Home / Roles / Principal & Chief Executive Officer | The Henley College

Principal & Chief Executive Officer The Henley College

The Henley College is looking to appoint a committed, courageous and expert leader of sixth form education who can deliver the Governing Body’s vision and ensure an exceptional and inspiring student experience through delivering an ambitious and aspirational curriculum.

  • Location: Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire
  • Salary: £120,000 - £140,000

Who we are

The Henley College is a highly successful sixth form college situated in the heart of Henley-On-Thames. We take pride in our inclusive yet ambitious culture and provide a secure yet well-connected environment, just a short walk from local amenities. Students have the chance to forge new friendships and be recognised as individuals, allowing them to develop independence, resilience, and critical thinking skills that will serve them well not only during their time at The Henley College but also throughout their future careers.

We enable our students to question, to seek, and to grow. It is at the heart of what we do at The Henley College.

Our experienced employees contribute to a warm and nurturing environment, reflected in our low staff turnover and recent influx of talent. Substantial investment in our facilities, including VR Metaverse Headsets, 3D Printers, corporate-style workspaces, and modern classrooms have contributed to a professional atmosphere that greatly benefits our students. This environment also strengthens our connections with a diverse range of employers in the Thames Valley region, ensuring that our students are prepared for a future of further study and employment.

Through the leadership provided by our retiring Principal & Chief Executive Officer, Satwant Deol, we have transformed the quality of our provision (‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features – Ofsted, March 2023), improved our financial health significantly, grown our student population to a thriving community of more than 2,000 learners and invested millions of pounds into transforming our estate. We consider this a new beginning for The Henley College and have exciting plans in plans for continued transformation and development under the direction of our next Principal & Chief Executive Officer.

The Henley College — at the heart of Henley

About the role

Following news of our current Principal & Chief Executive Officer’s retirement in summer 2024, The Henley College is looking to appoint a committed, courageous and expert leader of sixth form education who can deliver the Governing Body’s vision and ensure an exceptional and inspiring student experience through delivering an ambitious and aspirational curriculum.

Shaping the future of The Henley College will be a key priority. As Principal & Chief Executive Officer, you will work in partnership with a motivated, professional and supportive Governing Body and talented senior leadership team. Together, you will fulfil the College’s vision of creating a teaching and learning experience that transforms the lives of all students and delivers an ambitious strategy for growth based on investment in people, quality and educational excellence.

You will lead a team of managers and staff who are passionate about the welfare and success of their students, who strive to deliver the very best experience, are open to new ideas and eager to embrace innovation in every aspect of a truly outstanding sixth form college experience.

As a visible leader, it is expected that you will devote the necessary time to getting to know the students, our staff and our stakeholders. You will be as comfortable presenting to the Governing Body as you are promoting the College to a group of parents/carers or a potential strategic partner.

You will have the opportunity to cultivate a rich teaching and learning environment that leads the way for the sixth form sector, challenging convention and setting new standards in quality and innovation.

Building on a solid foundation, rich in high expectation and high support, you will continue to nurture our culture and reputation to continue attracting the very best staff from across the UK and further afield. We consider the recruitment and retention of talented staff as being a key attributor to establishing Henley as the preferred choice for sixth form students and educators in the Thames Valley and beyond.

As Chief Executive Officer and the principal ambassador of our College you will be looked upon to break new ground in building innovative partnerships with a supportive community of employers and partners, which presently include some of the world’s most respected brand names in technology, media and sport. As a large employer, with roots dating back to the early 17th century, we will look to you to strengthen our position at the heart of a thriving Henley community, known around the world for its regatta, festivals and as a beautiful place to live and work.

Who we are looking for

The culture and commitment of our staff and leaders is palpable, and you will be joining at a very exciting point in our history as the College is ready to launch a new strategic plan that has been developed in partnership with the Governing Body and the senior leadership team.

The plan is an evolution of our previous strategy and builds upon its successes.

Our next Principal & Chief Executive Officer will need to be skilled in the development and delivery of long-term plans, whilst ensuring staff teams understand the importance of their role in achieving long-term ambitions.

Whilst the Governing Body welcomes the professional insight of our next Principal & Chief Executive Officer in continuing to re-evaluate and shape our strategy, we are resolute that the key themes will focus on how we invest in exceptional teaching, the broader student experience and our estate, our approach to driving our brand and reputation to influence post-16 student choice and growing our student numbers whilst ensuring efficiencies in operational management and the deployment of new technologies.

With this in mind, we feel it is essential that our next Principal & Chief Executive Officer bring with them an excellent understanding of what makes a rich and meaningful sixth-form curriculum — and be able to lead and inspire a workforce able to deliver this.

We expect you will be a qualified teacher with significant experience of senior leadership gained within aspirational sixth-form contexts offering a broad, developmental and inclusive curriculum offer.

Passionate with a single-minded commitment to ensuring a high-quality learning experience for students and a welcoming and developmental work environment for staff, you will bring a proven ability to plan and manage change and establish a cross-college culture of excellence to deliver outstanding quality in all aspects of student life.

