Job title: Chief Operating Officer Closing date: 29 June 2014

Location: London (central) Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer
Contract type: Permanent

About Teach First

How much you achieve in life should not be determined by how much your parents earn. Yet in the UK, it too
often is. We are an education charity. We work with like-minded people and organisations towards a day where
every child has the education they are entitled to. We train people with leadership potential to be
inspirational teachers in schools in low-income communities across the country. These leaders go on to work in
schools and other sectors of society towards our vision: a future where no child's educational success is limited
by their socio-economic background.

We’re a top 100 charity by revenue with a turnover of £60m and 430 highly driven colleagues. We’re also a
rapidly growing organisation, currently operating across ten different geographical locations in England and
Wales. Over the past 12 years we have become the largest graduate recruiter in the UK and in 2014 Teach First
were voted #10 in the Sunday Times 100 Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For. We have already
changed the lives of thousands of young people in some of the most challenging schools but our mission is far
from complete.

For more information on the work we do and which regions we operate in, please visit
Job purpose
As Chief Operating Officer (COO), you will be responsible for maximising the overall impact of Teach First by
driving a coherent strategy across the organisation’s operational teams as well as playing a key strategic
influencing role as part of the Senior Executive Team. You will drive key decision making and work across the
whole organisation to ensure that we are focusing our activity on where we can have the greatest impact and
be as effective as possible.
Key accountabilities
The COO role is fundamental to our success and requires someone with a demonstrable level of senior gravitas
and strategic ability. You will bring expertise in organisational development and be able to liaise at the very
top levels of business and education to enable Teach First to maximise its impact.

We are seeking a vision-focussed and proven strategic leader to join us as our new COO. You’ll bring business
and major organisation experience to the Executive Team to support, coach and guide them to adapt to
changing internal and external priorities. You should have experience of developing a high-performing
organisation through leadership of processes, planning and change, working with and through talented,
committed individuals in a values-based culture. Teach First is a hugely ambitious and rapidly growing
organisation and you will play a crucial role in future proofing the charity, supporting and enabling the
fulfilment of the Teach First vision.

Organisational leadership and influencing

 Developing and evaluating organisational strategy and performance in collaboration with the Executive
Team and wider Senior Leadership Team.
 Leading the relationship with Trustees and the Finance Committee on organisational plans and
 Ensuring that the organisation is on track to deliver against its annual goals and is on track to deliver
the Fair Education Impact Goals, identifying areas that require additional support and addressing
 Delivering operational and organisational effectiveness with emphasis on enterprise performance
management, efficiency and competitiveness.
 Leading the strategic approach to organisational resources, reporting key financial analysis, and
making recommendations to the Executive Team and Trustees regarding financial decisions.

 Determining and championing key initiatives that will enable the ongoing sustainable growth of the
organisation to ensure they are embedded effectively.
 Identifying key issues across the organisation and ensuring they are resolved quickly.
 Supporting the CEO in leading the organisation.
 Development and operation of organisational wide KPIs.
 Exploring and developing external networks to ensure that our operating model/teams are constantly
 Ensuring that Teach First and its Trustees are able to meet their legal and statutory governance duties
and responsibilities, including their effective oversight of the financial health of the charity and their
engagement in risk.
 Attending profile raising/fundraising events to increase awareness of our vision.
Leadership of the Operations division

 Identify, develop and direct the implementation of strategy for operational management and
development to support the sustainable growth of the charity.
 Leadership of operational and functional excellence in all enterprise support functions including
Finance, Human Resources, IT, Facilities and Governance, Compliance and Legal.
 Line management responsibility for the Heads of Operations departments.
 Ensuring that each department has effective plans in place to use their technical expertise to influence
the rest of Teach First and deliver against the commitments made in the Operations Statement of
 Ensure strategic alignment across the operational departments, including sound use of resources and
ensuring sufficient capacity to deliver against ambitious goals.
 Champion Operations division initiatives.
 Develop and maintain a Programme Office, responsible for the design and execution of organisational
Behavioural and technical competencies
As a strongly values-driven organisation, we need a COO who will exemplify and safeguard the values that have
formed the core of our success to date. We’re looking for a strategic leader with a substantial track record of
senior management experience, exceptional operational insight and strong stakeholder management. A proven
ability to inspire and mobilise high quality teams to deliver against organisational strategies is also essential.

