Head of SEN – Newcastle CC to £72k

Head of Special Educational Needs  (0-25)

Salary: up to £72k + 3 SPA points (+ pay award pending)

Education in the city

Newcastle is a great place to work.  The recent creation of the North of Tyne Combined Authority means the strong relationships we have with our near neighbours of North Tyneside and Northumberland will become even more fruitful in the coming years.  Enshrined within this devolution deal is a focus on education improvement and inclusive growth across the region.

We have high aspirations for our children and young people, and our schools and academies have high expectations of us.  Together, we are implementing a new sector-led approach to education in the city.  All of our schools and academies have a voice in deciding how we raise standards, improve attendance and work towards our target of every child and young person in Newcastle attending a good or outstanding school.

The role

To achieve this, we need to improve our offer to those children and young people who are facing difficult educational and personal challenges in their lives.  The Head of Special Educational Needs (SEN) is critical to ensuring we can do this quickly, effectively and in a sustainable way.  Elected members have made improvement in the educational achievement of vulnerable pupils’ education as one the key priority areas for the council over the next five years so that Newcastle is:

‘…the best place in the UK to live …with communities that are attractive and safe and where people, particularly the most vulnerable, get the help they need.’ (Newcastle City Council Plan, 2017).

As the new Head of SEN you will be a champion for SEN, leading, shaping and implementing our strategy for special educational needs across the city.  As a thriving city, we’re working hard to meet the increasing demands of a growing number of children and young people with the full range of special educational needs.  You will ensure that their voice is heard, will raise awareness of their needs and ambitions with all of our partners, and ensure diverse service provision helps all children to fulfil and exceed their potential.

You will be an influential decision maker and senior manager, accountable for statutory, service and strategic outcomes for those with SEN whilst working closely with partners and colleagues in health, children’s and adult social care services to meet current and future needs.  You’ll oversee the performance of a diverse range of service providers including direct, indirect and commissioned services.  Working closely with the Schools’ Forum and supporting officers, you’ll ensure the effective oversight and management of the High Needs budget and other funding streams to ensure delivery of strategic priorities and statutory duties within ever-tightening budgets. 

There will be some key priorities – building effective relationships with schools, health partners and corporate colleagues to ensure we meet targets, raise ambition and deliver seamless services across the system; ensure our services are fit for purpose (with all this entails); delivering and developing our SEN Implementation Plan, mapping our provision to ensure we meet current and coming needs, shaping the market to ensure better value for money, and get us ready for our Ofsted follow-up visit in mid-2020.  In this high-profile role you will have an impact across the city.

The Head of SEN oversees a net budget of £43.2m (includes the High Needs Block, SEN Statutory services and SEN transport) plus £1.3m in capital funding. Staff numbers are 131 FTE.

The person

You will have a deep experience of local authority education with a focus on SEN gained either as headteacher, head of school or local authority senior officer.  You will bring deep knowledge of SEN – the agenda and the practice, combined with a track record in developing service and support provision. You will be able to influence and impact SEN across a complex stakeholder and partner landscape.  You will have led comparable or relevant services in a complex, multi-partner system, with experience of working across institutions and diverse providers.  You can lead and shape services through engagement, innovation, delivery and performance management at pace, under local and national scrutiny.  You’ll be stretched, challenged and developed as you move this agenda forward, so that all our children thrive and have a successful future.

To download the JD and Person Specification for this role, please fill out the form below, click “Send” and you will be taken to another webpage where you can view and save a PDF of the JD/PS.

More Information


Closing dateMonday 21 October
Technical (First) Interview4 or 5 November
Assessment centre and Final Panel interview19 November