New Search: Chief Operating Officer - The Grange School

Posted on 11th November 2022 | Vacancies

Sherrington Associates is delighted to have selected as the retained search partner for leading independent school The Grange in Hartford, Cheshire to appoint a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) to the senior leadership team.

The Grange School

The Grange School has been one of the greatest success stories in independent education over the past thirty years. Although young compared to other HMC schools, it is a flourishing and aspirational school with a strong ethos and values. At a time when other schools in the North West are struggling to fill places, The Grange has again this year increased the number of places available at Year 7 to accommodate the numbers and quality of pupils applying. Similarly, the Junior School has waiting lists in most year groups.

The school was founded in 1933 as a Kindergarten and Preparatory School. In 1977, the Governors took the major decision to develop secondary education and since 1978 the school has grown steadily and gained an outstanding national reputation. The Grange has a total enrolment of 1172 pupils with 448 in the Junior School (4-11 years) and 724 in the Senior School including 200 in a thriving Sixth Form. It is consistently the best performing school in Cheshire and among the very best co-educational day schools in the country.

More importantly, The Grange is a very happy school, which takes pride in its friendly, supportive environment and the excellent relationship between staff and students. Expectations of teachers and pupils are high, but this both stimulates achievement and provides an enormously rewarding place to work.

Retaining the very best of what parents would expect from a more traditional school, The Grange adopts a modern, flexible and purposeful approach to independent education. The school prides itself on preparing their young people to flourish and to find fulfillment when they leave school by developing in them a desire to change the world for the better. The school does this by helping them to identify and develop their unique combination of strengths, talents and passions.

Academic results at The Grange speak for themselves and they recently appeared in the top 50 of The Times league table for best A Level results. Despite the lower number of top grades at A Level nationally last summer, well over half of the Sixth Form students achieved 3 A grades or better, delivering another record year for the School and allowing the majority of students to take up places at their first choice university.

The school was last inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in January 2011, when it received the highest available rating in every category.

Core Values

The Grange School takes a community-centred approach which is embraced by all who work and learn there. The school's core values are:

• Caring being kind and sensitive to the needs of all

• Respectful embracing difference and valuing all others and yourself

• Empathetic understanding the feelings of others

• Forgiving moving on and giving everyone a second chance

• Truthful demonstrating honesty and integrity in all that we do

• Wholehearted showing commitment to all areas of school life

• Ambitious aspiring to be the best version of ourselves possible

• Adventurous seizing opportunities and embracing challenge

• Resilient having the ability to recover quickly from setbacks

• Curious eager to learn and discover new things

• Innovative always questioning and introducing new ideas

The Opportunity

The Grange School is seeking an outstanding individual to be the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) at one of the country’s most successful co-educational day schools, which remains exceptional value in the independent schools market. The COO will also act as Clerk to the Governors and Company Secretary. We are looking for someone who can support the Head and SLT to continue to deliver the highest quality educational outcomes for young people from ages 4 to 18, as well as meet the expectations of their parents.

A problem solver who can provide clear leadership and strategic direction to our support teams, the COO will take up post in April 2022 (or sooner if possible). We are looking for a motivated and emotionally intelligent team player, with the ability to think and work quickly in a demanding professional environment. Above all, the COO will have the exceptional strengths in stakeholder engagement and will enjoy building close working relations with a wide group of people. He or she will possess a genuine interest in others – regardless of their role and background – and recognise the experiences that people bring to any discussion. It is important to understand and value the importance of process, yet recognise the need for harmony between people and procedures, taking a pragmatic, solution-focused and people-centred approach.

This is a fantastic opportunity for an experienced Bursar or an individual from a relevant professional services or public service background, accustomed to having accountability for all aspects of Operations and Finance and leading a diverse team of support staff. As part of the Executive Leadership Team, the COO will assist the Head with both developing and implementing the strategic plan, ensuring that all aspects of the School’s operations are aligned with agreed business objectives. This is a key role in consolidating the school's reputation as one of the leading schools in the North West of England.

The Role - Chief Operating Officer

Providing Confident & Directional Leadership

The COO will support the Head by aligning the School’s support functions with its educational priorities, so the school can live up to their promise of providing the very best in modern, independent education, across both Junior and Senior Schools.