 Extensive experience driving the development of organisational strategy, and ensuring this is
translated into measurable operational plans.
 Visionary leadership skills with the personal drive and energy to inspire and motivate colleagues and
 A proven track record of strategic leadership in a high performing organisation.
 A demonstrable ability to build strong, sustainable relationships with a range of stakeholders,
mobilising them effectively in support of a common goal.
 High levels of personal impact and the ability to rapidly command the respect of senior colleagues and
external stakeholders.
 High level strategic planning and organisational skills and clear strengths in tracking tasks, assessing
progress and following through the execution of plans.
 An empowering, motivational approach to people management, characterised by high levels of trust
and a readiness to allow direct reports autonomy to deliver against agreed goals.
 Making informed, timely decisions and using sound judgment to prioritise actions.
 Previous strategic Finance, IT and/or Human Resources experience would be advantageous.
Teach First values and behaviours
Championing Teach First
 Acts as an ambassador, raising the profile of Teach First
 Leverages information and feedback at all levels in the organisation to reinforce the Teach First
 Upholds safeguards and promotes Teach First values and philosophy.

 Develops and communicates a vision of a healthy and positive working culture.
Achieving results
 Confidently takes independent decisions for own function and collective decisions for Teach First as
part of the Executive Committee.
 Consults with Heads of Operations departments to ensure robust and well informed decisions are made.
 Challenges information provided by others and seeks additional/ new sources to keep up to date.
 Balances organisational needs with external pressures from Politicians & Educational bodies.
 Develops clear measures of success for their division and Teach First as a whole ensuring level and
quality of output are both achieved.
 Takes full accountability for Teach First financial sustainability ensuring allocation is appropriate
across the organisation.
Managing and developing self
 Role models ethical behaviours.
 Demonstrates the right balance between being an organisational leader and the strategic leadership of
their function.
 Drives a learning culture within the organisation.

Seeking, accepting and giving feedback
 Promotes a constructive and professional feedback culture in the organisation.
Communicating and influencing
 Takes responsibility for their division within Teach First - communicating its direction and motivating
their employees to pursue it.
 Confidently communicates and influences with politicians, Trustees and corporate sponsors.
 Inspirational in the way they use influencing skills, winning over the whole organisation.
 Initiates and implements new direction and ways of working in the organisation.

Developing relationship and team-building
 Takes responsibility for fostering a sense of community within the Teach First developing positive
relationships internally and externally.
 Develops strong professional relationships with Trustees and other key stakeholders.
 Builds the Teach First brand externally through regular representation at external events.
 Role models effective teamwork with other Executive Committee members.
Prioritising, planning and organising
 Develops strategic plans for their division and for the organisation as a whole as part of the Executive
 Providing strategic coordination of multiple functions.
 Sets priorities for their function and for Teach First as part of the Executive Committee.

Innovating, adapting to and managing
 Initiates organisational wide change.
 Sets agenda and explains rationale for strategic change within function and wider organisation.
 Exploits opportunities to enable the Teach First organisation to continuously improve.
 Takes responsibility for instilling a sense of possibility across the organisation.
Managing, empowering and developing others
 Takes a long term, holistic view of organisational challenges and opportunities and consider the people
resource required.
 Leads the organisational learning and development strategy to develop future leaders.
 Takes a cross organisational leadership role.

Providing strategic direction and vision
 Responsible for recognising external trends and the impact they will have on the organisation.
 Develops ambitious vision, strategy and goals for Teach First.
 Reviews Teach First's strategy and their function's strategy regularly to meet requirements for growth.
 Builds the future vision and strategy of the organisation as part of the Executive Committee.
 Is accountable to Trustees on progress against KPIs for the organisation.
National & London Office, 4 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AU (nearest tube, London Bridge)
Circa £100,000 + benefits
Teach First’s core benefits include 27 days holiday per annum (7 of which must be taken during the two weeks
of Christmas and New Year office closure), participation in the pension scheme (with an employer contribution
of up to 6%), life assurance, income protection and private healthcare.

Through our flexible benefits platform access to childcare vouchers, interest free travel season ticket
loan/bike loan, dental membership, health screening, discounted gym membership, travel insurance, Give As
you Earn (GAYE) and the option to buy/sell annual leave.
More information
For more information visit

If you have a question about the COO position or Teach First please email and
someone from the Recruitment team will respond within 24 hours.
How to apply
Please send a CV and cover letter to outlining why you want to join Teach First and
how you meet the competencies for the position.
Next steps
We aim to provide feedback to all applications within 10 working days from the closing date.

The selection process for this role involves a three stage interview process. First stage interviews are
scheduled to take place on 08 and 10 July, with second stage interviews on 17 July and final stage interviews
on 31 July 2014. The assessment format will be varied, including competency-based interview questions and a
presentation with the opportunity to meet senior stakeholders and Trustees.

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