We're looking for people with proven experience of leading the development and delivery of new services for children, young people or adults with special educational needs and/or disabilities, with strong leadership, business development and stakeholder engagement skills.
Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. Our mission is to help children and young people with autism to learn, thrive and achieve. We work to improve the services available for children and young people with autism, to increase awareness and understanding of autism, to campaign for change and, through TreeHouse School, The Rise School and Ambitious College, to offer outstanding specialist education and support.
We are driven to make the ordinary possible for children and young people with autism and improve their life chances. Around half of children and young people with autism experience informal exclusion and less than 25% progress to any form of education beyond school. Our strategy, Ambitious Futures 2020, sets out our plans to have an even greater reach and impact. As part of this, we aim to further develop our existing and new education services, based on innovative models of best practice that achieve outstanding outcomes for children and young people and have a wider impact on our educational community.
To enable us to deliver on this ambitious growth agenda, we are looking to appoint a Director of Service Development. This is an exciting and challenging executive leadership team role, working closely with the Board and ELT to deliver on our strategy and with the scope to bring your innovative thinking to shape future service development.
You will have proven experience of leading the development and delivery of new services for children, young people or adults with special educational needs and/or disabilities, from a third sector, education, social care/local authority or health background and have a track record of working with commissioners at a senior level. With strong leadership, business development and stakeholder engagement skills, you will be a self-starter and innovative thinker, who will be able to straddle the strategic and operational, and inspire your team.
Thank you for your interest in the role of Director of Service Development at Ambitious about Autism. I hope that you will find our mission and this opportunity exciting and compelling and will consider joining our team at a critical time of expansion and growth in our services.
Ambitious about Autism has achieved and developed so much since it was founded in 1997. Our services continue to grow and develop. Our outstanding TreeHouse School celebrated its 21st anniversary in 2018 and continues to innovate to meet the needs of young people with complex autism. The Rise School, developed as part of our multi-academy trust, opened in 2014 co-located within a mainstream school and is thriving in its purpose-built building. Ambitious College is London’s only autism specific registered day college serving young people with complex autism aged 16 to 25 years. It now has two permanent campuses co-located and developed in partnership with mainstream further education colleges. Both new services achieved a Good Ofsted rating in 2017. Through these services we educate and support over 250 children and young people with autism and thousands more through our national policy and practice influencing work.
We are all passionate and driven by our mission to make the ordinary possible for children and young people with autism and improve their life chances. Our Ambitious Futures 2020 strategy sets out our plans to have an even greater reach and impact. As part of this, we aim to further develop our existing and new education services, based on innovative models of best practice that achieve outstanding outcomes for children and young people and have a wider impact on our educational community.
We have ambitions to further grow and develop Ambitious about Autism’s and our Schools Trust’s services. This role will be instrumental in working with me, across the Executive Leadership Team as well as with Trustees, to develop our new educational services.
You will have proven experience of leading the development and delivery of new services for children, young people or adults with special educational needs and/or disabilities, with strong leadership, business development and stakeholder engagement skills. Above all, you will share an absolute commitment to our mission and values. This challenge is both exciting and significant and I hope very much that you will consider this opportunity to contribute to our future and the lives of young people with autism.
Deputy Chief Executive
Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism.
The charity was established in 1997 by a group of families of children with autism concerned at the lack of appropriate provision for their children. They set out to establish a school that would support their children to learn, thrive and achieve positive outcomes.
Following a major capital fundraising campaign and a series of temporary locations and premises, the school and the charity moved into purpose-built accommodation in 2008, together creating the Pears National Centre for Autism Education. Since then the charity has grown its education services, opening both Ambitious College and The Rise School in 2014, and extended its national influencing and enabling activities.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects 1 in 100 people in the UK. It affects the way a person communicates and how they experience the world around them.
Children with autism face many barriers, these include: a lack of understanding of their needs and how to meet them, a lack of good quality services and opportunities to have their views taken into account.
As a result:
This must be addressed with urgency if we are to stop the wasted opportunities for these children, their families and our society.
Ambitious about Autism is focused on developing innovative service models that demonstrate excellent outcomes for young people and are replicable and sustainable. We are committed to creating pathways to enable young people to live a fulfilling life as part of their community.
School years: TreeHouse School is a non-maintained special school for pupils aged 4 to 19 with autism.
College years: Ambitious about Autism runs Ambitious College which opened in September 2014.
Capacity building for families and professionals: Ambitious about Autism continues to provide training and support to enable families and professionals to support children and young people with autism.
For further information please the website:
If you would like to find out more about this exciting opportunity, need any further information or wish to have an informal discussion about the role please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:
To apply, please submit your 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, giving examples. Please ensure that you also explain your motivation for applying within your supporting statement.
You will also need to supply two references and indicate which one can be taken up in advance of interview. We will contact you before approaching your referees.
Please use the subject: “Director of Service Development, Ambitious about Autism” and send your documents to: email@example.com.
Ambitious about Autism is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified persons from all sections of the community. We guarantee to interview candidates with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the roles as detailed under the person specification.
Ambitious about Autism is signed up to the Disability Confident Scheme and offers a guaranteed interview for disabled candidates who meet all the essential criteria for the post they are applying for. If you would like to come and visit us, have any recruitment related questions or would like to discuss any reasonable adjustments that you may need as part of your application, please contact Emma Harvey.
Ambitious about Autism is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Please note that at least one reference will be taken up prior to interview and successful candidates will be subject to an Enhanced DBS check.
A downloadable candidate pack is available in the documents on this page. If you, or someone you know would like this pack in another language, on CD-ROM, email, in Braille, large print, Easy Read transcription or audio tape, please contact Emma Harvey.
Please note the dates given in the timetable below and let us know if you have any difficulties with any dates. Please note the tight turnaround between informing you of the outcome of your application and the preliminary interview date. (NB It is unlikely that any of these dates can be changed).
Closing date: Wednesday 5th June
Candidates informed of outcome: Monday 10th June
Preliminary interviews: Thursday 13th June
Stakeholder Engagement Day (including visit to Pears National Centre and informal meeting with Chief Executive and ELT): Tuesday 18th June
Final interviews: Monday 24th June
Peridot and Ambitious about Autism 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 survey.
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.