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Chair of the Board | The Henley College

The Henley College is uniquely placed at the heart of three counties, serving the community as an inclusive and exceptional sixth form. We are looking for a talented Chair with a naturally strategic mind, who knows what good governance looks like and a passion and commitment to lifelong learning to help the College realise its ambition to become Ofsted 'Outstanding'.

  • Location: Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
  • Salary: Voluntary with reasonable expenses

About the role

The College enjoys strong links and partnerships that provide our students with opportunities to enhance their learning and personal development. Some of these successful relationships include – but are in no way limited to – the OxLEP, our local authorities, Cisco, Ealing Trailfinders and the famous Leander Club. We have benefitted greatly from these corporate relationships and believe our next Chair can add a great deal of value to our organisation as the lead ambassador for The Henley College as well as leading our Board of Governors.

Following the decision of our current Chair, Dr Trevor Watkins, to step down in this academic year, his successor will act as de-facto line manager to our experienced Principal & CEO. As Chair, you will have a responsibility to foster collaboration between the executive and non-executive teams. Working towards the launch of a new strategic plan, the Chair will ensure the Board appropriately appraises the College’s performance, is working towards intended strategic objectives with the executive team receiving both support and challenge to improve organisational outcomes.

With the support of the Clerk to the Board, the Chair will ensure meetings of the governing body and its committees have strategic focus and all those in attendance contribute fairly and effectively – ultimately, drawing out their expertise and knowledge for the benefit of decision making, the development of our executive and the ongoing development of our College.

The position of Chair is voluntary though expenses will be paid. We expect the Chair to have the capacity to give the equivalent of four-five days each month to carry out the duties associated with the role.

Who we're looking for

We have a talented Board and so require a talented Chair. With a naturally strategic mind, experience of operating at a very senior level within a large and complex business environment, and a passion and commitment to lifelong learning, our next Chair will know what good governance looks like having led or reported into a high-performing board.

Whilst recognising your experience might not have been gained in the post-16 education sector, you should understand and appreciate the role of further education and its impact on economic and skills development.

Your style should be inclusive and collaborative, to enable and foster open and honest discussion and debate around the board table. With previous board-level experience, ideally as Chair, you will recognise the difference between executive leadership and operations, and non-executive decision making and oversight. Through reviewing reports and plans put forward by the Principal & Chief Executive and the executive team, you will oversee their appraisal with the necessary amount 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:

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

Laura Burchett | laura@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07985 431 599

Closing date: 12pm, Monday 19th April 2021

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 Dr Trevor Watkins, Chair of the Governing Body

Dear Candidate,

Being Chair of Governors at The Henley College is a challenging but rewarding voluntary activity. You will be given the opportunity to use your skills for the benefit of this long-established educational establishment by contributing to the strategic oversight of the College and leading the relationship between Governors and the SLT. You will work closely with the Principal and Clerk and other senior staff members and the other Governors.

Independent Governors come from a range of backgrounds but are united by an interest in developing the quality provision of A-levels and vocational qualifications to over 1,700 16-18-year-old students who have chosen to attend the College. The College was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in October 2019 and Governors want to raise the grade to ‘Outstanding’ at the next opportunity.

I hope you will give serious consideration to applying to become Chair of Governors so as to contribute to the exciting and challenging future facing the further education sector.

Dr Trevor Watkins
Chair of the Governing Body

Welcome from Satwant Deol, Principal & CEO

Dear Candidate,

I am delighted that you are considering applying for the position of Chair of The Henley College Board.

The Henley College is uniquely placed at the heart of three counties, serving the community as an inclusive and exceptional sixth form. The College delivers a high standard of education with outstanding progression to higher education, apprenticeship and employment. We are committed to each student’s academic, professional and personal growth. Our students not only get qualifications but develop as confident and independent young adults, regardless of where they have come from or their starting point.

Recent student and parent surveys have provided overwhelming evidence that our staff are doing an extraordinary job keeping students in learning despite the challenges of a global pandemic and national lockdowns. Staff and students have all shown resilience and creativity despite the exceptional pressure on all of us.

