Appointment of the Clerk to the Governors

Welcome

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for considering the role of Clerk to the Governors at Chigwell School.  This is an exciting opportunity in a prestigious and forward-looking school, where the right candidate can have a tangible impact.

Chigwell School was founded in 1629 by Samuel Harsnett for the purpose of the education of poor scholars.  Over the years that followed, the success of the School and its pupils has been due in no small part to the support of the community and in turn we aim to prepare young people to go out into the world and make a real contribution.

We currently have some two hundred teachers and support staff and there is a friendly, mutually supportive atmosphere.  We place considerable emphasis on life outside the classroom and believe that the opportunities we provide help to fulfil our School Vision: To inspire our pupils to fulfil their potential and forge their path to success.

The Clerk to the Governors will be responsible for supporting the Board of Governors across all matters relating compliance, legislation and regulation.  The Clerk will be key to the smooth governance of the School and will work closely with the Chair, the Board, the Head and Bursar as well as the Senior Management Team.  We are looking for an extremely organised, effective and flexible individual who understands the importance of strong governance and that the Clerk plays a pivotal role.

If you feel you have the skills and experience for this important position at Chigwell School, then we warmly invite your application.  Our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley would be delighted to discuss the role with you should you have any initial questions.  Their details can also be found on this site.

Michael Punt
Headmaster

About us

Founded in 1629 by Samuel Harsnett, the son of a Colchester baker who went on to become Archbishop of York, Chigwell School stands on its original site with the original school building still in use.  However, whilst Chigwell of today is conscious of its long-standing history, it is a forward-looking, ambitious, coeducational independent school of 1045 pupils aged four to eighteen. It enjoys excellent facilities, a dedicated staff, bright and hardworking pupils, and a site of 100 acres.

Chigwell School is located in the picturesque village of Chigwell just over ten miles from central London and on the Central Line. The extensive, beautiful grounds are close to the edge of Epping Forest and it is rare for a school to have so much space and yet be so close to the centre of the Capital.  Most pupils are day pupils but in the Sixth Form, there is a small community of international boarders, roughly thirty from sixteen countries, and these live in four small boarding houses.

As well as being an academic school, Chigwell has the reputation for providing a rich and full education, with plenty of opportunities for all pupils who are enthusiastic, co-operative and able. Chigwell is a caring and friendly school, with a close sense of community, not least between colleagues.  As the Good Schools Guide reports: Academically, pupils are put through their paces, but it all seems to be done in such a civilised and pleasant manner that you are more likely to hear pupils talk about opportunities and prospects than pressure and stress.  “Anyone who wants to do well here, will do well” said one student, “and I can’t think of a nicer place to succeed.”

The School Values are:

Happiness First
We create a nurturing space where happiness underpins our achievements and drives us forward.

Courageous and Resilient
We seize opportunities all around us and have the confidence to embrace them wholeheartedly.

Innovative Approach
We adapt and evolve, influencing our changing world.

Community of Kindness
We support and collaborate with each other, making a positive contribution to the community.

Lifelong Learning
We cultivate curiosity, keeping the passion for learning alive beyond the school gates.

For more information, please visit: Chigwell School | Home (chigwell-school.org)

Background

Chigwell School seeks to appoint a new Clerk to the Governors who will play a critical role in facilitating the work of the Chair and Board of Governors by providing support across a wide range of governance and administrative areas.

It is a pivotal moment at which to join the School in this context, as it is about to embark upon a significant period of strategic development.  There are plans for an ambitious expansion in the provision of transformational bursaries as well as a number of major capital projects in the pipeline.  The School will also be celebrating its quad-centenary in 2029.  This is therefore a genuinely exciting opportunity to support the Governors through a busy and rewarding period in the School’s history.

The Clerk will be accountable to the Board of Governors as a whole, working effectively with the Chair and with the Headmaster, Bursar and other Governors. It is a unique and discrete role within the School’s structure, responsible for advising the Board on all constitutional, procedural and ethical matters whilst working within the current legislative framework.  The postholder will be expected to give impartial advice, to observe confidentiality and to act in the best interests of the School at all times.

The Clerk will be responsible for ensuring that meetings of the Board of Governors, its committees and sub-committees run efficiently and effectively, are properly recorded and that members receive appropriate support to fulfil their legal duties.  The postholder will also oversee the process for the appointment and induction of new Governors, including assessing their specific training needs.  Part of role of the Clerk is to assist the Governors in ensuring the policies of the School are upheld, particularly in the area of safeguarding, for which specific training will be given.

This is a part-time role which amounts to roughly 40% of the full time equivalent.  There are typically up to ten meetings per term, including one or two Saturdays and four to five evenings, some of which will be held remotely.  The job is not evenly paced and there will be some weeks that are busier than others.  Flexibility is therefore important.

The Clerk to the Governors will have experience of operating at a senior level and be able to respond both proactively and reactively to a diverse range of different requirements.  The role will suit an individual who combines the aptitude and gravitas to provide a high standard of bespoke professional support to a wide range of internal stakeholders.

The successful candidate must have a keen attention to detail and be willing to attend regular training as needed.  You will be comfortable working at pace and will possess a strong work ethic, sound intellect and exceptional communication skills.  You will also be an excellent communicator, with a professional approach and the ability to deal with complex matters, both face-to-face and in writing.  A positive attitude and calm manner with the ability to prioritise and deal with a demanding workload is vital.

It is important to the Board that their Clerk understands the multi-faceted nature of independent schools and is motivated to ensure that the School remains relevant, inclusive and true to its values.

The role

Clerk to the Governors

Job reference:
AQ1235

Reports to
The Clerk to the Governors is responsible to the Board as a whole and should be accountable to the Board through the Chair on all matters relating to their core duties as an officer of the School.  If, in addition to the core duties mentioned, the Clerk to the Governors has other executive or administrative duties, s/he should, as regards those duties, report to the Headmaster or such other member of the Senior Management Team to whom responsibility for that matter has been delegated by the Board.

Governors
There are currently fifteen Governors with a wide-ranging skillset.  Further information can be found here: Chigwell School | Staff and Governors (chigwell-school.org)

Meetings
The Board as a whole meets once a term and there are separate meetings of each sub-committee at least once a term (Trust, Remuneration, Risk and Compliance, Finance and Property and Education).  In addition, there is an Urgency & Nominations Committee which meets when required, and the Board of the wholly owned subsidiary, Chigwell Mitre Enterprises, meets termly too.  Recently, there has also been a very useful annual Governors’ Strategy Day.

Core purpose
The purpose of the Clerk to the Governors role is to provide advice to the governing body on governance, constitutional and procedural matters; to provide effective administrative support to the Board of Governors and its committees; to ensure the Board of Governors is properly constituted; and to manage information effectively in accordance with legal requirements.

Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Be the routine point of contact with the Charity Commission and Companies House and ensure that all statutory returns for the Charity and for Chigwell Mitre Enterprises Ltd are completed and filed on time. Maintain statutory books and other registers.  Advise the Governing Body on changes to its constitution.
  • Attend and provide feedback from seminars and training relevant to Governance and safeguarding.
  • Conduct an annual survey amongst Governors: draft and maintain the code of conduct and Guidelines for Governors.
  • Understand the School’s key policies (especially as relates to safeguarding) and assist Governors in the oversight, especially at an annual visitation day (which the Clerk will plan with the Headmaster and Chair).
  • Provide advice to those chairing meetings of the Governing Body and its Committees on charitable and company law, the constitutions and rules of the charitable company, the governing documents of the Chigwell School Trust and the Prize Fund, code(s) of governance, recommended practice and procedures. Provide advice to the person chairing meetings of Chigwell Mitre Enterprises Ltd on company law and recommended practice.
  • Act as Secretary for all meetings of the Governing Body, its committees and Chigwell Mitre Enterprises Ltd. Prior to such meetings, liaise with the Chair and Headmaster to agree the agenda for and the procedure and attendance of advisers at meetings.   Ensure that Governors, other members of Committees and others present are given an explicit opportunity to declare interests.  Arrange for the risks attributed to each of the Committees and the Governing Body to be reviewed at each meeting.  Arrange for the policies attributed to each of the Committees and the Governing Body to be reviewed at agreed intervals.
  • Draft the minutes of each meeting of the Governing Body, its Committees and Chigwell Mitre Enterprises Ltd. Circulate draft minutes to the chairs of the meetings prior to publication.  Arrange, where necessary and in consultation with the appropriate chair, written resolutions of the Governing Body and its Committees.
  • With the Chair of the Governing Body and the Headmaster monitor progress of actions agreed by the Committees and Board.
  • Liaise with the Chair of the Urgency and Nominations Committee and administer the process for identifying, interviewing and appointing governors.
  • Advise the Chair and the Governing Body on the Committee structure and the terms of reference and membership of Committees. Arrange from time to time in consultation with the Chair of the Finance and Property Committee the process for selecting the external auditor so that recommendations can be made to the Governing Body.
  • Administer the induction process for new Governors in accordance with the principles outlined in Guidelines for Governors.
  • Maintain the Governors’ Portal so that it contains the information Governors are likely to wish to access at any time to perform their roles. Maintain the Governors’ section of the school website.  Assist Governors with access issues and liaise with IT as necessary.
  • Ensure that each committee regularly reviews and updates its Terms of Reference.
  • Maintain a ‘skills register’ for Governors and non-Governor Committee members. Circulate to all governors a list of external training opportunities.
  • Provide an administrative service for the Governing Body to include the convening and, if necessary, rearrangement of meetings, preparation of agendas and papers, documents relating to the Governing Body e.g. biographies, committee list, contact list; correspondence with and advice to governors. Provide documents held by the Clerk for the purposes of external audit and inspection.
  • Establish and service Governors’ Appeal Panels for hearings associated with disciplinary matters, grievances and parental complaints. Liaise with all relevant parties as necessary.
  • Assist the Chair and Headmaster and Bursar in updating the risk register.
  • Liaise with advisers (including lawyers) as required by the Governors on matters relevant to the Governance or liability.
  • Undertake any other duties as may reasonably be requested by the Chair or Headmaster.

