Appointment of the Commercial Director


Dear Candidate,

Thank you for considering Sherborne School for the next stage of your career.

Sherborne is a community in which kindness and compassion take centre stage. We foster the conditions in which our students learn how to look out for their friends and neighbours, in which they develop habits of consideration and politeness that prepare them for the rest of their lives. We are a community of the future, inspired and empowered by the rich heritage of our past.

The Commercial Director role is a newly created post to support the Group Bursar and transform the commercial operations of the Sherborne Schools’ Group, including our overseas ventures.  The Commercial Director will be a key member of the Bursary Management Team and will play an important role in enabling the realisation of the Group’s academic vision and strategic objectives.

We are looking for a creative thinker with strong commercial instincts to develop and implement a comprehensive commercial strategy which aims to drive value and maximise opportunities for income generation across the Group.  This is a senior appointment with significant operational responsibilities and the successful candidate will need to be able to build collaborative working relationships across our broad constituency.

We are open to candidates from a wide range of relatable careers with transferable skills and the strategic vision to play a key role in the growth and delivery of our outstanding educational provision.  If you are an inspirational leader and have the experience to develop our commercial capability and realise the potential for further commercial success, then we would love to hear from you.

We look forward to receiving your application.

Dominic Luckett
CEO, Sherborne Group

The Context

Sherborne School

One of the UK’s pre-eminent independent schools, Sherborne School provides an outstanding, all-boys boarding education.  The School was founded by Royal Charter in 1550 with roots going back to the origins of the See of Sherborne in 705.  There are eight boarding houses containing a total of about 600 boys (aged 13-18).

Sherborne School is thriving under the leadership of Dr Dominic Luckett who became Headmaster of Sherborne School and Chief Executive of Sherborne Group in January 2016.  The Sherborne Schools Group includes Sherborne School, Sherborne Prep School, Sherborne International School, commercial subsidies and overseas operations.

With plans to open a new boarding house to meet the increasing demand for places, the development of a £13m state-of-the-art sports centre, the recent merger with Sherborne Prep, and plans to expand the international footprint through Sherborne Schools Worldwide (a joint venture with Sherborne Girls), this is a dynamic organisation on an exciting upward trajectory.

Sherborne and the Local Area

Sherborne is an idyllic rural market town with a character all of its own: a place of vibrancy and intellectual stimulation, where music, art and literature thrive.  It is a unique seat of learning, with two major senior schools (Sherborne School and Sherborne Girls’), an international school (Sherborne International) and Sherborne Prep School.  Few other towns offer such a comprehensive range of schooling options, all set within historic surroundings that are characterised by beauty, heritage and a vibrant spirit of community.

Sherborne offers the benefits of a safe rural town along with easy access to and from Heathrow, Gatwick and Bristol airports, and a direct train service to London Waterloo.  With stunning scenery on the doorstep, there is every opportunity to share the joy of the great outdoors with pupils, while giving them a rich cultural experience in a town with real soul.

The town’s medieval buildings, including the Abbey that the schools use for services and concerts – and its two castles, bring a profound sense of history.  The honeyed buildings of the high street house a range of independent shops and some chains: they provide the perfect setting for the town’s many festivals, including an annual music festival at the Abbey and the popular Sherborne Literary Festival.

Sherborne really is a town unlike any other: the perfect place in which young people can be inspired, stretched and stimulated through a first-class education that puts them at the very centre.


The Role

The Commercial Director is a newly created senior role to support the Group Bursar and transform the commercial operations (and therefore revenue) for the Sherborne Group.  The Commercial Director will be a key member of the Bursary Management Team and will play an important role in enabling the realisation of the Group’s academic vision and strategic objectives.

The Commercial Director will be responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive commercial strategy to generate agreed income targets for the Group as well as pro-actively identifying and realising commercial opportunities to maximise income.  The successful candidate will have outstanding commercial and financial acumen and be able to transfer this into, and have empathy with, an independent school setting.  Strong leadership skills are important in this role, as is the ability to influence at a senior level and build collaborative working relationships across the Group’s broad constituency.  The Commercial Director will deputise for the Group Bursar on certain Boards and Committees as necessary.

The Commercial Director will be accountable for the following functions:

  • Group Commercial Strategy
  • Trading enterprises – Shop/Hub etc.
  • Events
  • Business Development (UK and overseas through Sherborne Schools Worldwide)
  • Short-course programmes (SS/SI)
  • Income generation – Sports Centre and other School facilities
  • Marketing

Please find our staff diagram here.


Reporting to:
The Group Bursar, Sherborne School – and through them to the Headmaster/CEO.

