Head of Finance and Operations
Claremont School is looking to recruit a Head of Finance and Operations. This role will be part of the School Leadership Team (SLT).
The role involves ensuring accounting records are complete, accurate and in line with IFRS; financial planning and analysis; implementing adequate controls and processes; management and training of the school Finance Team; coordination and communication with all relevant stakeholders; acting as a business partner to the School Principal.
The role also involves overseeing the school operations, with particular focus on facilities management and school transport. The successful candidate will act as line manager to the Estates Bursar and the Transport Manager.
The role reports into the School Principal with a dotted line into the ISP Europe Region Finance Director. The selected candidate will manage a team of 5 people – Estates Bursar, Transport Manager and 3 members of the Finance Team.
This role is crucial to the sustained growth of the school, promotion of their position as the ‘school of choice’ in their local area, and the effective delivery of the Amazing Learning message that is at the centre of the ISP vision.
About Claremont School
Claremont School is a British school based in East Sussex, UK. Set across two sites in Bodiam and a 125 acre estate in St Leonards, it offers day and boarding school to students aged 1 to 18 years. Established in 1925, the school joined ISP in 2018 and currently educates over 600 students in Nursery, Pre-Prep, Prep School and Senior School.
At Claremont, the school’s aim is for every child to develop a positive and proactive attitude towards learning which will support them throughout their lives. The strong academic, co-curricular, extracurricular and pastoral teams ensure that each child and student has the opportunity to develop knowledge, confidence, self-esteem, good learning habits, and a moral sense within a busy and vibrant community. This is enhanced by small class sizes and vibrant, imaginative learning opportunities.
The International Schools Partnership (ISP) is creating a leading learning-centred international family of private schools around the world, all of which aim to be the school of choice in their local area. Learning is at the heart of everything we do for our students, colleagues, and parents. We are committed to getting better, all the time.
ISP was founded by an experienced team of committed educationalists and operators who have worked together over many years. The group has grown rapidly over the past 7 years and is now one of the largest schools’ groups globally and currently has over 55 schools, operating in 17 countries, structured into 8 regions, delivering multiple curricula, and building on local brands and reputations, with ambitions to be 75-100 schools, within 5 years. With over 50,000 students and 8,000 staff, it is a complex group and one which is growing very rapidly both through investment in its existing schools, opening new schools and through acquiring schools.
- Ensure general ledger and financial statements are complete and accurate.
- Ensure that payables, receivables, and invoicing functions of the school are complete, accurate and fully reconciled.
- Establish and maintain strong controls around credit collections for the school. Monitor school debtor levels and proactively lead discussions with parents to ensure debt is collected timely.
- Establish a robust system of control for the purchase of goods and services.
- Ensure general ledger reconciliations including deferred income and cash and relevant Balance Sheet accounts are performed.
- Design and maintain a robust internal control system and compliance environment for all functions in the school to ensure the safeguarding of regional assets, monitor and enforce internal controls and maintain a documented system of policies and procedures.
- Maintain the fixed asset register by supervising the recording of all items in the inventory, maintaining pertinent records, and ensuring adequate treatment of fixed asset acquisitions and disposals.
- Responsibility for ensuring that local cash management is optimised.
- Comply with government reporting requirements and tax filings.
- Liaise with banks, audit, legal and tax providers as necessary.
- Work closely with HR on people related processes such as payroll, performance evaluations, annual salary increments.
- Ensure the timely reporting of all monthly and annual financial information per ISPs’ monthly reporting timetable.
- Prepare monthly budget variance reports and work with the School Principal on corrective actions to ensure the budget is met.
- Co-ordinate and ensure accurate reporting of cash collections and debtors reporting.
- Establish processes to ensure accurate data collection and review of monthly KPI data for the schools’ enrolments and the schools’ headcount.
Financial Planning and Analysis
- Co-ordination of the annual budget and bi-annually P&L forecasting process for the school, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the underlying assumptions and communication with all functional areas across the school.
- Variance analysis on any significant deviations from the budget.
- Business partner to School Principal to ensure that targets set are challenging but achievable.
- Work on mitigation plans for any underperformance.
- KPI and performance monitoring to identify any areas for improvement
- Assist the group with gathering data and preparing reports for key personnel as requested.
- Support the school with the utilisation of PBCS Planning & reporting system.
- Support the Head of School with the Annual Fee Setting process.
- Produce monthly cash flow statements versus budget and forecast cash projections, to ensure the school has adequate funding and assess the impact of significant cash outflows on cash forecasts.
- Act as line manager for the Estates Bursar who oversees the maintenance and management of the school’s buildings and grounds, as well as the health, safety and compliance aspects of the school operations.
- Work with the Principal to identify essential CAPEX works and projects required to support the school’s growth and development.
- Work with the Principal to ensure any CAPEX budget is appropriately allocated to ensure the upkeep and maintenance of the building.
- Conduct regular review of actual expenditure for capital projects versus approved budget spend, highlight deviations and implement controls to avoid overspend.
- Develop strategies for optimizing energy consumption.
- Oversee the management of the school transport service by developing a close working relationship with the school Transport Manager.
- Work with the School Principal and the Estates Bursar to maximise current revenue streams and identify new opportunities.
- Oversee the procurement of goods and services and develop a best practice approach.
- Review operational contracts to ensure the school is getting value for money.
- Management of the Finance Team, supporting the staff to develop and grow in their roles.
- Work with the SLT to ensure that the school is on track to achieve its targets.
- Support the School Principal with any other Ad-Hoc tasks as requested.
- The successful candidate will need to have a minimum 5 years’ accounting and finance operational experience in a commercial environment. They will be a self-starter who uses initiative, can manage a varied workload, is deadline driven and has the commitment to seeing a change process through from start to finish.
- Essential skills/experience:
- Chartered accountant or equivalent
- Strong technical accounting skills and good knowledge of IFRS
- Strong budgeting/forecasting experience
- Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to build relationships at senior levels of the school and wider organisation and influence key stakeholders
- Excellent written and verbal communication and influencing skills
- Flexibility, multi-tasking mindset and an ability to deal with shifting priorities
- Comfortable managing a variety of financial (group and regional finance, bank, auditors, tax etc) and non-financial stakeholders (school teams, parents, etc)
- Advanced Excel skills
- Experience in the education industry is desirable but not required
- Fluent in written and spoken English
Safeguarding & Safer Recruitment
ISP is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. All post holders are subject to appropriate vetting procedures and satisfactory Criminal Background Checks or equivalent covering the previous 10 years employment history.