With a continued commitment to enhancing our estate, ensuring it houses modern, professional, and technologically enhanced learning and workspaces for our staff and students, you will need to ensure we continue to generate surplus budgets to reinvest. You will therefore need to evidence your financial literacy and ensure the role of Accounting Officer is carried out and the financial health of the College continues to be positive.

We look forward to our next Principal & Chief Executive Officer providing continued inspirational leadership through being innovative – in terms of curriculum enhancement and teaching, learning and assessment methodologies, and entrepreneurial – in terms of responding to employer needs and creating meaningful opportunities for students to develop their broader social and work-related skills.

With an unwavering focus on ensuring The Henley College is relentless in its ambitions, our next Principal & Chief Executive Officer will ensure the development of optimum college operations and quality is pushed to all quarters of the organisation.

Peridot Partners and The Henley 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 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:

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

Sarah Atkins-Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

Education recruitment with Drew Richardson-Walsh

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Drew Richardson-Walsh

View profile

Welcome from the Chair of the Governing Body

Dear candidate,

As the proud Chair of The Henley College, I’m delighted to welcome you to our website and to what could be the first step in an exciting journey for you and for our College.

I welcome your interest in leading our College as our next Principal & Chief Executive Officer and encourage you to take time to read through the information we have put together for you here, alongside undertaking your own research into our organisation and the region that we serve.

You’re no doubt aware that the College is located at the heart of one of the country’s most famous and picturesque towns, and has a rich heritage extending back over 400 years.

Today, we’re a vibrant and growing community of around 2,000 students and staff with an energy and excitement that permeates every aspect of a thriving College life.

The College has enjoyed considerable success in recent years, and both governors and staff are ambitious to see this continue and committed to the continued success and welfare of our students.

Our shared vision and passion is to create a learning experience that transforms the lives of each student, equipping them to pursue their goals with courage and confidence. Thanks to our wonderful staff, robust finances, strong links to the community and growing reputation, the College has never been better positioned to fulfill this vision.

Today, we’re searching for a leader who will help shape the next step on the journey of The Henley College. Someone who shares our passion for creating an exceptional sixth form learning experience for our students, for evolving the most effective and progressive teaching and learning strategies and for delivering student outcomes that are among the best in the UK.

Someone able to create an inspiring learning community, that is partnership and employer-enriched, where everyone can thrive.

If you believe that’s you, we’d very much like to hear from you.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Ashton
Chair of the Governing Body

About us

Our history and our location

The Henley College is located in the ancient town of Henley-On-Thames at the meeting of three counties, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

We have been welcoming and inspiring students for more than 400 years, originally as Henley Grammar School, founded in 1604.

It is more than thirty years since King James’ College merged with the South Oxfordshire Technical College, forming The Henley College. These foundations closely reflect the academic and vocational traditions that still remain at the forefront of today’s offering.

This is a vibrant place to study and work, with equality and diversity embedded into our very fabric. Our highly supportive and inclusive learning environments respects and celebrates every member of the college community. We are renowned for our elite sporting programmes and our growing links with blue chip business partners.

The Henley College is a place where young people flourish. We see them grow in confidence as they reach their full potential, whilst we support and prepare them for their future higher educational or professional journeys.

The excellent results our students achieve at college, university and in the world of work and sport, speak for themselves. Our alumni are passionate about their time at Henley. Many retain close links with the College, visiting to share their experiences and knowledge and inspire our current learners.

We are immensely proud of our past and our present and look forward to our future where we will continue to blend academic excellence with a culture of growth, innovation and creativity.

Some notable past students of The Henley College include:


Our values: The heart of Henley

The word ‘heart’ underpins our values and behaviours, as it reflects our approach to all that we do — as well as our position with our communities.

We aim high and turn ambition into reality, with a culture of respect and inclusion.

We show passion and dedication to improving our learners’ experience and outcomes, encouraging innovation, creativity and resilience.

We are united in our vision for the future, working together for growth and transformation, with our students at the heart of all that we strive to achieve.

Our motto

Our motto ‘Come questioning, go seeking, grow’ is at the very heart of what we instil in our staff and students, which permeates every aspect of our educational values.

Our core mission is to empower our students, fostering their independence and confidence, all while promoting a culture of innovation and resilience.

    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.

    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 “The Henley College – Principal and CEO” into the subject field.

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

    Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

    Sarah Atkins-Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

    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 that 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: 9 a.m. Tuesday 2nd April 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Friday 5th April 2024
    First stage interviews: Monday 15th April 2024
    Second stage interviews: Friday 19th April 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and The Henley 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 practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

    Data Processing, Protection and Privacy Policy

    By completing the form to view, or if you have access to this page from an email invitation, Peridot Partners will have processed your personal information. For more information about Peridot Partners’ data processing activities and your rights, please read our Privacy Policy.

    You might also be interested in: