Programme Director: Role Profile

Programme Directors provide senior-level leadership for each of the summer campuses, holding responsibility for the safety and welfare of approximately 75 to 200 young people and up to 25 staff at any one time.

The role is similar to that of a Deputy Head Teacher, with a strong pastoral element. The Programme Director is the main point of liaison with ORA’s Head Office and ultimately works to ensure that his or her team is delivering a programme which upholds ORA’s high standards of quality, safety and academic excellence.

Programme Directors must quickly bond their team and develop an understanding of their staff members’ strengths and weaknesses. Campus teams are, in the main, made up of current university students and recent graduates, many of whom may be venturing into a working environment for the first time. Harnessing the team’s enthusiasm, energy and considerable skills, whilst ensuring they feel supported and reassured that they have the backing of somebody more senior is key to creating a positive dynamic, within which the pro-active, energetic and incredibly committed staff team can thrive.

In addition to being approachable and nurturing to staff, Programme Directors must be highly skilled in communicating with and working alongside young people. They will at all times need to model appropriate and attentive care, managing any behavioural issues in a calm, timely and respectful manner and build a positive rapport with the students in their care. They will need a clear understanding of issues concerning the safeguarding of young people and be able to support staff in thinking about these issues.

Further Details

The successful candidate will have significant leadership experience working within an educational setting with young people. They will have the authority to maintain order and discipline, whilst remaining positive and approachable for both students and staff. They will be comfortable communicating with parents, especially in relation to the various behavioural and pastoral situations that may arise in a residential setting, including student expulsions, accidents or homesickness. In their thinking and previous direct work with young people and staff, they will be able to demonstrate a clear ability, approach and manner that is warm, empathetic and hands-on. An enthusiasm for working with a diversely international student group is vital, as is the ability to lead staff teams (particularly in dealing with a degree of adversity) in demanding, fast-paced settings.

Programme Directors must also manage the administrative challenges of the programme efficiently, rotating staff cover, ensuring that staff paperwork is read and signed off, staff appraisals are completed and liaising with the Head Office Operations Team when there are more complex issues. Programme Directors will be the face of ORA to students, staff and parents and must be comfortable upholding this role confidently. In most cases, campuses are based within colleges of the University of Oxford and Programme Directors must also be responsible for liaising with college staff in order to iron out any problems and maintain a good working relationship.

Why become a Programme Director?

The Programme Director role is an excellent opportunity for senior-level staff with a passion for working directly with young people. Many Programme Directors relish the opportunity to return to working intensively with students, at a time in their career when they perhaps find their contact time with students quite reduced. The short, self-contained nature of the programme provides a rare opportunity for talented leaders to work creatively in crafting a uniquely meaningful experience, both for the students and their staff teams and this is hugely rewarding.

With opportunities for family to visit or stay on the programme it is a unique opportunity to spend a summer in the wonderful setting of Oxford.

What skills do you need?

  • Exceptional management skills
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Able to commit fully to the programme

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