Responsible for:
Head of Marketing (Sherborne Group)
Director of Short Courses
Events Manager
Shop Manager

Role Summary

The Commercial Director is responsible to the Group Bursar for:

  • Developing and executing a Commercial Strategy to generate agreed income targets for Group;
  • Pro-actively identify and realise commercial opportunities for the Group and its facilities;
  • To support the Headmaster/CEO and Bursar extend the reach (and hence revenue-generating potential) of the Sherborne School brand overseas;
  • Full Profit and Loss responsibility for the Group’s retail operations;
  • Ensuring both standards and financial success of the Group’s short-course programmes;
  • Marketing of the School and its various offerings;
  • Developing the commercial acumen of the School(s)/Group.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Support Staff Management:

  • Preparing objectives and plans for the work of key support staff aligned with the priorities and objectives of the Group;
  • Leading and managing of direct reports, incl. training, development, regular meetings and carrying out of annual appraisals and personal development reviews;
  • Planning and managing delegated budgets and achieving value for money;
  • Proving information and reports as required to the School, its governance mechanisms and other agencies (as required).

Commercial Strategy:

  • To develop and implement a coherent and considered Commercial Strategy for the Group;
  • To identify the School’s Group’s commercial assets and build a year round programme to maximise their returns (financial and reputational);
  • To network with local, regional and national businesses to both raise the profile of the School(s) as well as generate inward investment and/or other “in-kind” benefits;
  • To support the Bursar undertake any commercial analyses in support of potential M&A activity that the Group might be considering;
  • To raise the Commercial acumen of key staff across the Group.


  • Line manage the Group Head of Marketing to deliver a marketing strategy across the three schools within the Sherborne Group, working closely to support the marketing teams and overseeing the delivery of all activity to support this within budget and timeframe;
  • To support the Director of Admissions to develop a sector leading marketing programme with the specific intention of attracting a robust pipeline of talented pupils to the School(s);
  • To liaise with Sherborne Girls to identify potential commercial synergies and/or de-conflict commercial and marketing strategies.

Sports Centre:

  • To develop a membership/usage model for the Sports Centre that maximises both income to the Group, as well as experience to the user;
  • To work with the Operations Bursar, Performance Director and Director of Sport to balance the operational needs of the Centre to the School(s) with the delivery of an outstandingly successful commercial operation;
  • To attract and retain local clubs and societies to base themselves from the Sports Centre as part of the Group’s commitment to public use and intention for the site to become a hub for the local community;
  • To identify revenue generating opportunities through the commercial lease of the School’s broader sporting grounds and infrastructure;
  • To work with the Bursar and Head of Foundation to identify and develop opportunities to access investment/grants to further enhance/develop the School’s sporting facilities.


  • To provide leadership and direction to the Events Manager in the acquisition and delivery of events (e.g. memorials, weddings, conferences, kids clubs, camps etc.);
  • To inform pricing models to maximise the economic returns to the Group for the external events it hosts;
  • To work with the Director of Operations to consider the feasibility of term-time commercial events with minimal disruption to the day-to-day running of the School;
  • To advise staff (particularly Music/Sport) on commercial models/viability for events and courses they might be planning to host.


  • Holding full profit and loss responsibility for the School Shop and Hub Café;
  • Provide leadership and direction, including the setting of appropriate customer service standards for the Group’s retail staff;
  • Proactively identify opportunities to extend the Group’s retail offer in a manner sympathetic to its ethos and values.

Short Courses:

  • Through line management to provide leadership, direction and oversight to the design, marketing and delivery of short-course programmes at Sherborne School/International/Sherborne Prep;
  • To work with colleagues to develop a highly competitive and commercially exciting offer to overseas parents and agents;
  • To routinely monitor developments in the short-course “environment” to ensure the Sherborne offering remains competitive and excellent value for money.

Sherborne Schools Worldwide:

  • To support the Headmaster and Bursar identify and nurture potential overseas partnerships;
  • To identify ways to both extend and monetise the Sherborne School brand and intellectual property into new market opportunities;
  • To work with Sherborne Girls to develop a strategy (with associated agreed principles) to define markets, geographies and setting that SSW might seek to explore and exploit;
  • To proactively nurture and maintain relationships with key potential investors (private and commercial) in support of potential future overseas projects.


  • To manage and deliver value from the School’s retail contracts (e.g. sports kit, uniform);
  • To provide commercial advice and guidance to the School’s Group’s charitable and community outreach activities as requested.

This list is not exhaustive, and the successful candidate may be required to carry out other duties as instructed by the Group Bursar.