Employees must be aware of the responsibility placed on them under the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) to ensure that agreed safety procedures are carried out to maintain a safe environment for employees, pupils and visitors.

This job description is not exhaustive and will be subject to periodic review. It may be amended to meet the changing needs of the School.

 

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Essential – E
Desirable – D

Experience & knowledge

  • Professional business or administration/secretarial qualifications and/or equivalent experience (E)
  • Significant experience of operating at a senior level within an organisation (E)
  • Sound experience in writing agendas, minuting meetings and note taking (E)
  • Experience of, or a commitment to, relevant training for the role (E)
  • Knowledge of school governing board procedures (D)
  • Knowledge of educational legislation, guidance and legal requirements (D)
  • Understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the governing board (D)
  • Knowledge of safeguarding children (D)
  • Knowledge of data protection legislation (D)

Personal attitudes

  • Be a person of integrity (E)
  • Be able to maintain confidentiality (E)
  • Be able to remain impartial (E)
  • Have a flexible approach to working hours (E)
  • Be understanding to the needs of others (E)
  • Have a positive attitude to personal development and training (E)
  • Be able to confidently address groups of people and individuals (E)
  • Have excellent interpersonal skills (E)
  • Have an eye for written detail (E)
  • Ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines (E)
  • Be confident in dealing with people in contentious, complex and sensitive circumstances (E)
  • Genuine interest in the independent education sector (E)

Skills

  • Excellent listening, oral, grammar, numeracy and literacy skills (E)
  • Excellent record keeping, information retrieval, research and dissemination of data/documentation skills (E)
  • A high level of computer literacy, including the Microsoft Suite (Excel, PowerPoint, MS Teams, Word etc.), use of email and the internet (E)
  • Confident and articulate speaking skills, especially in front of groups (E)
  • Skills in developing and maintaining professional working relationships with a wide range of internal and external contacts (E)
  • Excellent time management, planning, organisational and administrative skills (E)
  • The ability to work at pace and meet deadlines (E)

Terms of appointment

Renumeration
£25,000 per annum (FTE £62,500)

Location
Chigwell School, High Road, Chigwell, Essex IG7 6QF.

Hours of work
This is a part-time role which amounts to roughly 40% of full time equivalent.  There are typically up to ten meetings per term, including one or two Saturdays and four to five evenings (some of the evening meetings will be held remotely).  The job is not evenly paced and there will be some weeks that are busier than others.  Within reason on both sides, flexibility is important.

Annual leave
11.5 paid days’ holiday per year.

Benefits
Chigwell School is a very happy place to work and the School provides a supportive working environment. There is a well-developed programme of professional development. Pupils are enthusiastic, well-behaved and eager to learn, and colleagues are supportive, dedicated and get on well together. There is a strong sense of community.

Other benefits of working at Chigwell School include:

  • School fee remission of 50% pro rata for children in Y3 and above, subject to the usual admissions requirements
  • Strong commitment to professional development
  • Membership of the Pension Scheme
  • Death in Service Cover
  • Personal Accident Cover
  • Employee Assistance Support Programme
  • Complimentary lunch and break time refreshments during term time
  • Free use of school sports facilities outside of the school day
  • Medical Centre on site
  • Use of School Library
  • A beautiful working environment – 100-acre site, beautifully landscaped with a number of listed buildings
  • Good transport links by tube (Central Line), road and local bus route
  • A supportive community of highly motivated students and staff

Child protection
Chigwell is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

Applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening including checks with past employers, prohibition orders and enhanced DBS.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to Chigwell School. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Nicola Reames on +44(0)7907 574 794.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 22 November 2021.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV. Please include current salary details and the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • A covering letter (maximum of two pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the experience and knowledge section of the person specification.
  • Please complete the following online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at www.andersonquigley.com/candidates  using the reference AQ1235.

Timetable

Closing date: Noon on Monday 22 November
Preliminary interviews with AQ: w/c 22 November
Shortlisting: Thursday 2 December
Final Panel Interviews: Monday 6 December