Appointment of the Operations Bursar


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 Operations Bursar role is a newly created post to support the Group Bursar and transform the front-facing support functions of the School.  The Operations Bursar will be a key member of the Bursary Management Team and will play an important role in enabling the realisation of the School’s strategic plan.  This is a visible, varied and demanding role and will require a strong work ethic and a wide-ranging set of skills.

We are looking for an outstanding individual with strong management experience to drive performance across a diverse portfolio of service activity whilst delivering exceptional customer service across the School.  You will have meticulous attention to detail together with the ability to build strong and collaborative working relationships with all members of our community.

We are open to candidates from a wide range of service-providing careers with transferable skills to support the delivery of our outstanding education and ensure a safe environment in which our young people and staff can flourish.  If you would enjoy working alongside dedicated and supportive colleagues with a shared purpose across our beautiful and historic site, 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.

Buildings and Grounds

Sherborne School sits in the shadow of the magnificent Sherborne Abbey in the heart of the town of Sherborne in Dorset.  The School’s ancient and golden-hued buildings make for an inspirational place to live and work.  The School has over 60 acres of sports grounds, all within walking distance from the main school buildings.

Many of the buildings are on the National Heritage List for England, including several as Grade I and many as Grade II listed.  The School must therefore perform any renovations or restorations on its historic buildings with utmost care and attention to detail.  The School also owns over 60 acres of sports grounds, all within walking distance from the main School.

The beauty of the School’s buildings and grounds are such that they have been used in several films including The Imitation Game (2014), Wolf Hall (BBC TV Series 2015) and Far from the Madding Crowd (2015).

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 Operations Bursar is a newly created senior role to support the Group Bursar and transform the front-facing support functions of Sherborne School.  The Operations Bursar will be a key member of the Bursary Management Team and will play an important role in enabling the realisation of the School’s strategic plan.

The Operations Bursar will be responsible for delivering exceptional customer service to current and prospective parents and will establish all the necessary support functions to facilitate the delivery of an outstanding education and a safe environment in which pupils and staff can flourish.  Please note that the remit for the role will span both the Sherborne School and Sherborne Prep School sites as well as ensuring that services supporting the smooth delivery of the short-course programme under the Sherborne International brand are provided to the highest levels.

The Operations Bursar will have an instinctive understanding of what 5-star service looks like and will possess the skills and experience to replicate this in a school setting.  The successful candidate will lead by example with meticulous attention to detail and the strength of character to insist upon the highest possible standards across the board.  The postholder will demonstrate flexibility, possess an analytical mind, enjoy problem solving and identifying workable solutions, be able to prioritise effectively and to manage staff in such a way as to ensure that the team is always the best that it can be.  The Operations Bursar will have the ability to build strong and collaborative relationships across the School’s broad constituency, and will deputise for the Group Bursar as required.

This is an exciting opportunity to work alongside dedicated colleagues within a beautiful and historic setting.  Candidates are welcome to apply from relatable fields such as high-brand hospitality, customer service management, the armed forces, property management and/or education management.

The Operations Bursar will be accountable for the following functions:

  • Front-facing customer services and related logistics
  • Catering
  • On-site facilities (including maintenance, cleaning and grounds)
  • Health, Safety and Security
  • Sports Centre operations
  • Transport
  • Parking

Please find our staff diagram here.


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

Responsible for:
Head of Estates and Facilities Management
Domestic Bursar
Health & Safety Advisor
Head Custodian
Sports Centre Manager
Head Groundsman
Head Gardener
Accommodation Manager

Role Summary

The Operations Bursar is directly responsible (or indirectly responsible through the line management of front-facing support staff) to the Group Bursar for:

  • Ensuring the delivery of high quality and professional services, creating a culture of excellence in all areas of their responsibility.
  • Managing and ensuring the development and productivity of all relevant support staff including the line management of relevant functional leads.
  • Liaising with key senior staff and prep school colleagues in determining ongoing day-to-day and one-off requirements in order to ensure the Group’s support services meet those requirements.
  • Ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and regulations that fall within their oversight.
  • Maintaining up to date policies and procedures for the work of their teams, which reflect the Group’s requirements and relevant legislation and guidance.
  • Planning, managing and reporting on all delegated budgets for relevant support functions (including the achievement of value for money).
  • Contribute to the development and effective running of the Group’s support systems and services.

 Main Duties and Responsibilities

Support Staff Management:

  • Preparing objectives and plans for the work of support staff aligned with the priorities and objectives of the School(s).
  • Leading and managing of direct reports, including training, development, regular meetings and carrying out of annual appraisals and personal development reviews.
  • Working with functional leads to ensure the development and productivity of their front-facing support teams.
  • Planning and managing delegated budgets and achieving value for money.
  • Providing termly and annual statistics on the functions of the front facing support teams.
  • Proving information and reports as required to the School, its governance mechanisms and other agencies (as required).


