Job Specification: Director Centre for Self Managed Learning
Home > Job Specification: Director Centre for Self Managed Learning

Job Specification: Director Centre for Self Managed Learning

  • Role title: Director
  • Reports to: Centre for Self Managed Learning Board of Trustees
  • Location: Brighton area, Sussex
  • Salary: £50,000 pa
  • Term: Permanent

About Us

Self Managed Learning was developed in a number of educational and organisational contexts from 1979 but, up until 2000, the focus had been on work with adults. Over this first period of 20+ years, the approach was validated using the most rigorous research evidence on how adults can best learn and on extensive evaluations of academic and organisational programmes. The approach was used by most of the largest UK companies as well as by the NHS, local authorities and the Civil Service. This work then developed with organisations internationally and Self Managed Learning programmes have occurred throughout Europe and North America.

In 2001, we established the SML College in Sussex, UK. We have since been able to show that SML, by providing genuine personalised learning, is also superior to other approaches for children and young people. This fact has been validated by independent academic research.

We have recently secured a 10-year lease on a new premises for the charity that provides the opportunity to develop the College and also run some exciting new projects. Given the accelerating changes in the world, good learning is central to addressing the future of the planet. We are part of a global revolution in learning and education that supports people taking charge of their own learning.

Some new projects include summer schools for those in school who don’t get the chance to learn to take charge of their own learning; post 16 provision; creation of an exam centre and support for the development of new SML centres. Work that we have done in the past needs developing including programmes for adults; projects in schools; the Festival of Learning (launched this year); research and publications; and outreach projects.

About the Role

This is a totally new position in the charity and has been warranted by the extension of the charity’s work. Operating within the principles of Self Managed Learning (SML), the Director will act as an effective advocate for the charity and its beneficiaries. Given the uniqueness of the approach to learning the person appointed will need to embrace the values and beliefs underpinning our work as well as provide the necessary leadership for the charity.
The person appointed will report to the Board of Trustees of the charity.

About the Candidate

The ideal candidate will be a lifelong learner. Previous experience of SML is not necessary but the position holder would be expected to live and breath Self Managed Learning. The person will have a passion for helping others to learn and get a really sense of satisfaction from seeing others achieve.
The Director will need to be able to lead day-to-day activity as well as ensuring effective financial controls, legal compliance and good governance across all aspects of the charity. We are committed to the sustainability of our work and so long-term strategy needs integrating with practical hands-on capability. As one of our organisational clients puts it – ‘helicopter mind’ is essential. That means that engaging with real live messy issues must be balanced with a deep awareness of and commitment to the bigger picture of the need for a new educational paradigm.

Duties and Responsibilities


  • Lead the continuation and support regarding SML processes for people of all ages based on SML principles.
  • Develop a deep, personal knowledge of SML through theoretical and experiential means to become the face and voice of the charity.
  • Lead the promotion and development of the charity’s work, raising the charity’s profile and maximising its reach.
  • Support team members, employees and contractors within all Centre for SML projects – existing and new.
  • Lead by example, establishing a culture of community, professionalism and inclusion, supported by coaching and development.
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with all relevant organisations and individuals to promote the work of the charity.


  • Liaise with the Trustees on the continuing development of the charity’s overall mission and strategic vision within the principles of SML.
  • Working with the Trustees, ensure the charity continues to develop its presence within the national and global education arena.


  • Oversee and manage all operations of the charity to ensure they produce the desired results and are consistent with the overall mission, strategy and principles of Self Managed Learning.
  • Hold responsibility for the recruitment, management, development and effective deployment of employees, contractors and volunteers.

Financial management

  • Ensure the charity’s financial resources are managed effectively, in line with the financial policy to ensure the charity remains in good financial health.

Governance and Compliance

  • Ensure systems, policies and processes are robust and resilient and meet all legal, best practice and regulatory requirements.
  • Ensure the safeguarding of students and any vulnerable adults with whom the charity works.


  • Carry out any other duties as may be reasonably requested.
  • Be conversant with all aspects of the operation and willing to cover/provide support should the need arise.

Person Specification



  • Educated to degree level or equivalent.
  • Evidence of CPD and proactive approach to own learning



  • Proven record in a senior leadership position in a similar sized charitable, not for profit or commercial organisation.
  • Demonstrable experience of learning mindset and passion for own personal learning and development.
  • Experience of successfully leading diverse teams and managing, coaching and developing staff.
  • Experience of effective budgeting and meeting cost and income targets.
  • Robust approach to and experience in governance, implementing new processes and managing risk.
  • Experience of developing and managing effective partnership and external relationships.


  • Experience of working with volunteers.
  • Experience working with young people.
  • Experience of managing significant organisational change.
  • Experience of marketing, fundraising and PR.
  • Formal communication and public speaking capabilities.

Skills and Knowledge


  • Highly organised and personally effective.
  • Exceptional communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to persuade and influence both face to face and in writing.
  • Strong financial skills
  • Analytical abilities and problem-solving skills.


  • Understanding of wider educational context within schools, Higher Education, government and alternative provision.

Personal Attributes

  • Has a strong belief in the value of learning.
  • Takes responsibility for their actions.
  • Transparent, high integrity and consultative approach to leadership.
  • Inclusive, flexible and collaborative.
  • Has a drive for continual improvement.
  • Has a high tolerance for uncertainty.

The successful candidate will also be expected to be fully IT literate, and ideally have access to a car and hold a clean driving licence.

To apply

To be considered for this post applicants must provide a CV and covering letter. In the covering letter please describe how you meet the "About the candidate" section in the job specification and why this role appeals to you.

Please email your application to Dr Ian Cunningham at the Centre for SML at

The deadline for applications is Monday August 21st 2023.

The application process:

A long list of candidates will be selected for a telephone interview and asked to demonstrate how they fulfil the essential criteria in the job description. Following this, a short list of candidates will be invited to an interview day at the College that will involve meeting staff and students, evaluation tasks, giving a presentation and an interview.