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Head of Governance South Staffordshire College

As Head of Governance, you will be the ‘conscience’ of the college - this is a critical role in supporting the board of governors to effectively and efficiently oversee the delivery of the college’s ambitious strategy, maintain the finances and ensure the quality of education is the very best our learners deserve.

  • Location: Tamworth, Rodbaston, Cannock and Litchfield.
  • Salary: FTE c£46k

Who we are

South Staffordshire College is a large general further education (GFE) college in the local region with the responsibility to deliver a diverse range of further education and higher education courses and training, as well as apprenticeship programmes across Staffordshire and its surrounding areas.

Our campuses are based in Penkridge (Rodbaston), Cannock, Lichfield and on two sites in Tamworth. We deliver our courses to over 7000 students and nearly 1000 apprentices and employ over 600 people across our 5 sites in a variety of roles, including both teaching and support staff.

Our college is dedicated to delivering the highest quality learning and development environment that enables all our leaners to achieve their best. We are focused on serving the communities in which we are located and developing partnerships with employers, of all types and sizes, to ensure they have people with the skills and capabilities to meet their needs for now, and for the future. We were proud to be awarded our Ofsted Good grading in November 2021.

The College Strategic Priorities, as set out in its 2021-2025 Strategic Vision document, are:

  • Participation: Be the first-choice college by meeting the needs of local and regional priorities
  • Provision: Deliver demand led, well sequenced, high quality vocational and technical and professional skills in collaboration with others that lead to sustainable careers and employment
  • Performance: Inspire our learners to develop high quality skills leading to sustainable careers; driven by excellent teaching and business
  • People: high staff engagement through reward/recognition development and health/wellbeing interventions
  • Prosperity: remain a financially robust, sustainable, and resilient organisation that can continue to develop and invest in its facilities, infrastructure, and workforce

Our vision highlights how we will support the future prosperity and economic vibrancy of our region through supporting our stakeholders and local employers to achieve their aims through the high-quality training and support we provide. Since our inception in 2009, we have established a reputation as one of the most successful colleges in the country.

This is an exciting time – we are at the forefront of revolutionary change using digital technologies to drive forward new methods of delivering world-class education and training. We are committed to providing the best learning and teaching experience through innovative technology and dedicated personal care.

The collective talent of our experienced staff continues to take our college forward from the foundations laid in the past.

About the Role

As Head of Governance, you will be clerk to the corporation and its committees, providing full and comprehensive secretariat and advisory support to our Chair, Mike Rowley, and the corporation members (governors). You will be responsible for advising the board on constitutional matters, duties, and powers within the current legislative framework, and undertake research and development activities to ensure the approach to governance is based on sector best practice. In line with this, we require you to support us in developing an appropriate process for self-evaluation and alignment to relevant Codes of Good Governance.

You will be a strong networker and communicator, who is comfortable with presenting to the Board and working with other governance professionals to drive best practice across the sector.  You will work closely with the Principal & Chief Executive, Claire Boliver and Chair of the Board to ensure that governance and also associated matters are driven to the very highest standard. This will be achieved by being not only an outstanding governance professional, but also by building trusted relationships with all board members and the senior leadership team.

You will apply your experience to confidently lead improvements to the governance structures, systems, and processes, and an ability to develop the board’s strategic oversight of risk and compliance, will be welcomed. Recognising the board’s role in ensuring statutory and regulatory compliance, you will also lead a new approach to organisational policy development and review, working closely with the executive team in a supportive and advisory capacity. To ensure the board is enabled to make the best decisions based on the information provided by the leadership team, your review of the reporting style and approach will be welcomed, to ensure transparency and consistency.

You will also lead all aspects of board induction and ongoing development, to ensure our governors are supported and developed throughout their terms of office. Through an ongoing review of the board’s membership, you will ensure the skills and experience of the Board complement the strategic ambitions and the governors reflect the diversity of our communities.

In line with the focus on governance development – and the activities the college undertake to support this – you must have experience of developing board members and enabling them to fully understand and carry out the public duties expected of them. Working closely with the Chair and the Chairs of Committees, in close collaboration with our Principal and CEO, and wider Senior leadership team, you will plan and manage the business of the Board and ensure people are briefed and papers are timely and appropriate for the audience. With all of this in mind, we are looking to appoint an experienced and qualified governance professional with substantial previous experience as Clerk to the Board, Governance Lead and/or Board/Company Secretary.

Who are we looking for?

