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Role details

Oak National Academy Chief Executive

Application deadline 6 April 2023


Oak National Academy
Sponsor department
Department for Education
Change Management
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
37 hour(s) per week
£120000 per annum
Length of term
5 years
Application deadline
11pm on 6 April 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    10 March 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11pm on 6 April 2023

  3. Sifting date

    15 May 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    29 June 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Introduction from the Secretary of State

A high-quality curriculum is hugely important, as it enables children from all backgrounds to receive the best education possible. Every child should benefit from a broad, ambitious, knowledge-rich curriculum, taught by highly skilled teachers. 
This is essential to the task of spreading opportunity and levelling up. It is crucial that every school has a well-designed and well-sequenced curriculum, which ensures children build knowledge in a broad range of subjects before going on to specialise after the age of 16, developing the skills for further education and training.
Building on the success of Oak National Academy’s work during the pandemic, the Government has established a new Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), working independently of government and collaboratively with the education sector. It will work with thousands of teachers to co-design, create and continually improve packages of optional, free, adaptable digital curriculum resources and video lessons.
 These optional resources will align with the curriculum in England, helping teachers deliver a high-quality curriculum. This sector-led approach will draw on expertise and inputs from across the country, involving teachers, schools, trusts, subject associations, national centres of excellence and educational publishers. A collection of stretch materials will also be developed, aimed at pupils across the UK.
We are seeking to appoint an outstanding individual with senior leadership experience and education sector expertise, including in the design and delivery of an evidence-informed, knowledge-rich curriculum, and the benefits of this for pupils and teachers. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to ensure that the new NDPB achieves its mission: to improve pupil outcomes and close the disadvantage gap by supporting teachers to teach and enabling pupils to access a high-quality curriculum. 
 My Department is focused on equality of opportunity and I am committed to ensuring that public appointments better represent the views of the communities which they serve. I particularly encourage applicants from under-represented groups, those based outside London and the South-East and applicants who have achieved success through non-traditional educational routes.
 If you want to support Oak National Academy in delivering its aim to help schools and teachers deliver a high-quality curriculum, and you have the skills and experience we are seeking, I hope that you will apply. If you wish to have an informal and confidential discussion about this role, please contact Jenny Oldroyd/ Stuart Miller, Directors of Curriculum and General Qualifications Directorate 

Role description

The Chief Executive of Oak National Academy is a full-time executive role providing leadership and management to Oak. The Chief Executive will work closely with the Board to ensure that Oak achieves its objective of advancing education for the public benefit, improving pupil outcomes and closing the disadvantage gap by supporting teachers to teach, enabling pupils to study and reducing teacher workload. The Chief Executive will oversee the performance and effectiveness of Oak and will be Accounting Officer for the organisation, responsible for fulfilling its duties in relation to managing public money. 

The Chief Executive will be responsible for:

·  The overall leadership, management and staffing of Oak, including the recruitment, development, and management of the senior team

·  Alongside the Oak Board and Ministers, setting Oak’s strategy and direction

· Serving as Oak’s Accounting Officer. As Accounting Officer, the Chief Executive will be personally accountable to Parliament for safeguarding public funds and ensuring value for money for the taxpayer

· Maintaining an effective working relationship with the Chair and Board to help inform Oak’s decision-making process, with consultation on all significant, strategic or potentially contentious issues as they arise. This will ensure that the organisation operates effectively and efficiently, within its remit, and meets its objectives for the education sector; and that all activities are conducted both lawfully and ethically. The Chief Executive will be an executive member of the Board

· Acting as the public face and senior spokesperson for the organisation, building and sustaining powerful networks across the education and technology sectors

· Setting and modelling the company’s culture, values, and behaviour

·  Ensuring the long term financial sustainability of the organisation and managing risk across the organisation

Person specification

Essential criteria

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate the following essential criteria:
● Proven track record of operating successfully in a senior leadership role, including the delivery of major projects – demonstrating the ability to play a key role in the leadership of the English education system and to provide strong and inspirational leadership to Oak and to the wider education sector
● Education sector expertise, including in design and delivery of an evidence-informed, knowledge-rich curriculum, and the benefits of this for pupils and teachers
● The ability to navigate the political landscape skilfully, and a good understanding of the government’s educational reform programme
● The ability to communicate effectively with, and command the respect and inspire the confidence of, Ministers, Parliament, education leaders and the Oak board and staff, as well as of students, teachers and parents; including the ability to represent Oak effectively in the media

Desirable criteria

The following are desirable:
● Experience of leading an organisation, its staff and culture
● Experience of successful leadership in the EdTech sector
● Skilled in collecting, analysing and using qualitative and quantitative data to inform continuous improvement

Application and selection process

How to apply

Please submit the following documents by email to: and Stephanie Macwilliam at
  1. A candidate application form

  2. A completed evidence template - you will need to demonstrate clearly how you meet each of the essential criteria (max 300 words per criterion – if this is exceeded only the first 300 words will be considered)
  3. A CV no more than two sides of A4 in Arial font 12
  4. A diversity monitoring form

Please include ‘Oak National Academy Chief Executive application’ in the subject box and submit each document as a separate attachment.

The Department is happy to accept applications in alternative formats from applicants who, for reasons of disability, may find it difficult to fill in the standard form.

If you would like to have a chat with us regarding reasonable adjustments, please contact us at:

Please note the following:

  • The Department cannot accept applications submitted after the closing date
  • Applications will be assessed solely on the documentation provided; please refer to the advert and checklist above to ensure you have provided everything requested
  • Applications will be acknowledged upon receipt
  • The Department cannot provide feedback at application stage; feedback will only be given to candidates unsuccessful following interview
  • If a large number of applications is received, a preliminary sifting exercise will be conducted. You should be aware that in this situation, your application might not be considered in full by all the members of the panel
  • For successful candidates invited to interview, the cost of a standard travel ticket to the venue will be reimbursed. If the interview cannot be attended in person, a remote option will be available.

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Panel 1 : Sir Ian Bauckham CBE (Oak’s Interim Chair) – Oak representative
Panel 2 : Jenny Oldroyd (Curriculum & General Qualifications Director) – DfE representative
Panel 3 : Clare Wagner (Head of The Henrietta Barnett School) – Independent panel member
Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAPs perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.
The Advisory Assessment Panel for this role comprises:
Panel 1 : Sir Ian Bauckham CBE (Oak’s Interim Chair) – Oak representative
Panel 2 : Jenny Oldroyd (Curriculum & General Qualifications Director) – DfE representative
Panel 3 : Clare Wagner (Head of The Henrietta Barnett School) – Independent panel member

Additional information for candidates

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life These are:

  1. SELFLESSNESS - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends;
  2. INTEGRITY - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties;
  3. OBJECTIVITY - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit;
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY - Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office;
  5. OPENNESS - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands;
  6. HONESTY - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest;
  7. LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

The Chief Executive will receive a basic salary of up to £120,000 per annum. 
Remuneration is taxable and subject to Class I National Insurance contributions
The Chief Executive may also be eligible for a non-pensionable, non-consolidated, discretionary performance-related bonus for exceptional performance each year

How to complain

Please contact the Department for Education’s Free Speech team if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at 
 We will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
<Department to add details of own privacy notice> 

Contact details

Work will be undertaken remotely with travel to London or other locations as required.