Head of Development and Partnerships

This is a wide-ranging and exciting role, crucial to NSN’s operations across many areas of its work. You will lead the development and execution of new strategic, multi-year funding opportunities in order to diversify NSN’s income base and safeguard its sustainability.

NSN is looking for an experienced development professional to join the Senior Management Team as Head of Development and Partnerships.

An unacceptable number of children fail to reach their potential because they lack access to an excellent education. Too often, a child’s background dictates their destination in life, entrenching inequality and impacting communities for generations to come. 

New Schools Network is passionate about ending educational inequality once and for all. We envisage a country where every child has an equal chance to succeed in life, irrespective of their background. Through our programmes, we partner with individuals, groups, trusts and business leaders to establish, run and improve pioneering and innovative schools.

We are powered by a dynamic and enthusiastic team, united by a passion for improving life chances for children through education.

Our values:

  • We take action to generate change.
  • We embrace innovation.
  • We believe in individual agency.
  • We celebrate diversity.
  • We commit to continuous improvement.

We actively encourage applications from all backgrounds, communities and industries. We are committed to building a team with diverse skills, experiences and abilities. As a Disability Confident employer, we are committed to making appropriate arrangements or adjustments where necessary in order to create a full and equal participation in the selection process. If you require any reasonable adjustments, please contact the recruitment team to see how we can meet your needs.

The role

This is a wide-ranging and exciting role, crucial to NSN’s operations across many areas of its work. You will lead the development and execution of new strategic, multi-year funding opportunities in order to diversify NSN’s income base and safeguard its sustainability. This would include the development of new services for schools and trusts. You will be a key member of NSN’s Senior Management Team and will play an active role in cross-organisational strategy-setting, operational planning, resource allocation and external engagements.

You will be comfortable acting as an advocate for NSN, both publicly and privately, to open, navigate and lead partners, funders, sponsors and donors towards deeper involvement with our work.

NSN is recognised as a thought leader in education – as the Head of Development and Partnerships you will play a vital role in enriching the debate and driving change in education, through creating and enhancing the strategic partnerships with key public, private and philanthropic partners.

Key responsibilities

You will be responsible for a range of activity, including but not limited to three core domains:

Business and programme development

  • Improving and expanding NSN’s service offering; strengthening the execution of key initiatives and amplifying organisational impact. For example, working with programme teams to refine programme delivery, introducing new services like the NSN Hub, where appropriate.
  • Identifying potential growth opportunities, including traded services, and manage the development process to initiate the scoping, design, implementation and growth of new services – such as, our Premium Trustee/Member Recruitment Services.
  • Driving increased revenue to achieve diversification and impact targets.


  • Establishing and leading  – in partnership with the Director – the implementation of NSN's fundraising strategy to drive the organisation forward.
  • Developing and leading a multi-faceted campaign to identify and/or build new donors for NSN, including well-written and compelling funding applications/proposals to grantmaking organisations like the National Lottery Community Fund. The result of your efforts will be robust, reliable and diversified income streams from individual donors, grant making trusts/foundations and corporate supporters.
  • Working effectively with the senior managers and service delivery teams to build fundable services, robust cases for funding and funder development activities that support sustainable growth.
  • Cultivating and managing donor relationships in partnership with NSN’s trustees. You will be accountable for managing donor relationships and ensuring an effective stewardship and retention plan is in place.


  • Embedding and developing relationships with key strategic and programme partners to support the execution of key initiatives.
  • Working collaboratively with partners to deliver increased value to new and existing service users. This may include scoping opportunities to secure support from other organisations to ensure both NSN and our users can access first-class specialist expertise, where required.
  • Providing strong strategic and analytical skills in order to develop an efficient corporate partnerships strategy.

As a key member of NSN’s Senior Management Team, you will support the development of our research and evaluation capabilities to support fundraising and partnerships, and help amplify the findings of research and evaluation with key audiences to develop the reputation of the charity – especially within or related to donors, trusts/foundations and partners.

Skills and experience

The ideal candidate will be able to evidence the following skills and attributes. We also strongly encourage applications from high-potential applicants who meet the ‘essential’ criteria (i.e. the ‘musts’) and can demonstrate transferable skills and an ability to grow into the role.


  • Strong leadership skills: a credible leader and an excellent communicator. Someone with a strong commitment to NSN’s vision and values, with a capacity to initiate and drive change. Self-motivated and enjoy inspiring others to thrive in a dynamic environment.
  • Strong analytical skills: Outward looking, intellectually curious and a fantastic listener. Someone who’s able to discern the existing and emerging needs of school and trust leaders.
  • Agility, flexibility and adaptability: Proactive, adaptive and industrious – with an entrepreneurial mindset. Someone who likes solving problems and getting stuff done. A positive ‘can do’ attitude, with a willingness to work hard and support the wider team.
  • Strong organisation skills: Well-organised and able to juggle multiple pieces of work simultaneously. This role has a wide remit and the work is varied; you’ll enjoy that mix and love a challenge.
  • Strong business development expertise.
  • Sound service design expertise: A commitment to basic service design principles: user-focused, collaborative, data/evidence-led and contextual.


  • You must have experience working in a similar business development, partnerships and/or fundraising role, with line management responsibilities.

  • You must have experience handling a wide remit of responsibilities and competing priorities.

  • You must be able to evidence your ability to deliver a wide range and high volume of tasks at pace.

  • You must be able to articulate your methodical approach to generating insight, evaluating opportunities and formulating clear, substantiated recommendations to senior stakeholders.

  • You must be able to evidence occasions where you have created new products/services that have resulted in tangible outcomes.

Desirable experience
  • Experience working within a high-quality service design environment is not essential, but would be advantageous.
  • Experience working within education and/or related sectors would be advantageous.
  • Experience leading a team – big or small.
  • Experience speaking in public and representing an organisation externally.

You should be able to:

  • evidence the ability to manage stakeholder expectations and facilitate difficult discussions.
  • demonstrate occasions where you’ve made sense of complexity and communicated it with clarity.
  • provide examples where you’ve effectively interpreted the (varied) needs of stakeholders and expressed clear insights to a range of audiences.
  • provide examples of occasions where you have anticipated and/or identified issues and developed effective solutions.
  • provide examples where you have led small, multi-disciplinary project teams.
  • provide examples where you have worked with multiple stakeholders – internal and external.
  • be able to evidence occasions where you have created new relationships and partnerships that have resulted in tangible outcomes.

£38,000-£45,000 dependent on experience


Flexible working; generous company pension contribution; generous leave allowance, plus Christmas closure; Cycle to Work scheme; access to office spaces (depending on location)


This is a full time, permanent role. As a result of changes made during the pandemic, all roles are currently based from home (subject to ongoing organisational review) with regular staff meetings in London, Manchester or Bristol.

How to apply

Candidates are invited to submit a CV along with a cover letter, stating their suitability for the role and how they fit the key competencies, skills and experience. Please submit your CV and covering letter via email to jobs@newschoolsnetwork.org.

Successful applicants will be invited to interview (virtually). Interviews will be held on 21st and 24th January. Candidates may be provided with a task to complete before interview.

NSN reserves the right to close this advertisement and appoint early if a high volume of suitable applications are received; we strongly encourage applications to be submitted as soon as possible.

Closing date
Midday 14th January 2022