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Head of Student Services University of Derby

The University of Derby is seeking an experienced service delivery professional and leader of multi-skilled support teams to be our next Head of Student Services. You will oversee a transformational journey that will ensure a high quality, inclusive and accessible support service for our 29,000 Further and Higher Education students across three campuses in Derby, Buxton and Leek.

  • Location: Derby, Derbyshire, East Midlands
  • Salary: c. £55,000-65,000 (dependent on experience)

About the Role

Located in the heart of England in a city surrounded by thriving industries and in a region of outstanding natural beauty, the University of Derby is an anchor institution and modern university that offers a diverse curriculum of academic, research and skills training to over 29,000 students every year across campuses in Derby, Buxton and Leek. Alongside the excellent academic provision and access to qualifications from Level 3 to degree and postgraduate, the University provides a full complement of support services that aids new and returning Further and Higher Education students to engage fully with their studies and make the most of their wider student experience. Whilst very proud of the specialist disabilities and mental health support that we provide to our cohorts with particular needs, we are also focused on transforming our approach to ensure that all students have equal access to a wide range of support functions and that our Student Support Services has a positive impact on student success and increasing outcomes across all cohorts.

University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

With our College Support Centres as the first port of call for advice and guidance on a range of issues, our students have access to both in person support and online resources to help them navigate university life. As well as offering general support and signposting to relevant services and resources both on campus and off, students are guided to access specialist support when necessary. The University has teams of specialist advisors who can provide support to students with finance and funding enquiries, understanding how to access disabilities support, general and specialist mental health and wellbeing support and referral, as well as a host of study skills support.

The Student Services team welcomes students with general and specialist support needs, working collaboratively with academic and central services teams to provide high quality support wherever it is needed.

The Head of Student Services will report directly to the Academic Registrar and is responsible for the strategic leadership and management of a range of functions and teams within Student Services that operate at college level as well as via the centralised specialist teams. With an inclusive approach towards student services and wellbeing, the postholder must ensure all students have equal access to a wide range of support teams and resources.

Working collaboratively with key stakeholders and utilising quantitative and qualitative data to understand the student journey at Derby, your objective is to embed an inclusive approach towards student support and wellbeing within curriculum areas and ensure students can access relevant and timely support for a range of issues that may impact upon their student experience, progression and success.

You will be responsible for constant monitoring and review of the service and its impact against key performance indictors related to the University’s strategic aims. Continuously improving the services delivered through rigorous management information analysis, engagement with key stakeholders within the university and externally, and a programme of staff development will be essential. You will work closely with the Provost – Teaching and Learning to embed a Learning and Wellbeing Strategy into curriculum areas.

The Head of Student Services is the University’s Lead Safeguarding Officer and will lead on cases related to at risk or vulnerable students, providing expert advice on safeguarding policies and procedures and liaising with external agencies as necessary.

You will lead on initiatives and activities that will promote the services on offer to students across the university, including peer support projects.

Who we are looking for

We are seeking a proven leader, ideally with managerial knowledge of an area of Higher Education student support and the delivery of successful front-facing services, as the next Head of Student Services.

You will be required to utilise strong leadership skills and professional expertise to build on the strong foundations and reputation of Student Services at the University of Derby to lead a transformational journey towards a more inclusive service that engages with the wider student body, as well as offering longer-term solutions for those requiring specialist support or engagement with multiple services.

Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to the basic principle that all students should benefit from access to high-quality student support and an understanding of how this translates to improvements in student experience, success and graduate outcomes.

The ideal candidate will bring managerial experience and expertise in at least one function or area of student support (e.g. finance, disabilities, or wellbeing) and demonstrate a strong ability to manage a large, multi-skilled team of professionals across a range of functions and locations through a period of change and improvement.

University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

Collaborative, with a broad and inclusive approach towards supporting student wellbeing across the institution, the postholder should have the ability to oversee and manage complex student cases, demonstrate knowledge and application of student service-related policies and regulations to inform high standards of service and compliance, and with experience of Safeguarding in education or a related sector.

With a student-centred approach, you must demonstrate a strong awareness of the challenges and potential barriers affecting a diverse range of students studying at a modern university with a strong widening participation agenda. You should be able to demonstrate a successful approach towards engaging a wide range of stakeholders to continuously improve services and manage budgets effectively to utilise resources in line with strategic targets.

Closing date: Monday 29th November 2021

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

Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528 307

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


If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dr Sophie Carney

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Hannah Robinson, Academic Registrar

Dear Candidates,

I am delighted that you are considering applying for this role at the University of Derby.

At Derby we have worked to build a powerful regional university that offers exciting opportunities for our students and stakeholders working in partnership with the city and beyond.  We are an institution which is embarking on an ambitious period of growth in research and applied learning working with key partners to enable the future success of our students and the University.

