Assistant Director - Education and Skills

We have an exciting opportunity for an assistant director for education and skills in our children and young people's service.

Skip slideshow
  • We are looking for someone with a proven track record in educational leadership...

North Yorkshire is a thriving county which adapts to a changing world and remains a special place to live and work. Our passion for education continues to drive us and most children and young people in North Yorkshire already receive a high quality education. The majority of our schools and settings are good or outstanding. Many pupils do well at school, obtain good qualifications, and succeed in life after school. However, this is not true of all children or all parts of the county. We want more schools and settings to become good or outstanding so that more children and young people benefit from a high quality education. We want more pupils to do well at school and in their early year's provision, especially those who might need extra help, such as looked after children or children in complex situations. We want to increase the number of school leavers who are properly prepared to succeed in their next steps, whatever and wherever they are. And finally, we want to ensure that we have sufficient and sustainable schools to meet the predicted changes in the county’s population.

We are now seeking an Assistant Director for Education and Skills to help us drive change and continuous improvement across our services.

We are highly ambitious in the outcomes we seek for all children and young people. As we say in our 'Young and Yorkshire 2' plan, we want life chances increasingly to be in their own hands and not determined by geography or family circumstances. We also want to be an inclusive authority with high quality education provision and support, which works well together across the spectrum of need, whilst meeting the reality of public sector funding.

As Assistant Director Education and Skills, you will be pivotal in supporting the continuous development of our children and families service, managing change in a time of financial constraints and providing clear leadership and management to enable staff to perform at their best. You will lead the newly redesigned school improvement service (schools and early years), adult learning service, music service, outdoor learning service, Governor’s support service, wider school strategic planning, home to school transport and admissions service and have an instrumental role in the wider skills agenda. The post holder is at the forefront of transformational change with a team who strive to make a difference for the children and families of North Yorkshire.

We believe this role is a great career enhancing opportunity for someone with the passion, ability and drive to address key education challenges in the context of both national and local reform. Whilst the education world is going through a period of nationally driven reform, our commitment to a great education for all is unshakeable. Education is the most important gift we can give to our children. Young and Yorkshire 2 rightly recognises education as our greatest liberator. It makes the greatest difference to outcomes for individuals and communities.

Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director - Children and Young People’s Service, discusses the key priorities, challenges and opportunities of the role...


This is an excellent opportunity to further develop your career; we are an authority with a strong track record, relentless focus on delivery and performance, with strong leadership, talented teams and well-developed partnerships. We understand the importance of workforce development and you will be well equipped with the skills and knowledge, to effectively deliver and improve service. You will receive a comprehensive induction programme, coaching and mentoring as we strongly believe educated and skilled employees contributes to a positive, vibrant work environment.

You will work across a broad portfolio, including leading a committed, well respected team of specialist advisors and professionals with a clear strategic focus on enhancing outcomes for all children and young people. 

Education in North Yorkshire is delivered across 365 schools, 30 per cent of which are currently academies and in close partnership with further / higher education and the Local Enterprise Partnership. We are proud of our collective track record, with 87 per cent of children going to a good or outstanding primary school or secondary school. We have seen significant progress against our ambitions for improvement and the results achieved by students in secondary schools remain some of the best in the country. 

However, we do have significant challenges. There is a recognised need to have a differentiated approach to educational attainment in our rural and coastal communities, raising ambition and aspirations for the young people of those particular communities. The gap between those on free school meals and the rest is also wider than we would wish to see and we have significant numbers of small primary and secondary schools in rural locations. We are committed to working in partnership to reduce exclusions and have a holistic, inclusive approach to education. Innovative approaches and targeted investments are in place to address these challenges, with early signs of significant improvement, however there is more to do.

The school improvement function has been recently redesigned transitioning from a historically traditional approach to a more facilitative, collaborative, commissioning, commercial and targeted model underpinned by consistency, quality assurance and robust service delivery. You will embed and further develop this approach, leading us through the next phase of our improvement journey with a relentless focus on sector-led improvement through collaboration.

We have to find ways of improving excellence for every child against the odds and to do this we need an Assistant Director - Education and Skills with vision, leadership, commercialism and the drive to meet challenges head on. We need someone who can work successfully with key stakeholders and take them with us to realise our collective aims.

We have positive and highly valued partnerships with professional associations, members, partners and schools that robustly deliver mutually beneficial outcomes for children and young people. Building on these foundations we are looking for someone to lead these partnerships through the challenging and changing landscape. No local authority, or school is an island. Only through deep collaboration will we all, together, as the leaders of this system, achieve the best we can for all our children and young people.

This position’s primary remit is the delivery of education and skills services to schools across North Yorkshire, however it also includes the delivery of a range of service areas including outdoor learning, instrumental music and adult learning. While we have seen a far more commercial mind-set and considerable trading success in these service areas over the recent period, we have more to do in reaching our ambition to be the leading supplier of education service in the North over the next five years. 

The post holder will be a member of children and young people’s leadership team and we are looking for someone who will be a strong corporate player; to look beyond specific professional areas of education and skills, and children’s services for the good of the Council and its communities as a whole.

