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1. Job summary
Job title: Head of Educational Mentoring
Reports to: Head of Programmes
Staff responsibility: Line manager of educational mentoring team (currently 7 educational mentoring coordinators based in London (4), Birmingham (1), Oxford (1) and Cambridge/Peterborough (1)). May also many interns and volunteers.
Hours: Full time
Salary: £34,000 - £40,000 subject to experience
Location: Willesden Junction (London) with regular national travel
2. About RSN
At Refugee Support Network we are working towards a world where all young people displaced by conflict or crisis are able to build more hopeful futures. We do this by supporting young refugees and asylum seekers to access, remain and progress in education.
Currently, over 500 young people each year benefit from our core programmes:
Educational mentoring: we recruit and train community volunteers to provide bespoke 1:1 educational mentoring to young people in their area. We currently deliver this through educational mentoring hubs across London, Oxford, Birmingham, Cambridge and Peterborough.
Access to higher education: we offer –through a national helpline and face-to-face sessions– advice and support for young people who have the academic potential to attend university but who face challenges in doing so because of practical and immigration status-related barriers.
Specialist education and wellbeing support: we provide personalised advice, guidance and psychosocial support to young people who are NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) or facing significant barriers to educational progression.
Youth leadership: We design and deliver values based leadership programmes and training for young refugees and asylum seekers who have participated in our other programmes
Alongside our direct work with young people, we undertake international research and consultancy and provide training, ensuring that the voices of young refugees and asylum seekers are heard by the policy- and decision-makers who affect their lives. Our new strategy has also introduced an innovation stream, enabling us to remain responsive and creative in the face of emerging needs among the young people we exist to serve.
RSN was founded in 2009 by members of a church in north west London with widespread experience working in the refugee and international development sectors as well as a desire to see the most vulnerable in their community cared for and supported. Since then, we have sought to outwork our Christian ethos at every level of RSN - in our governance, values, strategy, staff care and direct work with young people - and we continue, nearly ten years on, to respect faith, culture and the role of these in our lives and the lives of the young people we work with and seek to serve.
RSN is led by our founder and Chief Executive, who, assisted by our senior leadership team, provides leadership and direction to our growing staff of 24. Our well-qualified, dynamic and thoughtful team has a wealth of experience in the refugee, education, youth, international development and humanitarian sectors, and is supported in the delivery of our programmes by over 150 volunteers. Our work is overseen and scrutinised by an active and engaged board of trustees who meet on a quarterly basis. We receive regular additional input and expertise from our Youth Advisory Board, and, when we need specialist guidance, from our team of expert advisors.
3. Job mission and description
The mission of the Head of Educational Mentoring is to lead and manage RSN’s UK-wide educational mentoring programme.
The Head of Educational Mentoring’s role will have three key strands:
1. Programme leadership and management. The post holder will be responsible to the Head of Programmes for the successful development and delivery of RSN’s educational mentoring programme. This will involve driving the programme’s strategy forward; line managing the team of seven Educational Mentoring Coordinators across five cities and supporting them to deliver excellent work; managing the programme budget; writing high quality funding applications; overseeing our relationships with key donors and other stakeholders; and developing and delivering a robust monitoring and evaluation strategy.
2. Promoting and building RSN’s expertise and profile. The post holder will seek opportunities to expand and promote awareness of RSN’s work. They will be a skilled communicator and trainer, able to represent RSN’s work, ethos and values at external meetings, events, conferences and other opportunities to ensure that the organisation has a positive public profile. They will develop strategic relationships and partnerships to support our work, including with major donors, trusts and foundations, NGOs, Christian organisations and churches.
3. Senior leadership across the organisation. As part of RSN’s senior leadership team, the Head of Educational Mentoring will also contribute to our broader organisational strategy and leadership. They will play an active role in organisation-level safeguarding, risk management, budget setting and recruitment, and will be actively involved in modelling, promoting and embedding our Christian ethos across the team.
1. RSN has a clear strategy for the development of our educational mentoring programme
RSN’s educational mentoring strategy is continually reviewed and updated, with gaps in provision monitored and recorded and suggestions for development presented to the Head of Programmes and Chief Executive.
