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The Grange School

The Grange School has been one of the greatest national 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 repeatedly increased the number of places available at Year 7 to accommodate the numbers and quality of pupils applying. Similarly, their 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 1,205 pupils with 425 in the Junior School (4-11 years) and 780 in the Senior School including 156 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.

Chief Operating Officer

In December 2022, The Grange School retained Sherrington Associates to recruit a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the school. The COO would be charged with supporting the Head by aligning the School’s support functions with its educational priorities, so that the school could live up to their promise of providing the very best in modern, independent education, across both Junior and Senior Schools.

Providing confident and directional leadership across all support functions including Finance, HR, IT, Compliance, Health & Safety and Estates, the COO would need to come from a broad strategic leadership background, demonstrating their experience of developing culture and conceptualising and delivering innovative growth plans.

Sherrington's team worked closely with the Head and Chair of Governors to develop a brief that was both open and inclusive, whilst clearly defining the key criteria of the role of COO. We developed a compelling Recruitment Pack to engage the interest of leadership candidates from both education and private sector backgrounds.

Critical to the success of the search was achieving an accurate culture fit between the new COO, the Head, the staff and the students. As such Sherrington invested time to talk to various stakeholder groups in order to build a rounded understanding of the organisational culture before commencing the search.

The Search

Over a period of several weeks, Sherrington's team of researchers mapped the regional talent pool for senior operational leaders across both the education sector and adjacent and relevant spaces in the private sector. Sherrington advertised the position on social channels and our own website for maximum exposure.

After an exhaustive research phase, Sherrington conducted biographical and competency based interviews at our offices. Candidates were also asked to complete a Personal Values Assessment, the results of which were explored in great detail in order to achieve an accurate understanding of the potential for an optimal culture fit.

Having interviewed a longlist of ten candidates, the team met with clients from The Grange again and selected an impressive shortlist of six experienced leadership candidates. Our consultants then arranged in-person interviews with the client. Facilitating feedback from all parties, the team then supported the client with the selection process, advising and supporting the selected candidate during their resignation process.

The Result

After an expansive executive search process, a successful appointment was achieved in February 2023. Stephen Gauller, formerly Chief Operating Officer at The Frank Field Educational Trust joined The Grange in April 2023.

Stephen Joe Shaking Hands

I was successfully recruited to my current role via Joe who handled the process professionally and sensitively. I would highly recommend Joe and Sherrington Associates for your next senior-level / executive recruitment.

Stephen Gauller, Chief Operating Officer - The Grange School

I was thrilled to recruit this important post for The Grange and wish Stephen every success in his new role.

Joe Onions, Executive Search Resourcer - Sherrington Associates

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