 Experience, Knowledge and Skills

Essential Criteria:

  • Relevant degree level qualification.
  • Experience of developing and implementing commercial strategies.
  • Strong track record of monetising assets (physical and intellectual).
  • Commercial instinct with a keen interest to continuously improve business performance.
  • Financial acumen and the ability to undertake cost benefit analysis.
  • Strong leadership skills and the ability to inspire and motivate people to drive an organisation forward to achieve its goals.
  • The ability to work collaboratively with a diverse range of stakeholders and influence at a senior level.
  • The ability to navigate competing priorities and perspectives within a complex, multi-faceted organisation.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and networking skills.
  • Excellent oral and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong negotiating skills and contractual awareness.
  • Sound organisational skills and, particularly, a keen eye for detail.
  • An appreciation of the need for sensitivity and absolute confidentiality.
  • A commitment to the independent school context.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Membership of an appropriate professional body.
  • Experience of working in an educational setting.
  • Experience of working with overseas parties or bodies.

Training Requirement for Administrative Staff – this list is not exhaustive and the post holder may be required to undertake other training as required by the School.

Training  To be completed by  Frequency of training
Safeguarding (Child Protection) and Prevent Training Before employment commences Every year
Emergency First Aid Training (if required within the Department) Within the first term of employment Every 3 years but offered annually
Fire Awareness Within the first term of employment Every 3 years
Manual Handling Within the first term of employment Every 3 years
Display Screen Equipment (DSE) User Within the first term of employment Every 3 years
Induction training with Line Manager Within the first 3 months of employment


Terms of Appointment

Location: Sherborne School, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 3LF.

Hours of Work: This is a full-time, all year-round post.  37.5 hours per week.  Hours of work are likely to be 8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday less an hour for lunch, but flexibility in hours will be required on occasion to meet the demands of the post.

Probationary Period: Six Months

Salary: Circa £65,000 per annum depending on skills, qualifications and experience. Salary is paid monthly in arrears direct into the employee’s nominated bank account.

Pension: The post holder will be able to join the Sherborne School Support Staff Pension Scheme on the first day of the month after completion of two months service.  Where eligible the post-holder will be auto enrolled into the Pension Scheme as per current legislation; further details may be obtained from the Head of HR (Bursary).

Relocation expenses: A relocation expense allowance is provided to the successful applicant.

Holidays: 5 weeks’ holiday per year plus Bank Holidays.  Attendance will be required on Bank Holidays that fall during term time, for which time off in lieu will be given.  Holiday only to be taken following prior authorisation from the Group Bursar, taking account of the School’s busy periods.

Sports Centre Membership: Reduced membership of the Sherborne School Sports Centre (including swimming pool, gym and classes) is available for all employees.

Medical Fitness: Any offer of appointment will be conditional upon the provision of a self-declaration of physical and mental fitness to carry out the responsibilities of the role.

Lunch: Lunch will be provided during term-time and when the kitchens are open at other times.


Safeguarding and Child Protection

You share with all School staff the responsibility to promote and safeguard the welfare of children and young people for whom you are responsible, or with whom you come into contact.  In doing so, you are expected at all times to adhere to and ensure compliance with the School’s Safeguarding Policy.  If you become aware of any actual or potential risks to the safety or welfare of children in the School, you must report any concerns to the School’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (Child Protection Officer).

Please find our Safeguarding policy here.

Equal Opportunities

The Sherborne Schools Group is an Equal Opportunities employer and is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.  All staff and volunteers are expected to share this commitment.  Applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening, including reference checks with previous employers and a criminal record check via the Disclosure and Barring Service.  Sherborne Preparatory School is part of Sherborne Schools Group, a charitable company (number 4002575), registered in England and Wales with the Charity Commission (number 1081228).

Please find our Equal Opportunities policy here.

References/Police Check

As Sherborne School is registered to ask ‘exempted questions’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, successful applicants will be subject to receipt of a satisfactory criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (a “Disclosure”) before the appointment is confirmed.  This will include details of cautions, reprimands or final warnings.   This post is also subject to receipt of two satisfactory written references, one of which must be your last employer.

Please find our Ex-Offenders policy here.

 Non-Smoking Policy

 It is the policy of Sherborne School (encompassing Sherborne International, Sherborne Prep School and Sherborne School Leisure and Sherborne School Trading) that all our workplaces are smoke free, and all employees have a right to work in a smoke free environment.   Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the School, both internal and external; this includes company vehicles.  This policy applies to all employees, contractors and visitors.

How to Apply

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

Potential candidates wishing to discuss this post are warmly invited to contact Nicola Reames, Partner, at or on +44(0)7907 574 794.

The closing date for applications is 09.00 on Monday 28th March 2022.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV including 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 addressed to David Cole, Bursar, Sherborne Group. The letter should explain your reasons for applying.
  • The following online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1345.

Closing date: 09.00 on Monday 28 March
Longlisting: Wednesday 30 March
Shortlisting: Friday 8 April
First Stage Interviews: Tuesday 12 or Wednesday 13 April
Second Stage Interviews: Wednesday 20 or Thursday 21 April