RSN’s educational mentoring strategy is understood and outworked by all members of the educational mentoring team.
2. RSN’s educational mentoring team meets its programmatic objectives
All work streams within RSN’s educational mentoring programme are delivered to a consistently high quality and programme targets are met.
RSN develops strong partnerships with referring agencies and other organisations supporting the education and care of young refugees and asylum seekers (e.g. Local Authorities, housing providers, schools, colleges and other voluntary sector organisations)
RSN delivers outstanding training to our volunteers; training materials are high quality; and educational mentoring coordinators are supported to deliver accurate and compelling training sessions
Young people with complex cases are successfully referred to the Specialist Education Support team, and the Head of Educational Mentoring and the Head of Specialist Education Support communicate regularly and support each other’s work
The Head of Programmes, Chief Executive and Trustees receive accurate and timely reports about the programme’s impact and progress.
3. RSN’s team of educational mentoring coordinators are supported and developed to reach their potential
Progression opportunities within the educational mentoring team are developed and staff members receive support and direction to progress as appropriate
Members of the educational mentoring team receive clear and honest feedback about their work, and have opportunities to continually learn and improve their practice, in line with our values-led approach to staff care.
Members of the educational mentoring team have regular structured supervision meetings with the Head of Educational Mentoring with sufficient time to discuss challenges, opportunities and ways forward.
4. RSN’s educational mentoring programme budget is well managed and adequately funded
The educational mentoring programme has sufficient income for its budgeted expenditure and strong funding applications are written in partnership with the Head of Programmes, Head of Operations and Fundraising Officer.
Positive relationships are developed and maintained with key funders and partners, including with major donors, trusts and foundations, NGOs, faith-based organisations and churches, and all reporting requirements are met.
All information and data from the mentoring programme is kept up to date at all times, allowing us to maintain accurate GDPR compliant records, and facilitating efficient donor reporting.
RSN’s robust safeguarding commitments are maintained, with the Head of Educational Mentoring taking a lead (along with other members of the SLT) on the embedding, outworking and regular updating of our safeguarding policies and procedures.
All Educational Mentoring team members have access to and understand RSN’s safeguarding policies; are supported to recognise and respond to potential concerns; and a culture of listening to young people is modelled and maintained.
The Chief Executive and Head of Programmes remain fully updated about any safeguarding issues within the Educational Mentoring programme, and the post-holder is able to clearly assess and manage risks to individual young people, staff and the organisation.
Educational Mentoring team members receive timely and appropriate support and advice on safety and safeguarding issues, including when it is necessary to make referrals to relevant external agencies (including the Local Authority, the police and the emergency services).
6. RSN is strengthened through the input and investment of the Head of Educational Mentoring
RSN’s senior leadership team successfully implements the organisation’s three year strategy, making wise and bold decisions together and ensuring that all legal and other commitments are met.
RSN’s values, culture and ethos are evident in the Head of Educational Mentoring’s work, behaviour, language and attitude.
RSN’s values, culture and Christian ethos are articulated and embedded across the organisation
4. Person specification
Competency 1: Work with young people
Demonstrates a track record of working with young people from a variety of backgrounds, evidencing an ability to sensitively explore and understand a young person’s needs and provide appropriate support, helping them to build resilience.
Models a culture of empathy, care and capacity-building for children and young people.
Demonstrates a track record of supporting and enabling staff to maintain appropriate boundaries in their work with young people.
Competency 2: Leadership and management
Demonstrates an ability to create and communicate a programme level vision and strategic plan that inspires enthusiasm, confidence and commitment in staff working across multiple cities
Has a track record of securing and reporting on funds from a variety of sources to finance a programme
Stewards financial resources efficiently, wisely and compassionately in line with grant agreements; is able to make tough decisions about resource allocation to achieve outcomes
Demonstrates an ability to establish and implement effective systems for project management, record-keeping and reporting, and monitoring and evaluation
Proactively uses technology to improve efficiency, impact and sense of team, including for team members working outside London.
