Kent County Council: Director - Special Educational Needs and Disability

Location: Maidstone, Kent
Salary: £98,804 - £117,432
Reference: 0112
Deadline: 28/10/2020

Kent County Council's vision is to ensure all Kent children feel safe, secure, loved, fulfilled, happy and optimistic.

To ensure their aim of making Kent a county that works for all children, the Council is putting in place two new and pivotal roles within the Children, Young People and Education Directorate, of which this is one.  Working together with Corporate Director, Matt Dunkley CBE, the newly-appointed Director, Education and other colleagues in the Directorate's management team, the successful candidate will work towards achieving this significant challenge by:

  • joining up services to support families at the right time and in the right place; 
  • securing the best childcare, education and training opportunities; 
  • being the best Corporate Parent the Council can be; 
  • developing a culture of high aspiration and empathy for children and their families; and
  • valuing children and young people’s voices and listening to them. 

The Council is seeking Directors who are prepared to work together to deliver the best children’s and young people’s services in the country, ensuring services are fully integrated, capable of achieving the best outcomes by addressing needs in the right way at the right time and ambitious for what all children and young people can achieve in their lives, and for what the Council's staff and volunteers can achieve with them.  They are keen to work with exceptional individuals who have the energy, ideas and ambition to make a sustained difference to the people of Kent, who share their commitment to improving the quality of life of Kent residents and are able to maximise their impact through working in partnership across the Council and with other organisations.

Kent County Council is the UK’s largest local authority, with a workforce in excess of 30,000 people, including maintained schools serving a population of over 1.5 million. There are various offices in central locations and a large number of service establishments throughout Kent, the corporate office being based in Maidstone.  More than two thirds of the workforce provide services directly to the public – such as domiciliary Care Workers, Classroom Assistants, Social Workers, Teachers, and Occupational Therapists.  The Council's annual budget covers a huge range of services.  This translates into a host of interesting roles and career paths awaiting those who want to work in a leading edge public sector organisation.

This is a great time to join Kent.  In a Council committed to changing for the better, there is an opportunity to make a big difference.  It’s a great county to live in, too, with excellent schools, vibrant cities, golden beaches and stunning countryside. 

About the Role

You will be working within the Children, Young People and Education Directorate supporting the delivery of front-line strategic and corporate services. The Directorate leads and co-ordinates major change, organisational design, development and provides a critical client and contracting role with its trading companies including property, legal and customer contact. It provides organisational-wide governance, financial management and a major contribution to the Council's political and external relationships.

In this role you will:

  • lead  the delivery and strategic development of services to disabled children and young people and those with Special Educational Needs ensuring  those services (in-house and commissioned) meet the needs of all those children, are aligned to information on need and that they continue to meet the changing needs of children and young people in Kent;
  • contribute as a member of the Directorate Management Team to the strategic leadership of the Directorate; and
  • champion the needs of children with additional needs ensuring an inclusive, high-quality service that works in partnership with families to maximise children’s potential.

About You

You will have experience of: strategic leadership and successful delivery in local government and/or other relevant large and complex organisations working within the children’s services arena; SEND and (preferably) disabled children services at a senior level; the interface between the local authority statutory function (code of practice) and schools for vulnerable pupils and those with special educational needs; working with schools, school-based organisations, related partners and regulatory/support bodies such as Ofsted and the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC); effectively managing and delivering a range of key integrated services and change programmes for children and families within a designated budget; achieving improvements in service delivery and improved outcomes for children and young people; delivering a range of services in partnership with other agencies and stakeholders, both internal and external; planning and performance monitoring across agencies; commissioning and decommissioning of services; and working and influencing the direction of services within a highly political environment.

You will be able to: operate effectively as a member of the Extended Corporate Management Team; establish strong positive relationships across the education sector at all levels; gain the confidence and trust of Head-teachers across Kent; establish strong positive relationships across partner and other external organisations that command professional confidence; demonstrate effective motivational strategic leadership and vision to staff at all levels including a positive attitude to change in order to maintain and develop services in a constantly changing environment; command respect, influence and negotiate at a strategic professional and political level both locally and nationally; demonstrate a high level of personal resilience, challenge and focus; lead, influence and implement strategic policies and decisions; manage large budgets effectively and demonstrate value for money for customers with a string focus on maximising a return on investment; analyse complex data and problem solve; and plan, monitor and review all areas in the discipline.  You will have highly developed communication and presentation skills.

You will have knowledge:  in the relevant professional area and proven track record of using professional expertise to develop and deliver strategic objectives and expected outcomes; of complex statutory duties and codes of practice as they relate to the role; of the relevant inspectorates and the roles of DFE and the Regional Schools Commissioner; of the range of children’s services across partner agencies and sectors; and in depth understanding of the strategic challenges and operational realities of managing services for children and young people in a large and diverse authority.

The Place

As the largest and most populated county in the UK, Kent has over 1.5 million residents and a workforce of more than 820,000 people, making the Garden of England the perfect place to live and work.

With great schools, vibrant cities, golden beaches and breath-taking countryside there is lots to offer you and with residential property considerably below London prices and investment in redevelopment, why not choose the best of both worlds by working in Kent?

Kent is a varied location from the coastal towns of Ramsgate and Folkestone and the areas of outstanding natural beauty in Sevenoaks & Tunbridge Wells, to the North Kent urban towns of Dartford and Gravesend. With its stunning landscapes, historic landmarks, multi-cultural communities and a rich heritage there is lots to love about Kent; less than an hour from St Pancras and 40 minutes from Lille, high-speed connections to the capital and continent make Kent an excellent location for work and leisure.

Please see the Kent County Council website for further information about the Council and the County of Kent.

Please also see the following for further information about working with children with SEN and Disability in Kent:

https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/special-educational-needs
https://www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/care-and-support/disability/help-if-youve-got-a-disabled-child
https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/school-transport/school-transport-for-children-with-special-educational-needs

Indicative Timetable

Closing date for applications:  28 October 2020.

A Preliminary/Technical interview will take place for shortlisted candidates week commencing 19 October 2020 with preliminary interviews with Kent County Council following on either 4 or 6 November 2020.

As part of the interview process for this role you will be required to complete an occupational personality questionnaire and telephone feedback session if you are successful at the preliminary interview, which will take place in the period 11 to 16 November 2020. 

Candidates shortlisted after the preliminary interviews will be invited to attend a Stakeholder, Service User Panel(s) during the period 20 to 23 November 2020 and a Member Panel during the period 24 to 25 November 2020. 

In light of Covid-19 it is likely that all assessments will be held remotely rather than face-to-face. We will keep you up to date with any changes.

Contact

Martin Tucker
T: 0113 532 5900
E: mtucker@faerfield.co.uk


Sarah Longbottom
T: 0121 312 3755
E: slongbottom@faerfield.co.uk

Applications

To apply for this job please submit your CV, a Supporting Statement (no more than four sides of A4), a completed Candidate Application Form and a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form to kentcc@faerfield.co.uk quoting: ‘Vacancy: Kent County Council: Director - Special Educational Needs and Disability, Reference: 0112’.

Download candidate application form Download

Download equal opportunities form     Download

Your Supporting Statement should address the criteria set out in the ‘Experience’ section of the person specification using examples to demonstrate how you meet as many of the essential requirements as possible. Please note the indicative timetable above and let us know if there are any dates when you are not available. Please also provide the names and contact details of two referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. If you do not wish us to approach your referees without your prior permission, then you should state this clearly.