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Programmes Manager

Challenge Partners
Closing date
1 Jun 2022

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Contract Type
Full Time
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Challenge Partners offers practitioner-led school improvement programmes that are independently evaluated as effective. Our unique approach to programme management is critical to the success of our programmes. The Programmes Manager will work closely with the Head of Programmes and Evaluation and the programmes team, courageously leading the delivery and development of consistently high-quality and relevant programmes and continuously improving these in light of programme evaluations.

The Programmes Manager will have the following key areas of responsibility and will be expected to undertake other responsibilities commensurate with the role as requested:

Strategic leadership

Use latest research and emerging leading practice to inform recommendations for the development of Challenge Partners' programmes' strategic direction

Develop and maintain a practitioner-led network to ensure programmes remain current with the latest education research and relevant to schools

Present on programmes to internal and external stakeholders as required, including the recruitment of schools or school groups, and the facilitation of workshops or working groups

Produce and share regular management information (financial and non-financial), and develop additional programme reports upon request. Develop hypotheses about Challenge Partners' programmes, and use data to test these assumptions, and feed this into programme improvements

Be an engaged member of the middle leadership team, providing input into the organisation's strategy, future planning and priorities

Programme Management and Evaluation

Oversee delivery of events, school visits, and associated activities which comprise the programme/s you have responsibility for

Oversee the production and use of a risk management and action plan for programmes, updating leadership and trustee stakeholder groups as appropriate

Oversee your team in budget setting and budget management throughout the delivery year. Manage over- or under-spends with internal and funding stakeholders

Lead on the development and management of programme quality assurance processes

Identify all critical stakeholders. Maintain relationships with donors, school and trust leaders, service providers and other stakeholders as identified and take responsibility for resolving all queries and operational issues

Define programmes' governance arrangements and manage programme decision-making accordingly

Lead on the onboarding and induction of schools to your areas of programme delivery each academic year, working with the Partnership and Network Development Team to ensure interdependencies are clear and well planned for

Support the Head of Programmes and Evaluation to deliver the internal and external programme evaluation strategy, drawing conclusions and appropriate actions and presenting these to leadership and trustee stakeholder groups as appropriate

Work with the Communications, Marketing and Engagement Manager to demonstrate how the quality of our programme delivery aligns with Challenge Partners' core objectives (including vision and values), and how we provide value for money for our stakeholders

Programme Development

Support the Head of Programmes and Evaluation to develop and lead new programmes that align to, and improve delivery of, CP's core objectives

Lead on the development of strategies for new programmes or the development of existing programmes, developing and maximising stakeholder relationships as required

Manage any new or pilot programmes in their initial phases to ensure smooth transition to full programme delivery status.

Make recommendations for programme development initiatives and lead on their implementation

Line Management

Ensure that your teams understand Challenge Partners' strategy and the role they play within this

Provide high-quality and consistent line management to your teams, including regular one-to-one meetings and performance reviews

Support your teams' development through access to appropriate opportunities, and identifying internal and external training needs to incentivise and retain high-performing staff

Ensure direct reports have the management input, training, resources and guidance they need to undertake their roles effectively and efficiently. Including but not limited to:

Line management


Risk management


Project Management

Ensure that your teams work well with each other, members of the wider Central Team, and school leaders within the network

In addition to the skills and experience required to fulfil this role, we are looking for someone aligned to our mission and values (as available on our website), ambitious for Challenge Partners and the schools, trusts and young people we serve. The ability to move seamlessly between strategy development, programme management and operational delivery, as well as collaboration with colleagues and practitioners is essential - we are a small team and everyone is expected to get stuck in! A good understanding and/or experience of working with/within the English education system would be an advantage - if you do not have this yet, you will need to set out what you will do (with support and training from us) to gain this understanding.
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