Whilst we would ideally like candidates to have experience in supporting a further education governing body, what is more important to us is your ability to quickly grasp the legislative requirements expected of our board and the regulatory environment in which our college operates. It is vital that you have a strong desire to work for a forward-thinking education and skills provider which enhances the life chances of thousands of people each year.

The hours for this post are 25 hours per week over 52 weeks. Some flexibility is expected in this role, especially over busy periods, and when additional hours are worked these may be taken back at a quieter time. Flexible working, including some working from home, will be possible in this role.

Regular liaison with the Chair, Principal and other managers/staff will be required at other times through attendance on-campus or via MS Teams.

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

Sarah Atkins-Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 078410 17043

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 079515 09128

Chloe Cox | chloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 075393 86980

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Sarah Atkins-Boal

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Dear candidate,

Thank you for your interest in joining South Staffordshire College as the Head of Governance.

South Staffordshire College has a strong reputation that is built on great staff and a significant asset base. The college is now embarking on a strategy to ensure that its offerings are even better aligned to changing demands of employers in the area. The board of governors is dedicated to developing and delivering this strategy and supporting the executive team to drive the college forward.

In addition to our curriculum development, we are currently undertaking an exciting major capital project which involves the relocation of our Tamworth Campus to a newly developed building in the centre of Tamworth by 2024.

Our board currently consists of thirteen independent governors, two students, two staff governors and the Chief Executive Principal. The board meets approximately 6 times each year, including 2 strategy/training days. We also have 3 committees and 3 working groups which usually meet three or four times a year.

As Head of Governance, you can choose to be located at any of our sites and we also offer flexible working for those who enjoy the option of working from home. The college offers many other benefits to staff including a competitive salary, generous holidays and pension contributions. You can read more about these on our website College Vacancies – South Staffordshire College.

We are very proud of our Board of Governors and our staff who are talented, passionate and have high expectations of our students. Please join us and be part of our team.

Mike Rowley
Chair of the Board of Governors

Claire Boliver
Chief Executive Principal

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

Sarah Atkins-Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 078410 17043

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 079515 09128

Chloe Cox | chloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 075393 86980

About South Staffordshire College

South Staffordshire College was created in January 2009 to serve the needs of communities and businesses across South Staffordshire and beyond and was formed from three, originally four, colleges that combined to serve a large area of the Midlands. The key benefit of the now larger college is the ability to respond to meet the needs across the Midlands and keeping the identity of each area remains very important to us. To reinforce this, and provide local recognition for residents, we call our campus sites ‘Colleges’, for example Tamworth College. This approach brings the benefits of larger scale operations and economies of scale whilst ensuring local responsiveness to meet business and resident’s needs.

The college serves a large area within Staffordshire from Rodbaston College in South Staffordshire, through Cannock and onto Lichfield and Tamworth in East Staffordshire. Staffordshire’s history within the areas the college serves is broad and rich in its industrial and creative heritage.

For example, Cannock was a small rural community until coal mining increased heavily during the mid to late 19th century. The area then continued to grow rapidly with many industries coming to the area because of its proximity to the Black Country and because of its coal reserves. Its population increased steadily throughout the 20th century.

It is now home to many commuters working in the surrounding towns and cities. Tamworth has existed since Saxon times and in the reign of King Offa, was the capital of Mercia the largest of all English kingdoms of its time and was the largest town in the Midlands. This is largely because of its strategic position at the meeting point of two rivers (the Tame and the Anker), which meant the town was perfectly placed as a centre of trade and industry.

The town grew rapidly in the 18th and 19th centuries during the Industrial Revolution, benefitting from the surrounding coal mines. It also became a hub of the canal network, with the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal being built through the town. Later, the railways arrived with the Midland Railway route from Derby to Birmingham arriving in Tamworth in 1847.

The college also serves the City of Lichfield. Lichfield is most famous for its three-spired cathedral and famed as the birthplace of Samuel Johnson, the author of the first authoritative Dictionary of the English Language. Once the county’s largest town, Lichfield did not undergo the industrial development which gripped other parts of Staffordshire, The Potteries and The Black Country. Its commercial development has been more modest, and the city has accordingly remained a more modest size. By the end of the 19th century, brewing was the principal industry, and in the neighbourhood were large market gardens which provided food for the growing populations of nearby Birmingham and the Black Country.

Today there are a number of light industrial areas predominantly in the east of the city, not dominated by any one particular industry. The district is famous for two local products: Armitage Shanks sanitary fittings and Arthur Price of England, cutlers and silversmiths. Many residents commute to Birmingham.

Why do we exist?

