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Governor/Member of the Corporation Board | Northern College of Adult Education

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Join an ambitious and dynamic Governing Board to have a genuine impact on the future success of the College and its students. We are looking for people with strong strategic leadership expertise in: Organisational development and/or HR, Local authority, Adult education, Central government, Arts & culture or National heritage.

  • Location: Wentworth Castle, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
  • Salary: Unremunerated

About the role

Northern College is a specialist designated institution (SDI) as defined by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The College is a company limited by guarantee incorporated on 18 November 1977 and a registered charity. Members of the Board of Governors are also members and directors of the company and trustees of the charity.

The College is governed by a Board of Governors who are collectively responsible for:

  • determining the long-term strategy and educational character;
  • stewardship of the public assets and funds it holds;
  • ensuring the effective and efficient use of its resources, and making sure that use is in line with the objects of the company/charity and for the benefit of the public;
  • ensuring its continued solvency;
  • monitoring and constructively challenging performance;
  • ensuring the effective performance of its legal and regulatory duties.

The Governors carry out this role in line with the Seven Principles of Public Life (or Nolan Principals) of selflessness, integrity, accountability, objectivity, honesty, openness and leadership.

The work of the Board of Governors in setting the strategic direction of Northern College and providing leadership is central to the College’s success. By becoming a Governor at Northern College, you will be joining a high performing board and successful college.  This is your opportunity to steer provision that benefits the students, the local community and employers directly. Being a Governor at Northern College is hugely rewarding and is an opportunity to make a real difference to the communities served by the college.

While in some respects the role of the Board of Governors can be summed up as one of exercising “oversight” of a college and its business, the term should not be taken to imply in any sense a passive or merely symbolic role. The Board is accountable for the financial solvency of the College, its sound management and the quality of the service which it provides. The Board is also accountable for the proper use of the public funds entrusted to it.

Sound governance requires more than simply ensuring that the books balance and that the CEO & Principal is getting on with the business of running the College within the parameters established by the Governors. Colleges must be able to respond to changes in direction of government policy and anticipate changing needs in their communities. The Board of Governors must be actively involved in reviewing the role of the College and in planning and managing change to ensure the long term health and success of the college.

The Board meets four times over the academic year and runs a committee structure that meets up to five times per year, dependent of the type of committee (Policy & Finance = five times per year) and as a Governor you will be expected to attend both the full Board meetings and be an active member of at least one committee. Committee membership will be led by your area of expertise and/or particular area of interest and will be guided by the Clerk upon appointment.

Who we are looking for

Recognising our ambitious strategy to ‘inspire positive change through adult education’, we seek to engage strategic leaders from the local area to support the Board in this journey and bring a passion for success and recognition of the value of adult education to society.

The College seeks to engage Governors with a passion for vocational education and a drive for ambition to build on our continued success for the benefit of students, staff and the local community. This should be underpinned with a track record of strong strategic leadership in one of the following areas of expertise:

  • Organisational development and/or HR
  • Local authority
  • Adult education
  • Central government
  • Arts & culture
  • National heritage

This is a fantastic opportunity to join an ambitious Governing Board and make a genuine impact on the future success of the College and its students. You will support the development and influence the direction of Northern College at a time of great momentum as we seek to secure the finances, grow the organisation and aspire to provide outstanding education and training opportunities for adults across Barnsley, the Sheffield City and West Yorkshire Region.

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

Sarah Szulczewski | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017 043

Closing date: 12pm, Tuesday 4th May 2021

Further education recruitment with Sarah Szulczewski

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

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Welcome from Bob Harrison and Clive Macdonald, Co-Chairs of the Board of Governors

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in becoming a governor at Northern College.

Northern College is one of only four adult residential colleges in England and has a proud and distinguished history of providing educational opportunities for those individuals and communities who may have previously been disengaged and have returned to learning later on in life. Much of what we offer provides a platform to engage people back into education with the aim of designing a supportive pathway to progress through our courses to ensure that everyone participating can achieve their potential.

The College offers so much more than you might expect from further education, attracting students from all over the country, with its residential accommodation, amazing location, focused student and learning support and evening library accessibility. Studying at Northern College is a very inclusive, impactful and memorable experience for our students.

The College is reviewing its curriculum offer to ensure it meets the post-Covid recovery needs of Barnsley and the wider Sheffield City and West Yorkshire regions.  It currently offers a wide range of non-accredited community learning provision, aimed at engaging adults into education and delivering the essential skills necessary to progress; accredited courses including Functional Skills and GCSEs in English and Maths, and short courses at L1 and L2; full-time residential or non-residential L2 Pre-Access and L3 Access to HE programmes. We also offer teacher education provision up to degree level in partnership with Huddersfield University and have a long standing trade union education offer attracting union reps from all over the country. The College works closely with a number of local authorities, voluntary sector organisations, and other stakeholders to reach out to individuals and communities engaging them and supporting them to progress within the college. The full range of provision can be found at www.northern.ac.uk.

Our 2025 Strategic Ambition sets out our priorities for the next five years in readiness for the changes that the devolution of the adult education budget from September 2021 may bring. Applying the key themes of ‘Innovate, Diversify and Promote’, the College is at the starting point of this exciting next phase of development.

Over the last two years the College has made significant changes in preparation for devolution and to development new income, as well as working through efficiencies and maximising value for money.

The governing body and entire staff team are driven by the desire to make a positive difference to the lives of individuals and the communities they live in, and it is critical that this remains at our core.

We are keen to appoint governors who will embrace this opportunity to take the College into its next phase, and have the experience, strategic vision and commitment to play a key role in securing a sustainable future.

I hope you are as excited as we are about the potential at Northern College, and we look forward to receiving your application.

Bob Harrison and Clive Macdonald
Co-chairs of the Board of Governors

About Northern College of Adult Education

We are Northern College, one of only four residential colleges dedicated to the education and training of people who are without formal qualifications and seeking to return to learning.

We also offer training for those who are active in community and voluntary groups as well as in their trade unions and have a rich history of promoting social justice.

Our mission is to ‘inspire positive change through adult education’ and is central to all we do.

We deliver this mission through our values of:

  • Always be ambitious,
  • Have people at our hearts,
  • Make things happen.

And is underpinned by our strategic priorities, to:

  • Diversify our curriculum offer,
  • Value our people,
  • Promote Northern College and adult education,
  • Be sustainable,
  • Innovate to improve the student experience.

Further detail behind our mission and our strategic priorities, can be found in Our 2025 Ambition.

We are a small college in comparison to some others across the country, though our 4,000 students come from a range of different backgrounds across the local area and region. Aged 19 plus, and often with families and dependants, many are familiar with unemployment or part-time, low paid jobs.

We are incredibly proud that our students have in common a determination to secure education, qualifications and better life opportunities. They wish to take control of their lives and change them for the better. Many hope by doing so they can also help to improve the lives of those around them, by supporting their children’s learning or being more effective citizens.

We offer a curriculum that begins where students’ learning levels start, building on the experience of life and work that they bring with them, providing opportunities to acquire new knowledge, skills, ambition and a fresh approach to lifelong learning.

    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 & Person Specification and please 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:

    Sarah Szulczewski | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017 043

    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 ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Northern College – Governor” 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, Tuesday 4th May 2021
    Candidates informed of outcome: by 5pm, Monday 10th May 2021
    Interviews: w/c Monday 17th May 2021

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Northern College 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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