for our board and our executive team to continue to work well together and enjoy the same level of support and challenge.

Please do continue to read through the information we have provided for you, speak to our advising consultants at Peridot, and if you have the skills, capacity, experience and energy we are looking for then we very much welcome your application.

Yours sincerely,

Henry Ball
Chair of East Sussex College Group Board

The leading destination for further education in East Sussex

Students at East Sussex College can access a variety of courses to suit all learning styles and needs. The college offers a spectrum of traditional sixth form subjects, alongside vocational and professional courses, apprenticeships and re-engagement programmes. East Sussex College also welcomes higher education learners, with a range of university-level courses available. The international study programmes, based in Eastbourne, Hastings and Lewes, offer top-rated education to overseas students looking to improve their English or study other subjects alongside English.

To get ahead of the curve and provide an urgent solution to regional needs, Sussex Coast College and Sussex Downs College merged on 31 March 2018. By merging its expert workforce and expansive resources the College has created a unique and ambitious college group, with a reach that proudly covers all diverse and distinct communities across the region.

Today the college group is pioneering the transformation of education and skills training

The College is reforming its expansive curriculum by trailblazing considerable national change. They have already dramatically increased the range of apprenticeships to meet more local employers’ skills needs. They have launched Higher and Degree Apprenticeships to meet the needs of specific employment sectors, embedded employment-focused Study Programmes for 16-18 year olds that equip young people with the skills that employers demand and successfully introduced new curriculum and assessment methods for A levels and GCSEs, alongside rolling out significant adult loan-funded programmes, delivered in college and online, enabling more and more people to upskill/reskill regionally.

Shaping itself to be a leading provider of outstanding A level and technical provision throughout the county and region

They are pioneering the introduction of Technical level qualifications for all students, being one of just 54 providers nationally to be offering these from 2020.

Qualification will be available in software design and development, surveying and planning, construction and design; creating a prestigious Institute of Technology covering Sussex, Kent and Essex to match regional skills needs; launching a significantly greater number of higher professional and technical qualifications (levels 4 and 5) for those who do not have or do not wish to pursue a degree. East Sussex College fully understands the differing demands and expectations upon it from within the county.

The college group is determined to:

  • Work closely with schools to develop A level and technical provision to become the indisputable destination of choice for the vast majority of students in the region.
  • Play a leading role in generating economic growth, linked to regeneration in the coastal communities, supported by initiatives such as the Newhaven Enterprise Zone, Eastbourne and Hastings Business Improvement Districts, and Hastings’ Opportunity Area Status.
  • Quickly close measurable socioeconomic and attainment gaps, building more cohesive communities in Hastings, Eastbourne, Lewes and Newhaven.
  • Dramatically improve post-16 attainment, including A levels, literacy and numeracy.
  • Substantially expand skills education and training, bespoke to local and regional workforce needs.

More information:

East Sussex College website
Meeting timetable 2019-20
Strategic Plan 2018-21
Financial statement 2018
Executive structure chart

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:

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

Sarah Szulczewski | 07841 017043 |  sarahs@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 by addressing the criteria focused on experience within the person specification, giving examples. Please ensure that you also explain your motivation for applying within your supporting statement.

Please use the subject: “Chair of the Corporation Board, East Sussex College Group” and send your documents to: response@peridotpartners.co.uk.

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: 9am, Monday 9th September 2019
Candidates informed of outcome: w/c Monday 16th September 2019
Preliminary interviews: Tuesday 24th & Wednesday 25th September 2019
Final interviews: Tuesday 1st October 2019

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

Peridot and East Sussex College Group 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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