Our core purpose is to transform people’s lives.  We do this through a set of priorities in order to overcome the significant skills shortages, challenges within the economy and wider community needs. Our priorities align with those of our two Local Enterprise Partnerships (Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire) which are:

  • Boosting the skills of the workforce at all levels; increasing the awareness of local employment particularly in the sectors of digital, health & care, STEM including advanced manufacturing, auto/aero and agristem and construction.
  • Increasing the employability and self confidence of all individuals through effective careers education, skills development and raising aspirations.
  • Increasing opportunities for our existing employees to complete high quality, relevant, CPD as well as maintaining sector specific skills through industrial placements.
  • Ensuring the content of education and training programmes is innovative, up to date, including supporting the green, sustainable and carbon neutral drive as well as meeting the current needs of local employers.

As well as our close working relationship with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, we continue to collaborate effectively with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), we will focus on key areas such as construction, automotive, digital, business and professional services as the sectors requiring our support to unlock growth.

Our History

Cannock College opened as Cannock Mining College in 1929 and was dedicated to the single most important industry in the area – coal mining. At its peak some 20,000 miners working in 400 mines produced six million tons of coal a year to feed the appetite of industry in the Black Country and the wider Midlands.

As mining became more scientific and technically challenging – not to say dangerous – there were a number of disasters by flood, fire and collapse in the area – specialised education and training became a necessity for the workforce and Cannock Mining College was created to serve that need.

As coal mining declined, the college developed new areas of expertise for the new industries in the area and Cannock College has the proud record of being the last mining department in existence in a technical college in the whole country, closing in 1993.

Tamworth College, the youngest of the colleges was purpose-built as a vocational college of further education in 1954. It reflected the tradition of Tamworth as a traditional market town with a wide range of local rural industries, but it was also set up to cater for the industrial needs of the West Midlands.

From mining, engineering and agriculture originally, and later business studies, caring and computing, its curriculum has reflected the changing nature of the locality, including its growing population, known unflatteringly as ‘Birmingham overspill’ in the post-war years.

In the 1980s, Tamworth had the youngest average aged population in the whole country, and the college expanded rapidly, not only in numbers, but in the breadth of the curriculum offered to the sons and daughters of the newly expanded population. Tamworth is proud of its heritage as the historic capital of the ancient kingdom Mercia, and the college has sought to reflect that pride in the size and scale of its provision for the local community.

Lichfield College, traditionally the ‘Lichfield School of Art’ dates back to the late 1700s, finding a permanent home in 1879, in a timber framed house still to be seen in Dam Street, adjacent to the Cathedral. In 1776 Dr Samuel Johnson took his friend Boswell to Lichfield to show him, “genuine civilised life in an English provincial town” and the School of Art – later ‘Science, Art and Technology’, has played a continuing part in the cultural life of the city ever since. The college now provides training in a wide range of subjects, as well as gallery space, and a business village in conjunction with Staffordshire University.

Rodbaston College originates in the post First World War period, when wartime food shortages caused Lloyd George’s Government to introduce ‘Farm Institutes’ to each English county in a bid to improve the future efficiency of agriculture. However, records of farming activity on the Rodbaston site go back to the Domesday Book and earlier.

There is an historic Saxon moated earthwork still to be seen on the college site, now sitting among such modern-day education and training facilities as livestock, horticulture, equine, aquaculture, veterinary, zoo and sustainability ventures.

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

Sarah Atkins-Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 078410 17043

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 079515 09128

Chloe Cox | chloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 075393 86980


Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step-free access to the building, accessible workstations (e.g. desk, office), and step-free access to all key meeting rooms and toilets.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcomed.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats if needed.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for an interview.
  • Working patterns / working locations can be adjusted.

Find out more here.

Armed Forces

We are committed to supporting the employment of reservists, cadet volunteers, veterans and partners/spouses of serving members of the Armed Forces. We have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and achieved our Gold Award.

Disability Confident Employer

We are a disability confident employer which means that we welcome individuals with disabilities into our workforce. We are proud of our work with people who have disabilities who are able to work with us and feel supported.

If you have any further needs around accessibility, please get in touch with the advising consultants for a confidential chat on how we can best fulfil your needs:

Sarah Atkins-Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 078410 17043

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 079515 09128

Chloe Cox | chloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 075393 86980

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    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Job Description and Person Specification and complete this equality monitoring survey.

    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 “South Staffordshire College – Head of Governance” into the subject field.

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

    Sarah Atkins-Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 078410 17043

    Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 079515 09128

    Chloe Cox | chloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 075393 86980

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    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.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 6th February 2023
    Candidates informed of outcome: Wednesday 15th February 2023
    Interviews: Wednesday 8th March 2023

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