Chief Operating Officer / Bursar

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Salary Description:
Excellent salary, depending on experience
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The Rector and Chair of the Court of Directors are seeking to appoint an ambitious, highly motivated, and financially astute individual to the post of Chief Operating Officer (COO). This is an important time for the Edinburgh Academy, as we celebrate our 200th year and look to develop further, guided by an exciting and innovative five-year vision for the School which commenced in 2023.

The COO will play a lead role in the implementation of this strategic plan. An ability to thrive in a dynamic and fast-paced working environment will be essential, as will proven experience of senior leadership and financial control in complex organisations. The successful candidate will work collaboratively with the Rector, the Court of Directors, and the Senior Management Team to help navigate the School through the potentially difficult political, economic, technological and societal challenges that lie ahead for the independent school sector in order to ensure the School’s long-term success.

Reporting to the Rector, the COO will lead a large and diverse team to ensure the successful delivery of the School’s operations. They will be a creative and accomplished senior leader, with outstanding financial and commercial acumen and the ability to empower and develop others to ensure the continued success of the Academy.

Whilst the COO role reports to the Rector for the day-to-day management of the school administration and finances, there is a further reporting line to the Court of Directors, through the Chairman of Directors and the Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, for all issues of Governance as Clerk of the Court. Prior experience in the education sector is not a prerequisite and applications are encouraged from candidates with commercial, charitable, private-sector and public-sector backgrounds.

The successful candidate will demonstrate support for independent education and a commitment to the Edinburgh Academy’s mission and values. The COO will provide strong operational leadership and financial understanding to ensure that the School continues to enjoy outstanding support services and robust finances. 

Applications are invited from well qualified candidates, and close at 5pm on May 16th, 2024.  Interviews are scheduled for week commencing May 27th, 2024.
Package DescriptionThe school prides itself on its warm and welcoming community, inclusive of all staff.  Our teaching staff work alongside the operational teams to ensure the smooth running of the school.  We value the contribution of all team members. 

Through involvement in the co-curricular programme all those who work with us can bring their passions to work. Developing our talent is important to us.  Access to training and professional development is available and encouraged.

Our reward package includes:

Generous Defined Contribution Pension Scheme
Access to onsite gym
Employee Assistance Programme
Employee Benefits Programme, including discounted access to health insurance, financial well-being products, cycle to work and electric car schemes as well as discounts to a number of major retailers
Fee discount
A three course lunch is provided during term time

Main ResponsibilitiesThis is multifaceted role, and the following is intended as an overview of the role.  It is not necessarily a complete statement of the duties of the post.


Partner with the Rector and Court of Directors to deliver the School’s short, medium, and long-term financial, operational, and commercial strategy. 
Develop the people strategy and culture to meet the needs of the School. 
Contribute, as a member of the Senior Leadership Team, to the longer-term educational aims of the School. 
Lead negotiations on all aspects of major contracts with third parties, including the use of outsourcing where appropriate. 
Lead all aspects of capital development. 
Support the Court of Directors’ strategic oversight review and reporting.

Leadership & Management 

Providing outstanding leadership to a multifunctional and diverse operational team, ensuring that all are supported and challenged to deliver their responsibilities to the highest professional standards.
In conjunction with the HR team oversee the recruitment, professional development, appraisal, and welfare of operational staff
Ensure that compliance, safeguarding and the welfare of pupils and staff inform and direct all decision making so that the School continues to evolve its practice in line with changes and legislation
Ensure that School Policies are current, reviewed within a timescale and meet the criteria of the governing body.


Working with the Financial Controller to deliver:
Oversight of the preparation and delivery of the annual budget within the context of the Five-year Plan and advising the Rector and Court of fee and salary levels
Responsible for the Finance Team and ensuring effective controls and processes are in place for the processing of the School’s financial business.
Provide effective management reporting for all of the entities to enable good and timely decision making at Court, Committee and SMT
Financial oversight of the School’s pension and fee remission policy, including staff fee remission and bursaries
Financial oversight and reporting of the School’s associated charities including the: Eric H Stevenson Charitable Trust and EA Foundation
Manage effective relationships with key external service providers and professionals, including the bank, auditors, insurers, pension and legal advisers. 


Responsible for developing and maintaining an outstanding, distinctive, and innovative physical environment for pupils and staff including: 
Strategic estate master-planning and the oversight of major building projects, including working with the Facilities Manager on the appointment of project management support, architects, engineers, and other major building consultants / contractors.
Alongside the Facilities Manager planning and overseeing capital projects and developments including management of professional advisers, drawing up specifications for new buildings, obtaining tenders and planning permission and liaising with school architects and builders. 
Oversee and manage all utilities contracts. 
Alongside the Facilities Manager, lead and manage the development and improvement of the grounds and gardens on the site. 

Information Technology

Ensure the development, procurement, delivery and management of the IT infrastructure, data, and services to support high-quality teaching and learning and administration. 
Working with the Director of IT to ensure the IT strategy is achievable and kept under review for speed of technology changes. 
Ensure the safety, security, and integrity of the School’s IT network with particular reference to ensuring that it remains secure from cyberattacks and viruses. 

Operations & Commercial Activities

In conjunction with the Facilities Manager and the Commercial Director of AccessEA, ensure the efficient and effective running of the following support operations:

Catering and cleaning services - oversee caretaking and cleaning to support the educational offering. Oversee the delivery of all catering services ensuring that they are being provided efficiently and to a high standard
Transport - in conjunction with the Health and Safety Manager, develop and manage an effective School Transportation Plan. Oversee and manage regulations pertaining to minibuses, licenses, driver training and assessments
Commercial activities - alongside the Commercial Director, generate significant opportunities for additional revenue generation, developing a long-term plan for commercial development and alternative revenue generation
Contribute as a pro-active member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) in both the strategic and operational leadership of the School. Assist the Rector, SMT and Court of Directors with the guiding of the strategic direction of the School 
Direct, motivate and develop the Operational Staff management teams to ensure the efficient day-to-day provision of operational services for the School, looking to develop operational systems as appropriate.
Liaise closely and regularly with the Senior Deputy Rector and Headteacher of the Junior School, as well as with other members of the Senior Management Team, to ensure that all aspects of School life operate efficiently and successfully. This will involve the co-ordination of logistical support for major events and being prepared to exercise broad ‘troubleshooting’ responsibilities for resolving routine operational issues. 
Assist the Rector with oversight of the interface between the Nursery, Junior and Senior Schools, the Commercial Director of AccessEA, the EAC (Academicals), the Foundation and the Eric Stevenson Charitable Trust
Oversee the delegation to the Senior Deputy Rector/Headteacher, the Estates Manager and the Commercial Manager of AccessEA, for the co-ordination of efficient and effective use of all buildings including the letting of buildings to assist income generation, de-conflicting commercial/charitable bids where necessary.

Exercise responsibility for the following operational services (where appropriate through the relevant managers), leading and inspiring the team to continuously improve service standards: 

The Ideal CandidateCandidate Profile: 

Proven successful leadership experience in a senior position, managing, organising and motivating multi-disciplinary teams, including successfully managing and implementing change 
Proven business and administrative expertise 
Experience of a wide range of facilities and event management responsibilities (preferably gained in an environment related directly or indirectly to education)
Numerate with demonstrable and relevant experience in financial and budget manag

Contact Details:
Tel: 000 000 0000
Contact: Laura Smith

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