As Director of the Children and Young People’s Service for North Yorkshire County Council, I am excited about the prospect of appointing to this pivotal position. You will lead and continue to shape a newly redesigned service to further develop and improve the outcomes for children and young people’s across this great county.

We look forward to receiving your application.

Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director - Children and Young People’s Service

There are significant challenges facing children’s services nationally. However, North Yorkshire has a record of facing challenges with innovation and creativity and seeks transformational approaches which maintain and improve services to children and their families. We are currently in the process of delivering a 'Beyond 2020 North Yorkshire' change programme, which is an ambitious programme to maintain the highest quality of services which reflect the changing needs of society.

Strength in partnership has always been a key driver in North Yorkshire and it is more important than ever that we work in genuine partnership, are crystal clear about our priorities, and are resolutely focussed on improving outcomes.

North Yorkshire County Council has a reputation for delivering high quality services. We consistently score well in inspections and are amongst the top scoring when compared to other county councils. The key objectives of our Children and Young People’s Service are set out in our 'Young and Yorkshire 2' plan. This has been written for all children, young people and their families in North Yorkshire by the North Yorkshire Children’s Trust, a partnership that represents all the agencies working with children and young people across the county.

The annual LGC Awards are among the most coveted awards to local authorities and we were delighted that our children’s service has been announced as a finalist in the 'Social Work Employer of the Year 2019', and 'Children’s Social Worker of the Year 2019' categories. This success clearly indicates the commitment and professional expertise of our workforce as well as our creativity and 'can do' attitude in the face of challenging times.

As a national leader, North Yorkshire’s children’s services have been recognised as an exemplar through the award of Partners in Practice status, one of only a handful of such authorities. We are among the strongest local authorities in the country and through the Partners in Practice programme we continue to demonstrate what works and drive innovation to build understanding of the conditions needed for excellent practice to flourish; drive sector led improvement through peer support to authorises; and support the Department for Education to shape and test policy on wider programmes and reform.

We are immensely proud to be one of three authorities nationally to attract significant funding from the Department for Education’s 'Strengthening Families Protecting Children' programme. This brings with it a remit to expand the highly successful No Wrong Door approach in other local authorities. The 'Strengthening Families Protecting Children' programme has received an investment of over £84 million over five years to support up to twenty local authorities to improve work with families and safely reduce the number of children entering care. North Yorkshire will extend the No Wrong Door model to six local authorities: Rochdale, Redcar and Cleveland, Norfolk, Warrington, Leicester City and the trailblazer being Middlesbrough Council.

We seek to reflect on traditional methods and develop new innovative approaches which are reflective of today’s issues, with this in mind, we offer support to other local authorities in the following areas: front door, reducing numbers of looked after children, No Wrong Door, Signs of Safety, children and family services, whole system diagnostic, family group conferencing, smart solutions, workforce development and staffing and strategic planning frameworks.

We have sought and hopefully achieved collaborative arrangements which promote the right balance of individual school autonomy and a shared commitment to improvement. Though further deep collaboration we can all demonstrate our joint moral purpose as the leaders of this liberating education system. In that debate institutional and provider status has been of lesser importance than ensuring outcomes for all children and young people are delivered. We also know that regardless of the political support for the education agenda the current LA investment is not sustainable in the longer-term. New models and roles are needed and the post holder will be pivotal in embedding the recent service changes and shaping further transition; acting with clear integrity, transparency and purpose. 

Therefore we continue to:

  • Ensure that strategic coherence is in place which enables schools to collaborate and develop purposeful partnerships to improve the quality of teaching and learning;
  • Build capacity across the education system so there is a willing, skilled and ambitious workforce to lead our ambitions for children and young people;
  • Champion the needs of vulnerable children and young people so there is an inclusive learning system for all;
  • Commission home to school transport in an efficient way, promote appropriate independence for young people and support the wider transport networks so communities benefit; and
  • Ensure a sufficient supply of good education places including early education and child care and sufficient local provision for pupils with enhanced learning needs.

We will continue to play a unique role in understanding and shaping arrangements to meet the holistic needs of our children and young people - their employment, health, leisure, education and skills needs.

In my first two years as Corporate Director I have been continually impressed by the openness and indeed consistent restlessness for leadership which is both ambitious and inclusive within North Yorkshire County Council. It is that which will make the greatest difference and which will ensure this beautiful place is also one of the very best places for our children to grow up.

Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director - Children and Young People’s Service

Key documents

These key documents provide further information about our service and the wider council.

Role: Assistant Director of Education and Skills, Children and Young People’s Services
Location: Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Salary: Circa £94k plus relocation support

Are you passionate about driving education in a changing landscape? Are you an inspirational leader?

We are looking for someone with a proven track record in educational leadership and raising education and skills performance. A person able to demonstrate innovative and visible leadership, deliver strategic vision, with a sharp focus on strong performance management in an increasingly commercial world. You would be joining, geographically, the largest and amongst the best local authority and children’s services in the country at a very challenging but exciting time. The remit of the role covers a broad portfolio including school improvement, outdoor education, adult learning and skills, music, school admission and place development services.

We are pursuing ambitious plans for transformation, alongside national reform.

