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Governors Derwentside College

Bring your professional skills, knowledge and expertise to one of the top performing further education colleges in the country, and join the Board of Derwentside College as it embarks on the next stage of its journey towards becoming an outstanding education provider.

  • Location: Consett, County Durham
  • Salary: Unremunerated, with reasonable expenses paid

Located in a semi-rural location, high on the edge of the Pennines, Derwentside College is based on a single site in the heart of the town of Consett. We offer a diverse range of provision to young people and adults from across the local, predominantly rural, community. We currently deliver education and training to around 4,000 learners across over 200 courses, supported by around 160 staff.

We deliver a broad range of 16-18 classroom-based provision which includes beauty therapy, catering, health and social care, and digital technology, along with maths and English which is embedded throughout our provision. However, unlike many other FE colleges across the country, 55% of our learners gain their education through apprenticeships, rather than the more common 16-18 classroom-based provision. In this way, we are certainly not a traditional FE college.

This differing mode of predominant delivery is one of the things that sets us apart from other colleges across the northeast of England. Indeed, through this, we deliver more apprenticeships than those colleges local to us. Due to our heavy focus on apprenticeship delivery and through our launch of T-Level provision from September 2023, we are privileged to work with over 1,000 employers.

It is not just our apprenticeship provision which is industry focused. All of our adult provision – over 1,000 learners – is tailored to meet local skills needs and support local industry.

Graded ‘Good’ by Ofsted in 2022, and with a strategic vision that will take us to 2026, we have a firm base from which to progress with our ambitions for growth and development in the years ahead. By demonstrating our values of trust, respect, excellence, enjoyment and enterprise we believe we can position ourselves to be a beacon of opportunity within the local area.

As an organisation that is deeply connected with its local community, we know too well the challenges that our communities face; deprivation, generational unemployment and the cost-of-living crisis. Through achieving our aims, and by becoming this beacon, we believe that we can help people in the local area to tackle the barriers and challenges they face.

Derwentside College has a turnover of around £10 million, yet despite our relatively small size within the FE sector, we are already punching above our weight with achievement rates placing them in the top 5% nationally for vocational education. This is something we are immensely proud of and couldn’t have been achieved without a dedicated and determined staff team who love where they work. Indeed, a recent national staff survey placed us top for staff satisfaction.

Who we are looking for

As you will see from our strategic plan, our vision is to be an outstanding college that is highly valued by our learners and partners. However, we recognise as a leadership team and as a board that, without outstanding governance, you can’t be outstanding in other areas. It is this understanding, coupled with our ambition to always strive for excellence, that has led us to this recruitment process, searching for new governors to join our board.

We have recently appointed a new Chair of the Board, David Allsop FCCA CPFA. David is working tirelessly with our Principal & CEO Chris Todd, along with other senior leadership team and Board colleagues, to refocus the direction, culture and aspirations of the College.

Part of this aspiration has been to rebuild the collegiality of the board post-pandemic, building towards a more inclusive culture of governance and more familiarity amongst board members. Given our ambitions, the college is seeking to recruit new governors to our board who can offer their professional expertise whilst providing challenge and scrutiny to ensure that we continue to deliver on our mission. We would welcome applications from individuals with professional expertise in the following areas:

  • Financial oversight
  • Local strategic leadership
  • Audit expertise

About the role

As a college, we continue to refresh our strategic intentions and drive towards a future of prosperity. To achieve this, it is vital that our board continues to be made up of experts and experienced professionals who can offer the appropriate levels of challenge and lines of questioning that will allow us to grow, develop and improve.

Following a recent extensive skills audit, and a previous successful governor recruitment process, we have identified a number of other areas of expertise that we believe will further strengthen our board and offer additional diversity of thought.

Financial Oversight

Firstly, we seek to appoint a finance professional who has demonstrable experience of successfully working at a senior, strategic level during their career. Candidates for this role can be either a fully qualified finance expert, or an experienced leader who is qualified by experience. You will have experience working in large organisations, either within the public sector or elsewhere and understand the pressures that come with working with finances in complex organisations. Candidates for this will be able to use their expertise to ensure that the Board are asking the appropriate questions regarding our finances to ensure that our financial future remains positive.

Local Strategic Leadership

We also hope to engage with senior leaders and executives working at a strategic level within employers local to the College. We are proud to have built links with so many partners and stakeholders and this is something which we hope to continue as we look to grow our provision. We believe a positive way to further develop these relationships is to invite leaders from our local employers and businesses to join our board. Your knowledge of local skills markets and your understanding of future needs will help us to have further positive impacts on the communities that we serve.

Audit Expertise

Finally, we seek to appoint an experienced audit practitioner to our Board. Candidates for this role will again need experience working at a senior, strategic level in their professional capacity. You will be able to offer your analytical thinking, curious questioning and respectful scrutiny to ensure that the College continues to work in line with the necessary compliance and regulatory frameworks of our sector. Experience of audit processes concerning financial auditing, risk management and compliance will all be welcomed.

Expectations and Commitment

We ask our board members to be willing to commit to a four-year term of office. Appointed individuals will need to attend no more than 11 meetings per year, inclusive of the main board meetings and additional committee meetings. This number is also dependent on the committee to which you are appointed, and this will be decided by your interests and areas of expertise.

Our board meetings are held in person at the College, however, committee meetings are predominantly held online offering additional flexibility within the role. We estimate that our governors dedicate around 10 hours per month to their roles. We also host an additional in-person away day each year.

Whilst previous governance experience is welcomed, it is not essential as new governors will all be supported through a comprehensive induction and training process and ongoing support thereafter.

Peridot Partners and Derwentside College are, together, committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and our client expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. The successful candidate(s) will be subject to an enhanced DBS check and satisfactory references before any final offer can be made.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 509128

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dan Baxter

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Accessibility information

We understand that different members of the community have different access needs and have made some modifications to the way we do business to accommodate people from diverse communities and abilities. We offer the following amenities:

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted.

Applicants with a disability 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 role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

For further information or to organise a conversation, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 509128

    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 and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Derwentside College – Governors” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

    Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 509128

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: Monday 26th February 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Friday 8th March 2024
    Interviews: Thursday 14th March 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Derwentside 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 will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. 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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