The post-16 sector has faced very real difficulties in recent years but the College has emerged strengthened through an agile approach and a dedicated focus on continuous improvement. I am delighted in particular that over the last few years we have:

  • Improved achievement and delivered a ‘Good’ Ofsted outcome.
  • Invested £1.4m on buildings to create state of the art facilities with 50 new Apple Macs in a new Digital Suite, a Mega-Electronic Lab, two new Digital Hubs, and new set of Textiles and Art Studios. Our gym has been refurbished and equipped with the latest sports fitness equipment to enhance our elite rugby, rowing, basketball, football and other programmes.
  • Developed 10 new courses with major blue chip companies helping with the design of curriculum and spaces, leading to degree level apprenticeships with companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Ealing Trailfinders and many more. Such companies supported the delivery of employability, digital and leadership skills.
  • Achieved an ‘Outstanding’ financial health position and invested money in infrastructure and staffing.
  • Increased learner numbers by 12% last year and looking to do the same this year.
  • Achieved high progression (97%) and produced students who outperform at university; our students consistently outperform state school and sixth form colleges benchmarks for degree outcomes.

Governors are working through the strategy for the next three years and I am really excited at the prospect of our future developments. Our aim is to work towards becoming Ofsted ‘Outstanding’, with a centre of excellence for our A-level Academy and Technical and Professional Hubs in:

  • Maths, Science and Engineering
  • Computing, Business and Enterprise
  • Health and Social Care
  • Creative & Design Industries
  • Sports and Public Services
  • Foundation Pathways.

Over the last few years, we have forged great relationships with sports bodies and employers. We will continue to keep modernising our curriculum, embedding digital and employability skills as well as enhancing our learning and digital spaces.

I am excited by our future direction but also mindful of how agile we have to continue to be as we go forward, especially in light of the pandemic, white paper recommendations and any forth-coming funding challenges. I have always taken personal inspiration from an old College motto and one of my first acts on becoming principal was to place these words at the centre of our vision: ‘Come questioning, go seeking, grow‘.

This is the spirit we would want our Chair to embody and I look forward to meeting you during the recruitment process.

Satwant Deol
Principal & CEO

About The Henley College

The Henley College is soon to celebrate 35 years of teaching and learning excellence, although our origins can be traced back to King James I Grammar School founded in 1604. These foundations closely reflect the academic and vocational traditions that remain at the forefront of today’s offering.

Since our creation in 1987, we have continued to serve as the local sixth form of choice. Due to our leading reputation and the high-quality of our courses, we are now home to over 1,700 full-time students from over 100 schools across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Whilst the size of our organisation may be small, in comparison to other large and local college institutions, our reach and regional impact is huge.

The Henley College

In 2010, Henley was the first college in the UK to be granted a change of status to become a sixth form college. Since this time and for the past decade we have been proud to be the only sixth form college in the three surrounding counties to be awarded the highest accolade in the post-16 sector by the Department of Education. As the sixth form college for South Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley, we offer a wide range of courses including over 60 A-Level subjects and high achieving vocational diplomas.

Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds and we are committed to promoting equality of opportunity and celebrating diversity. Our organisational mission is ‘to be a strong, independent college at the heart of our communities, delivering academic excellence within a culture of support, development, creativity and innovation’. With a significant majority of our students progressing to university with good grades, the College has a relentless focus on social mobility and providing advancement opportunities for all, regardless of background.

In 2015, the College was recognised as a Leader in Diversity which is the highest award that can be granted by the National Centre for Diversity. The Leaders in Diversity Award recognises our excellence in equality, diversity and inclusion practice and our role as an EDI ambassador.

More recently and following the appointment of Satwant Deol as our Principal & Chief Executive, we have been on a journey of improvement. We have made significant financial progress through making difficult decisions regarding our expenditure. Our curriculum offer has been remodelled so that we are meeting the skills needs of the region, and we look to expand this offer further. The quality of education that we deliver has improved dramatically and in October 2019 we were designated as a ‘Good’ provider by Ofsted. We now aim to be ‘Outstanding’ and feel confident about this objective.

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    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 364 033

    Laura Burchett | laura@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07985 431 599

    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.

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    All applications will be considered solely on merit.


    Closing date for applications: 12pm, Monday 19th April 2021
    Interviews: Friday 7th May 2021

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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