This role is to lead our Education and Skills Service which is evolving, this requires the post holder to act with clear integrity, transparency and purpose to achieve deeply collaborative and strategic partnerships with educational leaders; in the aim of raising education and skill attainment for every child in this incredible county. Education is the most important gift we can give to our children and is our greatest liberator.

This role presents a career defining opportunity for an experienced leader in education; we offer the scale and diversity for current assistant directors to progress their career and equally provide the platform for heads of service or head teachers to develop into the role, our strong foundation provides you with the foundation to further your career.

We provide comprehensive benefits and relocation packages, details of which are available below. Perhaps more importantly, we believe that you will be welcomed into a truly inspirational team and innovative, successful organisation.

Key dates

Closing date: 6 February 2020
Interviews: 20 and 21 February 2020

Key documents

A recent Local Government Association peer challenge found that North Yorkshire County Council is a good place to work, with strong leadership and a loyal and committed workforce, who have access to well-regarded training and development.

We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice, offering a range of training and development opportunities and career progression, allowing you to manage your own development journey and empowering you to control your career. 

"Working for North Yorkshire County Council comes with numerous benefits. It’s really refreshing to work for an employer that invests support and trust in your work allowing flexibility with a focus on work outcomes. Another important benefit for me is the generous pension scheme."

We can offer you a comprehensive benefits package including flexible working hours, a local government pension scheme, family friendly leave, salary sacrifice, learning and development packages, employee discount benefits, opportunities for career progression working across a diverse client base and access to a range of technologies to support modern and agile ways of working.

This role will be based at County Hall in Northallerton, as a council we are very much committed to encouraging flexible working for our employees, which will include working from other bases across the county as well as working from home.

You can find out more about working for the council and the benefits we offer here.

How to apply

We are looking for someone with a proven track record in educational leadership and raising education and skills performance. A person able to demonstrate innovative and visible leadership, deliver strategic vision, with a sharp focus on strong performance management in an increasingly commercial world.

Key dates

Closing date: 6 February 2020
Interviews: 20 and 21 February 2020

Contact us

For an informal discussion about this opportunity, please contact Sarah France-Gorton, Head of Resourcing Solutions, on 01609 798106 or email or Penny Keatings on 07811 411462 or email

Sarah and Penny can organise further conversations with Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director - Children and Young People’s Services, to explore your interest in the role.

Apply for this role

To apply please send your CV, including a personal statement in one Microsoft Word document to by midnight on 6 February 2020 stating “Assistant Director - Education and Skills” in the email title.

It is important that your CV includes: your full contact details (telephone, email, address), full employment history (name of employer, job titles, dates of employment), full education history (qualification, grade, dates and name of place of study), explanation of any gaps in employment and the contact details of at least two referees including your current / most recent employer indicating whether you provide us with the authority to contact each referee prior to interview. Your personal statement should outline your motivation for applying and how you meet the criteria for the role as detailed in the person specification below.

This is a politically restricted post and requires an enhanced DBS disclosure.

We will not accept applications from agencies.

Additional roles in the Children and Young People’s Service...

We have a further role available in our service. Find out more and apply below. 

Salary: Soulbury 26-28 + 3 SPA
Location: Primarily based at North Yorkshire County Council, County Hall, Northallerton with county wide travel
Hours: 37 per week (full time)
Contract: Permanent

We are looking for a strategic, inclusive and performance-focused leader to join us as Principal Adviser and drive improvement and promote high standards in schools and settings.

This is a key post in the Education and Skills Service and an exciting opportunity to work with schools and settings across North Yorkshire, from towns to rural communities to schools on coast. The Principal Adviser will work with schools, both primary and secondary, early years settings including nursery schools, Special Schools and PRUs. The size and geography of North Yorkshire will also enable the post holder to work with a wide variety of different types of schools and settings including maintained schools, academies and small schools some of which are facing challenges with budgets and pupil numbers. The role is demanding, challenging but hugely rewarding. 

The post holder will manage a team of Senior Education Advisers who are responsible for school improvement and work directly to the Assistant Director for Education and Skills. For this post a detailed knowledge of secondary schools and an Ofsted inspector would be an advantage but not essential. The post holder will also work across a variety of service areas including inclusion, the opportunity area and liaise with colleagues in the Children and Families Service. There is an expectation that the Principal Adviser will deputise for the Assistant Director and become involved with leading professional development days, working with school leadership teams and the teaching school alliances, school reviews and North Yorkshire data analysis considering areas of strength and areas for development. 

The Principal Adviser will also have leadership for strategic areas which could include an area such as data. The Principal Adviser will work within a leadership team covering the Education and Skills Service and be a key player in developing the direction of travel for the service. Involvement with the newly formed locality boards will also be part of the role.

Key documents

Key dates

Closing date: 2 February 2020
Interview date: 14 February 2020

Contact us

For an informal discussion about this opportunity, please contact Mandy Lambert on 01609 532843 or email Mandy can organise further conversations with Judith Kirk, Assistant Director - Education and Skills Service, to explore your interest in the role.

Apply for this role

To apply for this role, click the ‘Apply’ button below.