Schools Officer (Legal, Estates and Organisation)

Posted 16 days agoExpires in 7 days
CANTERBURY
Permanent
£32000 - £35000

This position is an exciting opportunity for someone with legal, property or educational expertise to help us manage school sites both sustainably and missionally. You will provide advice and guidance to the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) in areas relating to church school estates, educational endowments, the environment and church school place planning.

A significant part of this role is also to serve our headteachers, governors and site trustees; offering timely and creative support on legislation covering church school sites, overseeing delegated capital funding and associated building projects and leading on school organisation policy and processes. In addition, you will contribute to diocesan strategy addressing environmental issues and represent the DBE on property, finance and capital funding matters.

Church school estates/educational endowments:

  • Maintain an overview of the status of old church school sites and associated charitable trusts, including the use and investment of funds held by the diocese and liaising with solicitors on ongoing matters of reverter, site disposal and applications to make new provision as to the use of educational endowments
  • Identify where interest in church school land should be transferred to site trustees and where sites require registration of title, instructing legal advisers on new and ongoing matters after consultation with the DDE
  • Manage policy and processes relating to leases and rental income from school sites where these are restricted for an educational trust
  • Provide support and guidance to schools in relation to land and buildings, focusing on safe and sustainable spaces whilst seeking to reduce environmental impact, encourage parish/community engagement and promote children’s spiritual and social development
  • Manage the programme of building and maintenance projects for which the DBE holds responsibility, including those funded via the School Condition Allocation and schools’ Devolved Formula Capital, liaising with Project Managers and the Executive Assistant to the DBE on progress and funding

The Schools Officer will be required to provide regular reports to the DBE Finance and General Purposes Committee on all the above matters

  • Advocacy with Kent County Council (KCC) with respect to capital funding and building matters, through representation on related forums and groups
  • Liaison with KCC, the Department for Education (DfE) and Church of England Education Office (CEEO) on all building and site matters, attending diocesan Buildings Officers’ meetings as appropriate

School Organisation:

  • Lead on the DBE’s strategic work in expanding educational provision, liaising with schools, KCC Area Education Officers and Academy Trusts regarding opportunities for engagement in new schools and the expansion of existing provision
  • Monitor the Kent Commissioning Plan and identify where place planning or revised admission numbers may impact on the sustainability of church schools, communicating with Local Authority officers and school leaders as appropriate
  • Develop a Rural and Small Schools statement for the DBE which accords with and contributes to the overall diocesan rural strategy
  • With the DDE, review the DBE’s Federation and Academy policies and guidance materials and resources, maintaining an up-to-date professional understanding of all relevant legislation and national policy
  • Lead the DBE’s engagement in local dialogue relating to school status (establishing or expanding federations and exploring academisation), advising Governing Bodies and Headteachers as required
  • Manage the DBE’s statutory duties and engagement in relation to academy structures:

- for academy conversions, rebrokering or Trust mergers, liaise with relevant parties to ensure that the process complies with DBE policy, protects and enhances the religious character of diocesan church schools and utilises documentation agreed between the CEEO and the DfE which meets the responsibilities of Site Trustees and recognises their rights and assets

- Through systematic review and liaison with Trust CEOs, Members and Directors, ensure that Church Academy Trusts continue to operate in accordance with their Articles; specifically, in relation to engagement/consultation with the DBE regarding governance, site trusteeship and religious character

- Through attendance at AGMs and liaison with Trust staff/auditors, review whether accounts for Church Academy Trusts are prepared in accordance with both legal requirements and CEEO advice, alerting the DBE to any risks or anomalies

Environmental Matters:

  • Establish the environmental impact of the diocese’s 104 church schools and support in advancing decarbonisation and/or energy efficiency projects, maintaining a good working knowledge of relevant grants and supporting applications
  • Attend the diocesan Environmental Working Group and contribute to a strategy to manage environmental issues

Finance:

  • Advocacy with KCC with respect to financing of schools, ensuring that the DBE is represented on the Schools Funding Forum and/or equivalent consultative and representative groups
  • Receive reports from the Finance Team on DBE investments, restricted funds and educational trusts, preparing summary reports to the DBE Finance and General Purposes Committee
  • As a director of the ethos School Improvement Company, identify opportunities through which the team might generate income on behalf of the DBE through the delivery of training, consultancy, and bespoke services to partners outside the DBE Core Services Agreement.

Essential

  • Expertise in a legal, educational or property context
  • Recent study, training or professional development relevant to the role
  • Experience of managing complex projects to deadlines
  • Forward thinking, adaptable and responsive to a varied work programme
  • Methodical, showing attention to detail, accuracy and thoroughness in all aspects of work
  • Personable - ability to establish strong, sensitive relationships at all levels, including building rapport with clients or external partners
  • Excellent communication and inter-personal skills
  • Able to demonstrate sensitivity and integrity
  • Proactive and supportive within a team; can build effective and productive working relationships with others
  • High level of self-motivation and ability to work autonomously
  • Commitment to the mission of the Church of England and ability to subscribe to the ethos of the Diocese of Canterbury and values of the Christian Church
  • Candidates should be able to travel and willing to attend evening and weekend meetings/events

Desirable

  • Understanding and awareness of Church of England structures
  • Experience of budget management or monitoring financial reports
  • Sound understanding of the current educational landscape and the context of church schools

The diocesan Children, Schools and Young People team embraces both Children and Young People’s Ministry and the statutory duties of the Diocesan Board of Education. Our vision and activity are focused firmly on deepening relationships and nourishing those we support and walk alongside: ‘To ensure that every child and young person in the Diocese is at the heart of mission,having the opportunity of a life-enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and theperson of Jesus Christ; that they reach their God-given potential and are an integral partof church life.’

The Diocesan Board of Education serves 104 Church of England schools, equating to approximately 25 800 pupils and students. The Board’s support for church schools takes many forms; this includes school improvement advice, consultancy and training, in addition to materials, policy and guidance on issues related to Christian distinctiveness and inclusiveness.