Chief Operating Officer – St John’s School, Leatherhead


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St John’s is a leading co-educational day and boarding school for over 800 pupils aged 11 to 18 years.

Set in a beautiful 50-acre campus in Leatherhead, Surrey, the School has a reputation for innovation, academic excellence, strong pastoral care and a first-class all-round education for every pupil. The School is located just 17 miles south of Central London and Leatherhead station provides quick access to London Waterloo and to the South Coast.

The Head and Governing Council are seeking to appoint an ambitious, highly motivated and financially astute individual to the post of Chief Operating Officer (COO). This is an important time in St John’s future and the COO will be joining a team that is committed to cultivating an exciting and innovative long-term vision for the School that develops St John’s local, regional and national reputation. The COO will play a vital role in the development of the strategic plan. An ability to thrive in a dynamic and fast-paced working environment will be essential as will proven experience of senior leadership and financial control in complex organisations.

Reporting to the Head and a key member of the Senior Leadership Team, the COO will lead a large and diverse team and ensure the successful delivery of the School’s support operations. They will be a creative and visionary senior leader, with outstanding financial and commercial acumen and the ability to empower and develop others to ensure the continued success of St John’s. A collegiate approach to work, operational agility and superb relationship-building and communication skills will be essential.

Prior experience in the education sector is not a prerequisite and applications are encouraged from candidates with commercial, charitable, private-sector and public-sector backgrounds. The successful candidate will however demonstrate empathy with independent education and commitment to St John’s vision and values.

Interested candidates are invited to contact RSAcademics to arrange an informal and confidential discussion about the role: 

Nina Lambert, Head of Bursar Search: 

The closing date for applications is 10.00am on Monday 25 March 2024. 

You should submit:

  • A completed online application form (please follow the Apply Now link to download the form).
  • A covering letter addressed to the Head, Mr Alex Tate. The letter should be a maximum of two pages and should explain your reasons for applying and outline your suitability for the role.

If you have any questions about uploading your application documents, please contact Khiloni Aplin, Project Coordinator, at  Khiloni can also be reached by calling our Head Office on +44 (0)1858 383163.

St John’s School is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff to share this commitment. Applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with previous employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service.

This post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the amendments to the Exceptions Order 1975, 2013 and 2020.

The safeguarding responsibilities of the role are indicated in the candidate information.  

RSAcademics is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and to promoting diversity and inclusion in schools. 


Key Dates

The closing date for applications is Monday 25 March at 10.00am (UK)

Preliminary interviews with RSAcademics will take place via Microsoft Teams in the week commencing 1 April 2024

Longlist interviews will take place at St John's School on Thursday 18 April 2024

Shortlist interviews will be held at the school on Thursday 25 April 2024.