  • In liaison with the School’s contract caterers and the Commercial Director/Events Manager plan, manage, deliver and develop all catering and hospitality services for the School(s) including the term-time catering for pupils, staff and events and out of term accommodation, conferences, weddings and other events.
  • Monitoring food quality and catering service (including by active engagement with pupils and staff), maintaining awareness of best practice, addressing any concerns and determining how to improve the service over time.
  • Managing the contract caterer’s performance.
  • Together with the Bursar, ensuring best value for money from the catering contract.

Buildings and Estates Management:

  • In liaison with the Headmaster, Head of the Senior School and Deputy Heads, understanding the evolving requirements that exist in respect of boarding accommodation and the educational and pastoral facilities across the School’s site and sports grounds.
  • In liaison with the Head (SPS), understanding the requirements that exist in respect of pupil educational and pastoral facilities on the Prep School site.
  • Line managing those who manage and maintain the School’s grounds and buildings and rigorously overseeing the performance of the Estates and Facilities, Domestic, Compliance, Grounds and Landscaping teams.
  • Ensuring a suitable inspection regime for the grounds and built estate and directing the development of annual and long-term maintenance plans, including obtaining necessary advice, permissions, planning consents, building regulations, fire authority approvals etc.
  • Ensuring the effective and efficient commissioning and completion of minor buildings works.
  • Establishment, and then subsequent management/prioritisation of maintenance job/small works requests.
  • Procuring and then delivering value through 3rd party contacts and contractors.
  • Managing all maintenance service contracts.
  • Ensuring business continuity plans are in place and regularly tested to ensure the continuity of School(s) operations.
  • Planning for and working in such a way as to lower the carbon footprint of the School, in accordance with its Development Plan ambitions.

Health, Safety and Security:

  • Line manging the Health & Safety Advisor, ensuring compliance with all relevant H&S legislation and codes of practice across all the School(s) sites.
  • Maintaining appropriate levels of staff training and ensuring all teams comply with policies and procedures.
  • Ensuring the Group has up to date policies in respect of the H&S regime and Risk Assessments (and associated action plans), and that plans are implemented and regularly reviewed with relevant departmental heads.
  • Through the line management of the Head Custodian, ensure the security of the School(s) sites and grounds, liaising as necessary with local emergency services, as well as excellence in the other duties performed by the Custos team.
  • Maintaining the necessary health and safety related record and ensuring they are accessible for inspection and other purposes.
  • Ensuring that all security and H&S systems are maintained.
  • Contributing to the termly H&S Committee meetings at both SS and SPS.


  • Understanding the needs of the School(s) in respect of transport (start and end of day, during day, weekends) and ensuring requirements are met.
  • Overseeing the School’s fleet of vehicles (purchase/lease, maintenance, performance, safety), including the transition to electric fleets and lower carbon emission vehicles.
  • Overseeing liaison with external transport providers that complement the School(s) own fleet and monitor their performance and compliance with appropriate legislation.
  • Ensuring that all necessary standards of performance and qualification are adhered to by all the School(s) drivers.

Sports Centre

  • To provide leadership to the Sports Centre Manager to deliver both outstanding facilities and support to all users of the Sports Centre, be they from the School(s) or wider public.
  • To support the Performance Director and Director of Sport in establishing a regional hub of excellence for performance sport, training and rehabilitation.
  • To support the Commercial Director in leveraging commercial opportunities and income from the Sports Centre through the availability and quality of the services and facilities it provides.


  • Liaising with the Events Manager regarding the specific requirements of events, ensuring that these meet all legislative and regulatory requirements.
  • Ensuring the delivery, whatever the mode of entry, of an outstanding Reception function for the School(s).
  • Maintaining risk registers for those functions under the leadership of the Operations Bursar.
  • Contributing to contingency and critical incident plans and ensuring that day to day support functions are ready and can fulfil their requirements in critical incidents.

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:

  • Outstanding leadership skills honed in a service quality setting.
  • Attention to detail and an unswerving commitment to excellence.
  • Ability to successfully manage a diverse portfolio of activity.
  • Experience of leading change through teams and organisations.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills.
  • Experience of managing people and budgets efficiently and effectively.
  • Strong coaching and facilitation skills to get the most from teams and individuals.
  • Delegation skills and the ability to manage a range of tasks and priorities whilst working to tight deadlines.
  • A track record of working successfully with a diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.


  • Relevant degree level qualification (or equivalent).
  • Strong commercial and financial acumen. 

Personal Attributes

  • A commitment to the delivery of a superb customer service experience within an independent school context.
  • Patient, diplomatic and flexible with the ability to influence at a senior level.
  • Proactive, energetic and enthusiastic, with a positive outlook.
  • The ability to motivate and engage others and command the respect of staff and parents.
  • An appreciation of the need for sensitivity and absolute confidentiality. 

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 £70,000 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 AQ1343.

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