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Chair of Governors | York College

York College

An Ofsted 'Outstanding' College, Teaching Excellence Framework Silver rating, outstanding financial health and one of the most successful colleges in the country, York College look to appoint a talented strategic leader to their Board of Governors as Chair.

  • Location: York
  • Salary: Unremunerated

About the role

Delivering a truly outstanding experience for students, York College is recognised as a national leader of further education. In a climate of financial challenge, which is affecting most parts of the FE college sector, York College has remained resilient and thrived. The College’s performance is excellent with a 100% A-Level pass rate and a 95% pass rate for GCSE English and Maths, demonstrating excellent teaching and learning across a full spectrum of curriculum delivery.

As Chair of Governors at York College, you will need to work collaboratively with an expert Board of Governors, the Director of Governance and an experienced further education CEO & Principal, Lee Probert, who has been in post since June 2019. Part of your initial work is likely to be focused on understanding the College, its ambitions and strategic opportunities. The Board are currently working with the CEO & Principal to define a new, long-term strategy and so your role will be to critical in ensuring the College embeds the new plan across the organisation and the Board play an active role it its continuous review.

Who we're looking for

With a naturally strategic mind, experience of operating at a very senior level within a large and complex business environment, and a passion and commitment to lifelong learning, the next Chair of Governors will lead an expert team of non-executive board members.

Whilst recognising your experience might not have been gained in the further education sector, it is desirable that you understand the role of further education and its impact on economic and skills improvement. York College provides life changing opportunities to people of all ages; it’s vital the Chair of Governors recognises this and is willing and able to champion the work of the College in the role of ambassador.

Your style should be inclusive and collaborative, to enable and foster discussion and debate around the Board. With experience of operating at board-level, you’ll recognise the difference between executive and non-executive decision making and lead the appraisal of plans put forward by the CEO & Principal and his team with the required level of challenge and respect.

With the FE sector expected to continue to change and adapt in response to Government policy, the Chair of Governors will need to be decisive; recognising when to act independently and when to draw on the expertise around the Board of Governors.

If you can commit yourself fully to the mission of York College, and feel you have the desirable skills and experience to lead its Board of Governors, we hope to hear from you.

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

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

Closing date: 12pm, Monday 10th February 2020

Education recruitment with Drew Richardson-Walsh

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

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Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in York College.

York College is an Ofsted “Outstanding” Further Education College with over 7,000 students and more than 700 staff. Over the last few years, the Governors, Leaders and Staff have worked hard to maintain the high standards the College sets itself while at the same time developing a strong platform for future development.

This platform includes financial sustainability (our financial health is rated as “outstanding” by the government), being approved as a pilot provider for the introduction of “T” Levels and approved as the lead partner in the formation of an “Institute of Technology” in partnership with a number of other educational institutions and employers across the region. An award which has facilitated a multi-million pound investment in new facilities.

In December 2020, my eight-year term as a governor comes to an end and I will step down as both governor and Chair. As a result, the Governing Body is seeking to appoint a Chair Designate who will take over as Chair when my term comes to an end. I won’t play a part in the appointment process, but I am very keen that our panel of governors, helped by our recruitment partner Peridot, finds a strong shortlist of candidates, and is then able to recommend for appointment someone with the skills, commitment and vision to lead the Board through what promises to be an exciting period.

On appointment a new Chair will lead the Board in implementing a new strategic plan and embedding a restated set of College values: Success, Ambition, Respect and Care.

In the published role description and person specification we’ve tried to articulate clearly the personal characteristics, experience and skills that the Chair ideally needs to lead the governing body.

The role is challenging and I have found it to be fulfilling. In line with sector practice, this is an unpaid role and the successful role holder will be rewarded by:

  • joining in celebrations of staff and students’ successes; where the very best academic and vocational skills are acknowledged;
  • leading a highly qualified Board of experienced, motivated, supportive and engaged people, who apply their knowledge and skills to stretch and challenge the College’s leadership team;
  • working with a great team of interesting, capable and committed senior staff;
  • shaping the future strategic direction of the College.

Colleges are community institutions touching the lives of millions of people across the country. In joining York College as Chair, you’ll join a network of just over 230 College Chairs where you will be playing a central role in a College where everyone matters and a successful future begins. Where staff are delivering our mission to provide a life enhancing educational experience, through inspirational teaching, working in partnership and helping individuals to be the best they can.

If you think you fit the role description, I urge you to submit an expression of interest. If you want to talk to me informally and confidentially about the role, I can be contacted through Sarah McKenzie, Director of Governance, at: smckenzie@yorkcollege.ac.uk.

Shirley Collier
Chair of Governors, York College

York College is synonymous with excellence in education and training. Ranked as Yorkshire’s highest performing Further Education College and rated as one of the most successful colleges in the country, we offer a broad range of programmes for 16-19 year olds, alongside a high performing Higher Education offer and numerous opportunities for adults and apprentices. We work in partnership with employers and community partners to create opportunities, change lives and positively impact economic success in our area.

Get a taste of York College

Our comprehensive offer, inspirational teaching and first-class learning environment ensure that we achieve our mission of providing a life enhancing educational experience. York College is well known for its unwavering commitment to high quality and our ability to deliver results, yet above all we are a values-driven organisation which effectively develops and motivates a committed, talented workforce.

Attached are some key information documents which will give you some important background to the College, our priorities and performance.

The College’s current strategic plan is attached, and is currently the subject of review, where our focus will be:

  • Quality and excellence
  • The student experience
  • Our people
  • Partnerships
  • Investments and development
  • Financial 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 Role Description & Person Specification and fill out the Equality Monitoring Form

If you would like to have an informal conversation about the role you can contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

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

To apply, 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 “Chair, York College” 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, Monday 10th February 2020
Candidates informed of outcome: by 5pm, Monday 17th February 2020
Preliminary interviews: Thursday 27th February 2020
Final interviews:Wednesday 4th March 2020

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

Peridot and York 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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