Assistant Principal

Durham University

Assistant Principal (
Job Number:
Josephine Butler College
Grade 7:  £36,333 – £43,155 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent  Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Working Arrangements: potential to job share
Closing Date
: 29-Jun-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University 
At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally.   

Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University.  Further information about the University can be found here


The Role and Department 

The Colleges and Student Experience Division includes the 15 Maintained Colleges, Experience Durham, the Student Support and Wellbeing Directorate, and the Wider Student Experience Operations Directorate.


The Assistant Principal will work closely with other members of the senior management team, comprising Head of College, Vice-Principal and College Operations Manager. A collaborative and constructive approach is essential as this role supports all aspects of college life; engaging with students, the wider staff team, mentors, SCR members, alumni and other external stakeholders.

Key aspects of the role are to:

•      Support the college student community to proactively manage their wellbeing in collaboration with student leaders.

•      Provide first response to students experiencing wellbeing issues, including significant distress or personal risk.

•      Determine appropriate services, processes and mechanisms of support, referring to faculty support teams or specialist support or external services where necessary and appropriate. 

•      Provide a point of liaison and coordination for students involving multiple services and stakeholders.

•      Provide ongoing support to students through regular check-ins, ensuring the continued effectiveness of individual support provision from referral to conclusion. 

•      Lead an effective support service, line managing a small team.

The Assistant Principal will be an integral and visible member of the College community and therefore only limited opportunities for hybrid working.  A flexible approach is essential as some evening and weekend working may be required to support College activities and initiatives. The role also requires participation in the out-of-hours emergency on-call rota throughout the year.

Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the bottom of this job description. 
Working at Durham  
A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:  
•    30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 42 days per year.   
•    The University closes between Christmas and New Year
•    We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled  into the University Superannuation Scheme (USS). 
•    No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies. 
•    There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities.  
•    Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme. 
•    On site nursery is available and children’s clubs in the summer holidays. 
•    Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers). 
•    The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community 
•    Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.  
•    A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits.  
•    If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools.  If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas. 


Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion 

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.   As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI. 
We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role. 

What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification  
When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role.  Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.    
Your application should cover the following criteria:  

Essential Criteria

1.    Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).
2.    Professional practitioner with knowledge and expertise in the delivery and development of services to students to support well-being 
3.    Experience of implementing policies and procedures and supporting change and service improvements. 
4.    Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of students and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.
5.    Experience of participating in internal or external networks to share and discuss good practice, develop strong and productive working relationships and to positively influence the University’s reputation.
6.    Experience of managing and developing a team or teams and/or line management qualification. 

7.    Excellent spoken and written communication skills including the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.
8.    Strong digital competence across a range of digital devices and apps including digital communication tools and Microsoft 365 applications.
9.    Committed to continuing professional development to maintain professional recognition.
10.    Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.
11.    Ability to solve problems and decide on and plan appropriate solutions.
12.    Ability to contribute to planning at an operational level.

Desirable Criteria

  • Knowledge of coaching and mentoring methodologies and practice
  • experience of collaborating with volunteer networks

    How to Apply
    To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.  Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above). 
    While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.    
    Submitting your application  
    We prefer to receive applications online.   We will update you about your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to make sure you have not missed any of our updates. 
    What you need to submit    
    •    A CV
    •    A supporting statement or covering letter which outlines how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification.     


    Contact details    
    For a chat about the role or any further information please contact Sandra MacDonald, [email protected]

    Typical Role Requirements  

    Service Delivery/Development
    •    Show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.
    •    Manage the delivery of  student support and well-being services to a high standard and ensure that they are delivered in a student focussed way.
    •    Provide the best possible service by continually reviewing what is required from staff and students and Common Room leaders and contribute to ideas and service improvements.
    •    Work with your team to look for ways to improve across all areas of your work.
    •    Support activities which enhance the wider student experience

    Planning and Organisation
    •    Manage the delivery of operational activities carried out by the student support and well-being team which you are responsible for.
    •    Continually seek to enhance the services provided to your stakeholders and plan and implement any required improvements.
    •    Seek feedback from colleagues, mentors and Common leaders to plan future requirements.
    •    Manage and monitor the performance of and support services in the college and make recommendations to the Senior Management Team on how it can be improved.
    •    Review data on the level of service provided by your area to recommend areas for future improvement.
    •    Manage budgets and expenditure including buying (and returning) goods and services.

    Team Development
    •    Ensure that your team can deliver the required services by devolving and delegating responsibilities to appropriate team members.
    •    Carry out regular performance reviews to provide feedback on team and individual objectives and expectations and identify any development needs.
    •    Ensure that your team continues to develop by coaching and mentoring team members and delivering any training needs. 
    •    Support the welfare and wellbeing of your team referring more complex issues to specialist services.

    •    Use your operational expertise to participate in business meetings, working groups and sub-committees.
    •    Keep stakeholders updated by sharing key service information about support and well-being trends
    •    Use the best media and method to communicate with internal and external stakeholders.
    •    Create positive working relationships, including internal and external networks, using your networks to increase your knowledge and skills, swap information with peers.
    •    Use your expertise to participate in and monitor communities of practice and partnership working, both internally and externally.

    •    Any other reasonable duties.


    Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices – Durham University  which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.    

    When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

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