Our 2018-2030 Strategic Framework, launched in June 2018, signalled a new chapter for our University, providing staff and stakeholders with clarity over our direction of travel and raising the bar in terms of our institutional ambitions. Embedding high performance in everything we do has seen a step change in the way we operate, one that is generating strong results and outcomes despite the challenges we have faced during the pandemic.

2025 is a key milestone in the lifecycle of the Strategic Framework, so to assure delivery of our strategic plans and ambitions, we have recently made some changes to the University’s Senior Leadership Groups. These now comprise a new University Executive Board (UEB), Vice-Chancellor’s Executive (VCE) and Delivery and Operations Leadership Group (DOL). In addition, these changes are designed in response to the external environment, the need continuously to reflect and improve on performance, and our commitment to ensuring high standards of integrity, transparency and governance.

So, our Head of Student Services will be joining us at a time of real momentum and positive change, where we look to enhance the student experience, develop a sector-leading, dynamic and responsive student service and promote and embed an inclusive learning environment for all students. As a member of the Registry Leadership Team you are responsible for the leadership, organisation and management of Student Services and for making a significant contribution to the provision of an outstanding student experience in direct support of Derby’s strategic and operational priorities. You will play a key role in ensuring the continual improvement of the Student Services, offering an holistic portfolio of effective services to provide support, maximise student engagement and assure an excellent student experience across the University. You will work collaboratively with academic and professional services units to ensure Student Services provides sustainable support to students throughout their journey with us.

Furthermore, the civic role we play, and the importance of the University as an anchor institution, remains stronger than ever, with our commitment to working in partnership to improve the health, education and wellbeing of our city and county being reaffirmed through the development of a Civic University Agreement.

Thank you for your interest and time.



The University of Derby is a modern, innovative education provider that achieved its University status in 1992. Teaching at the Derby site actually dates back to 1851, when it was a Diocesan Institution for training teachers, so we have over 160 years of expertise in education. We have since become a University of first choice for students who want a supportive, aspirational environment where they can equip themselves for the career they choose. Our significant investment in world class facilities is building on our reputation for student-focused real-world learning in an increasingly competitive sector. Located in the heart of England, we build on our region’s heritage of innovation to provide industry-relevant, expert teaching at all levels.

Our combined higher and further education offering is spread over campuses in Derby, Buxton, Leek and Chesterfield and we have some of the best university facilities in the UK.

During the last ten years we have invested over £200 million in facilities designed to give students the very best possible learning environment. We have more investment planned and continue to develop teaching to be innovative, stimulating and engaging.

University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

Recent investments include:

  • £12 million STEM Centre including facilities for mechanical testing, robotics and an anechoic chamber
  • State-of-the-art £10.8 million Sports Centre
  • Immersive Interactive Simulation Suite, the only one of its kind in a University outside London
  • Forensic Training Facility with a dedicated crime scene house
  • Fashion industry facility at Chandos Pole Street
  • Industry-standard Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab
University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

We achieve outstanding results for our teaching and research and with more than 34,000 people choosing to study with us every year, we depend on the dedication of a team of 2,200 academic and professional services staff.

Financially strong and seriously ambitious we offer our employees a family-friendly, rewarding career with lots of opportunities to progress.

We want everyone to receive the high-quality education they deserve, regardless of age, background or location. We were named University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020 and Higher Education Institution of the Year at the 2020 NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) Awards. And we have won the Guardian University Award 2020 for Social and Community Impact.

Challenging, interesting and constantly changing, the University of Derby is an exceptional place to learn and an incredibly rewarding place to work.

Organisational documents:

The University of Derby knows that not all disabilities are visible. If you have a hidden disability, we recognise the Sunflower scheme. People may wear a sunflower badge to let others know that they have a hidden disability and may need additional support, time, or adjustments.

For more information and access to our accessibility maps click here.

We offer the following amenities:

  • Our buildings and facilities have step-free access
  • We have meeting rooms that support hearing loops
  • Accessibility dogs are always welcome on our premises
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats if needed
  • We would be happy to source a sign language interpreter if required
  • We provide a flexible working environment, including locations

The University recognises its obligation to make reasonable adjustments for staff, to enable a person with a disabling condition to work Equality Act (2010).  All reasonable adjustments are individual, but generic examples include on-site blue badge parking, DSE equipment.

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 fulfill your needs.

    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 Job Description and Person Specification and complete this Equality Monitoring Survey.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (maximum 2 sides of A4) 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 “Head of Student Services – University of Derby” into the subject field.

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

    Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528 307

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

    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.

    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.


    Closing date: Monday 29th November 2021

    Candidates informed of outcome: Tuesday 7th December 2021

    Interviews: Thursday 16th December 2021

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring  

    Peridot and The University of Derby 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. https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/153QVK/

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