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Chair of the governing body Ambitious College

This is an excellent opportunity to join Ambitious College as Chair of the governing body to support autistic young people at a time of change and transformation.

  • Location: Central London
  • Salary: Unremunerated

About the role

Ambitious College has a governing body comprising a range of people with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to support effective governance, including parents/carers.

The Governors meet regularly and visit the settings to review and monitor their performance. Information on progress and outcomes is made available at annual reviews, to parents/carers and Local Authorities, and reported termly to the governing bodies.

They also have a trust board-level Education Committee that oversees performance across all of the Ambitious about Autism settings. We welcome visitors to our schools and college and regularly hold open days for parents/carers and professionals.

The settings are subject to Ofsted inspections, which are published online, both on the college website and by Ofsted.

Good governance is key to the success of Ambitious College, and they are proud to have such a committed governing body. The Governor’s drive for quality is reflective of that of the staff team. This is a winning combination and one that they are determined to carry forward in the three-year Ambitious Futures Strategy which will lead to a three-year college development plan.

The overall purpose of the Governing Body is to:

  • Ensure pupils/learners achieve excellent progress, attainment and outcomes,
  • Promote the health, welfare and safety of pupils/learners,
  • Ensure the College complies with relevant legislation and guidance,
  • Ensure development of the College and its overall effectiveness,
  • Ensure high standards of professional practice,
  • Ensure compliance with Joint Group Board Committee (JGBC) and/or Charity/Trust policies as required,
  • Support and hold the Head of College to account,
  • Ensuring the College’s work is, where possible, evidence based,
  • Maximise the reach and impact for the benefit of children and young people with autism and their families,
  • Deliver high levels of satisfaction to pupils/learners, their families and other stakeholders,
  • Maintain and enhance the reputation of the College, the Charity and the Trust,
  • Ensure appropriate appointments to the governing body and high standards of governance.

Who we are looking for

Ambitious College are embarking on a three-year strategy and, in light of the pandemic and the effect and impact on the people they support, this is an important moment to lead the governing body.

They are looking to engage a new Chair with experience of either education and/or healthcare, along with an understanding of special education needs and compassion for the challenges that young people encounter with independent living and future opportunities.

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

Closing date: 9am, Monday 6th September 2021

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Welcome from Linda Looney, Head of College

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in becoming Chair of Ambitious College.

Ambitious College is an independent specialist college for young people with autism aged 16 – 25 years. The college’s mission is to enable young people to learn, thrive and achieve and to transition to an adult life as part of their local community.

The college opened in September 2014 on its two permanent campuses. In North London, our Pears Campus is co-located with the College of Haringey and North East London. Our Pears Campus in West London is co located with West Thames College. Co-location provides young people with the opportunity to access mainstream vocational learning and social opportunities. The College was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in April 2017. The college support learners with autism from across London and the Home Counties.

Our Ambitious Approach enables learners to access a personalised curriculum supported by a transdisciplinary team. Last year the college won a national award for its work on supporting learners’ mental health and well-being. This year the college has been shortlisted for a national award for its approach to home learning during the Covid pandemic.

The college is now seeking a Chair of the governing body to support it through its next crucial phase of development. The Chair will lead and support the governing body to shape the strategic direction of the college, evaluate the college’s performance, support and challenge the senior leadership team and act as a visible ambassador for the college.

We hope you will join us in taking on this exciting role at a key stage of the college’s development.

Linda Looney
Head of College, Ambitious College

“Trustees and governors are ambitious for learners and are passionate about the future of the college. They contribute well to shaping and communicating its strategic direction by providing support and challenge for senior leaders, and regularly carry out useful visits to evaluate progress and check on quality. As a result, staff are well motivated and learners’ outcomes and opportunities are improving.”

Ofsted, 2017

Welcome from Lesley Longstone, Chair of Education Committee

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in becoming the Chair of the Ambitious College governing body.

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. Founded 24 years ago, our mission is simple but ambitious; to make the ordinary possible for children and young people with autism. Our new three-year strategy will see us developing more services, focusing on raising awareness and understanding of autism and continuing to successfully influence policy. We’re an ambitious and innovative organisation at a particularly exciting stage of growth and diversification.

We have achieved a great deal over the last few years, but have ambitious plans for the future, which includes further growing and developing our Ambitious College. We are continuing to raise our profile and capacity to influence, but good governance remains an absolute priority for us.

We are now looking for a Chair for our Ambitious College governing body, as our existing Chair retires.

Strong experience at leadership level, and of ensuring excellent governance, will be essential for this appointment. A strategic thinker with excellent relationship-building, communication and interpersonal skills, you are likely to be someone who has already achieved real standing in your field and be able to offer established networks. You will also have an important ambassadorial role to play.

To do this, an appreciation of the issues that relate to our work would be useful.

Experience in further education, supported employment or adult social care for people with autism or other special educational needs would be beneficial.

Above all, you will share our absolute commitment to our mission and values. In return, this appointment offers the opportunity to shape our future and ensure we continue to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of young people with autism. The Chair of the Governing Body will also be a member of the charity’s Education Committee and help shape the overall approach to education.

Ambitious about Autism is fully committed to equality of opportunity and diversity, and we warmly welcome applications from all suitably qualified candidates. We welcome applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, disability, or age. All applications will be considered solely on merit.

Lesley Longstone
Chair of Education Committee

About Ambitious College

Ambitious College is an independent specialist college for young people with autism aged 16 – 25 years. The college’s mission is to make the ordinary possible for children and young people with autism, enabling people to learn, thrive and achieve, supporting the transition into adult life and part of their local community.

The college opened in September 2014 on its two permanent campuses. In North London, the College is co-located with the College of Haringey and North-East London. The West London campus is co located with West Thames College on the Isleworth campus. Co-location provides young people with the opportunity to access mainstream vocational learning and social opportunities. The college was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in April 2017 and supports learners with autism from across London and the Home Counties.

The Ambitious Approach enables learners to access a personalised curriculum supported by a transdisciplinary team. Last year the college won a national award for its work on supporting learners’ mental health and well-being.

This year the college has been shortlisted for a national award for its approach to home learning during the Covid pandemic.

Ambitious College forms part of the Ambitious about Autism, a national charity for children and young people with autism. The charity was established in 1997 by a group of families of children with autism who were concerned at the lack of appropriate provision for their children. Following a major capital fundraising campaign, a series of temporary locations and premises, the school and charity moved into purpose-built accommodation in 2008, together creating the Pears National Centre for Autism Education. Since then, they have grown the education services opening both Ambitious College and extending their national influencing and enabling activities.

The charity run specialist education services, an award-winning employment programme and children and young people are at the heart of our charity’s decision-making, policy work and campaigning. They use their expertise to deliver training and consultancy to a wide range of organisations to improve awareness and understanding of autism and want to help even more children and young people with autism to improve their quality of life and secure a fulfilling and rewarding future.

Further Information

Additional information about Ambitious College can be accessed by using the following links:

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    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 the Equality Monitoring Survey.

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    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, color, 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.

    Timetable:

    Closing date for applications: 9am, Monday 6th September 2021
    Candidates informed of outcome by: Friday 17th September 2021
    Interviews: w/c 27th September 2021

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