Job description

UCS is seeking to appoint a high-calibre Chief Operating Officer (COO) to provide strong strategic, financial and operational leadership at an important stage in the Foundation’s evolution.

Key member of team

As a key contributor to whole school decision-making, the COO will be an important member of both the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and the Foundation Management Team (FMT). The COO’s overall responsibility will be to support the Headmaster in the implementation of the Foundation’s ambitious vision and strategy.

UCS is one of the leading independent day schools in the UK, educating 1,300 pupils aged 4–18. It was founded by University College London in 1830 to promote the principles of intellectual curiosity, creativity, breadth of study and independence of mind as a basis for academic excellence. The UCS Foundation consists of three schools, the Senior School, Junior Branch and Pre-Prep, all situated within the Hampstead area of London.

The COO will develop and steer the Foundation’s infrastructure and operational strategy while ensuring the effective management and delivery of support services for: finance, commercial activities, estates, including capital projects, health and safety, HR, administration (including GDPR), IT and catering. Key to any future success in this role will be the ability to work collaboratively and in an engaged and constructive manner to guarantee the best possible levels of service to the needs of the three schools and to maintain UCS’s secure and healthy financial position.

The successful candidate will combine experience of managing complex, multi-disciplinary and support functions with excellent interpersonal and relationship-building skills. They will be comfortable operating at the most senior levels within an organisation or business unit. The post-holder will be commercially minded, proactive, comfortable working across multiple sites at some scale, and a first-class communicator. While the COO does not need to be financially qualified, there is much to this role that is about leadership of a finance function, so a strong finance background is likely to be preferable.

It is critical that the post-holder has an evident interest in the idea of working within an educational community and will see value in the direct link that their role has on the educational achievements of the children and young people who attend UCS.

An excellent remuneration package is offered for the post of Chief Operating Officer reflecting the seniority and significance of the position and at the top of the industry norm.

How to apply
Please send all applications to [email protected] and include:
• A completed application form
• A CV and covering letter addressed to the Headmaster, Mr Mark Beard. The letter should explain your reasons for applying and outline your suitability for the role

For an informal discussion please contact [email protected]. To see the candidate pack for the role, please click here.

The closing date is close of business on 2nd December 2022.

Preliminary interviews will take place with Minerva via Microsoft Teams in the weeks commencing 5th and 12th December. Interviews will take place at the school on Thursday 5th January 2023.

Previous independent school experience is not a prerequisite (although some understanding of the sector would be an advantage), and applications are encouraged from candidates with commercial, private sector, charitable and other non-profit sector backgrounds.

UCS is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff and volunteers to share in this commitment. The appointment is subject to the necessary pre-employment checks in line with the relevant statutory guidance, including an enhanced DBS check, satisfactory references, proof of identity and qualifications and medical fitness.

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