Inspiring Leaders Programme

Aspirant Directors of Children's Services Programme

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Supported by
Department for Education
Contact email address
Closing date:
26th October
Job Ref:

Recruitment timetable

Application closing date
26th October 2020
Launch Day
24 November 2020
Residential 1 (including evening of 12th)
12 and 13 January 2021
23 February 2021
Residential 2 (including evenings of 23rd and 24th)
23 March, 24 and 25 March 2021
End of Programme
11 May 2021

Associated documents


Are you an inspirational leader? Are you a change-maker? Are you someone the UK’s young people can depend upon?

Introducing the upon Programme for aspiring Directors of Children’s Services.

Starting in late November 2020 and running until June 2021, the first upon Programme will welcome around 20 future leaders.

The delivery of the programme will be a blend of virtual and face to face learning - subject to COVID-19 arrangements. And don’t worry, we’ll make sure there are a mix of activities so you’re not glued to a screen and you get to take advantage of the informal interactions that you would benefit from during a residential programme.

This is an exceptional opportunity for someone who wants to make a real difference to the children, young people and families of our Borough. 

What you’ll experience

So, what support and learning will you get access to as part of the programme?

8 ‘taught’ days of leadership and management development including academic learning and the chance to discuss the reality with current DCS and go on learning visits.
A learning repository packed with helpful guides, videos, blogs from successful leaders and learning sessions you can take in your own time.
Personal support through feedback, a regional learning mentor and an employer sponsor.  There is optional academic accreditation and an optional coaching offer in year 2 and career advice and support.
You’ll grow as a person and as a leader during the programme which will equip you to feel more ready to step up to a DCS role with confidence, and you’ll be part of a national peer community during the programme and beyond.

In return, you just need to be fully committed to completing the programme.

Should you apply?

We’re looking for inspiring new leaders that children can depend upon. If the following description sounds like you, we would love to hear from you:

A strong moral purpose and passion to champion children and young people.
At least 3 years effective senior strategic leadership and management experience in local government children’s services or related fields and sectors.
If you fit these criteria, and you think you have the potential to become a Director of Children’s Services within the next three years then apply.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Leaders

We believe the future of Children’s Services is one of diversity, acceptance, and equal opportunities for all. There are some outstanding role models for all of us amongst the world’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders but we know that there remain barriers to progression which are long standing in this sector and others. To help achieve greater diversity of leaders, upon will be providing specific support for aspiring leaders, new Directors and employers, to help address some of the barriers to progression which are long standing in this sector and others. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Leaders.

If you are not already involved in this work and would like to know more, please contact us at

How To Apply

To apply for this programme, please ensure you submit the following:

- Responses to all application questions.

- An up to date copy of your CV

- A copy of your letter of support from your employer sponsor. Please ensure that the following details of your employer sponser are included on your letter of support:

         -Name of sponser

         - Position

         - Email address

         - Contact number

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an automated email to confirm that you have applied. If you do not receive this email, please make contact with GatenbySanderson on

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