Competency 3: Staff development
Promotes and encourages a culture of humility, reflective practice, information sharing, encouragement, critical learning and performance development across their team
Demonstrates an ability to implement effective performance management processes and provide regular, encouraging and constructive feedback, supporting team members in their professional development and addressing issues in performance
Is able to judge when difficult conversations with team members or other professionals are needed and conducts them with care and respect, moving wherever possible to outcomes that facilitate personal and project growth
Competency 4: External representation
Develops a range of networks that enables programme objectives to be met, funding to be secured, and RSN’s profile to be positively raised
Is able to act as an ambassador for RSN including articulating our mission, values and Christian ethos to any audience, including those who do not share it
Competency 5: Written and verbal communication skills
Is able to engage a variety of audiences (volunteers, donors, referral partners etc), communicating accurately, compellingly and demonstrating expertise and passion for the issues.
Demonstrates an ability to support team member to grow in their ability to communicate (verbally) engagingly and accurately about RSN’s work.
Produces, and supports others to produce, high quality written materials which communicate information appropriately both internally and externally
Competency 6: Personal working style
Recognises that, as a leader, your personal working style impacts those around you, and acts as a role model for the RSN’s values and ethos
Maintains stable performance when under heavy pressure or stress, combining an ability to say no and prioritise with an internal motivation to work hard and get the job done. Does not project stress onto peers or direct reports and calmly and safely manages the stress of other team members.
Demonstrates good attention to detail by not letting important details slip through the cracks, noticing when things aren’t right and keeping accurate records.
Reflects critically on own performance and develops improvement strategies, taking initiative to plan and undertake professional development as required.
Does not cut corners ethically. Earns trust and maintains confidences. Does what is right, not just what is politically expedient.
Practices effective self-care to avoid burn out, including the ability to maintain appropriate boundaries in order to keep workload at a sustainable level.
Competency 8: Team working and culture setting
Builds strong collegial relationships, which give others confidence to approach you about any matter.
Identifies and facilitates opportunities for team members to work together and build relationships across programmes.
Sets a team culture of offering and receiving emotional support and/or practical assistance through words and actions.
Contributes to senior leadership discussions with ideas for improving all programmes and services.
Competency 9: Ethos and vision
Is passionate about RSN’s vision enabling young refugees to build more hopeful futures through education, inspired by the possibility of positive change and committed to nurturing hope within your sphere of influence.
Is motivated by personal core beliefs (whether Christian or not) and values being part of an organisation which is founded on, and seeking to outwork, the Christian faith.
Competency 10: Safeguarding
Demonstrates excellent safeguarding expertise and experience - both at the level of individual cases and organisational approaches
Is committed to maintaining and growing outstanding safeguarding expertise and best-practise, both across the Educational Mentoring team and the wider organisation
Has a track record of effectively challenging and promoting best safeguarding practice across a team, an organisation and when working with external professionals, ensuring that programmes are delivered in safe environments and that the safety and welfare of children and young people remains paramount.
5. Equal opportunities
RSN is committed to promoting equal opportunities in employment. Any job applicants will, except in circumstances justifying different treatment that are not unlawful (for example to comply with an occupational requirement), receive equal treatment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (Protected Characteristics).
6. Application process
You must have a visa that allows you to work in the UK to apply for this job.
To apply, please submit your CV and cover letter through Charity Job by 9am Friday 16th August.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to submit a short video and in person interviews will take place on the 6th and 10th of September.
In the covering letter (maximum 2 pages of A4) please demonstrate how you meet the competencies of this post as articulated in the above person specification and explain why you would like to work with Refugee Support Network in this particular role.
Disclosure of a Criminal Record
The Rehabilitation of Offenders 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 1986 does not apply to posts where there is access to children. This means that applicants for employment which involves working with children and young people must disclose any criminal record. If your application is successful, you are required to make these disclosures and consent to Refugee Support Network verifying the accuracy of your response with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). References will be taken up and a DBS check carried out for the successful candidates, but as part of our safer recruitment policy all shortlisted candidates are required to complete a Self Disclosure form before interviews.