· Promote an organisational culture which brings alive the ethos and values of The Grange School, enabling the School’s support teams to work proactively alongside educational specialists in pursuit of the School’s purpose

· Support the Head in creating and implementing a strategic business plan which clearly articulates objectives and the role each team plays in their successful delivery

· Think creatively and advise the Head on how to deliver the school’s strategic objectives while retaining its unique attributes and sustaining its commercial and financial viability

· Provide strategic direction to the School’s finances. Ensure that all areas of financial management and control are maintained to the highest standard. Report, present to and advise the Head, Executive Leadership Team and Governors on the School’s financial performance and any actions required in relation to achieving agreed key performance indicators

· Provide strategic direction to the development plan for Estates and Facilities and act as executive sponsor for major capital projects

· As Clerk to the Governors, communicate regularly with the Chair of Governors in all matters relating to governance, including meeting arrangements, management of appointments and the induction process

Leading Colleagues

The Grange has flourished because staff give generously and willingly of their time and energy to the delivery of the highest standards in educational provision. The COO will encourage staff in this spirit and be a positive role model for all colleagues.

· Take line management responsibility for all support staff including the Finance Bursary team, HR & Compliance, Estates & Facilities and ICT. Each of these functional areas is headed up by a specialist who reports directly to the COO.

· Understand the importance of individual and team development in encouraging and enabling all staff to make a full contribution to the success of the school and fulfil their own potential

· Deploy strategies for managing performance and change across the School’s support functions

· Take a collaborative and trusting approach to leadership

· Facilitate listening and open and honest discussion, while insisting on mutual respect and actively managing conflict when it arises

· Take a genuine interest in the personal well-being of every member of staff

Managing Strategic Projects

The Grange staff and leadership team constantly seeks ways to enhance the educational experience for each individual child. The COO will contribute to this evolution by overseeing the most important projects in the strategic plan.

· Take accountability for key projects as part of the execution of the business plan and lead cross-functional teams to ensure that all stakeholders are identified and given the opportunity to contribute

· Ensure that an effective and appropriate project planning process is developed and adhered to across academic and non-academic areas of the School

· Act as executive sponsor for all new building projects, ensuring that planning permission, tenders, liaison with contractors and project management are handled appropriately

· Ensure on-time, on-budget delivery of key capital and educational projects

· Chair an ICT Steering Group to devise, develop, communicate and implement the School’s ICT Strategy across both Junior and Senior Schools

· Provide organisational support for fundraising, endowments and special appeals

Effectively Managing Compliance

The Head and Governors place great emphasis on ensuring that appropriate policies and procedures are in place to meet the School’s compliance requirements. The COO is accountable for making sure the highest standards are adhered to.

· Ensure that all legislation applicable to independent schools is understood and that the School maintains appropriate policies and monitoring procedures

· Ensure compliance with all relevant aspects of employment law and act as the School’s adviser on employment matters

· Act as the point of contact for the School’s relationship with its legal advisers

· Formulate, monitor and implement the School’s policy to comply with all requirements of Health & Safety legislation

· Ensure that the School has adequate insurance over at all times

· Identify, manage and minimise risk to the School and ensure policies and procedures are in place for critical incidents and disaster recovery

· Take appropriate security measures within the School, for facilities, staff and pupils

· Act as Company Secretary for the legal administration of the School

Managing Estates and Facilities

The School environment contributes significantly to the quality of education that The Grange is able to provide. The COO will be responsible for the continuing maintenance and improvement of this environment, for the benefit of all staff and pupils.

· Make the School attractive to prospective parents, staff and pupils, ensuring that buildings, grounds and other facilities are fit for purpose, safe and well-maintained as a fundamental requirement of a high-quality, modern education

· Ensure the maintenance and management of all areas of the School grounds

· Ensure that car parking arrangements function well for staff, parents and Sixth Formers

· Provide effective catering and cleaning services

· Ensure appropriate provision of School bus routes and their delivery within acceptable financial parameters

· Manage procurement of utilities and other installations to ensure cost-effectiveness and efficiency

· Ensure that necessary fire risk management is in place

· Take responsibility for the letting of School facilities to outside organisations

· Build relationships with other stakeholders in the community and facilitate communication, ensuring School behaves considerately towards its neighbours

Application Process

To apply for this exciting leadership opportunity at The Grange School, please email your CV and Cover Letter to the retained consultant, or call to discuss in confidence:

Joe Onions - Executive Search Resourcer


T: 01244 310 145

(Closing Date - Tuesday 20th December)

Lorraine Pic