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School Organisation Officer OCC6871

Job Details:

Salary Range: £26,470 - £29,055 per annum

Work Location: County Hall, Oxford

Hours per week: 37

Contract type: Permanent

Closing date: Monday 17th December 2018

Interview date: Tuesday 8th January 2019

Advert Text:

Oxfordshire is growing. Between 2016 and 2040 there are currently 123,500 new homes planned across the county. The population is forecast to grow by 39% over that period. 

 

Dozens of new schools will be needed, and existing schools will need to be expanded. If you think lack of infrastructure would be a problem; be part of the solution. 

 

The School Planning team at Oxfordshire County Council is responsible for ensuring school capacity keeps up with the growing population. We work with teams across the council, as well as with schools, district councils, other government bodies and the development industry, to respond to housing proposals and Local Plans, plan the expansion of school capacity, and secure funding to invest in schools.

 

We are now recruiting for a new School Organisation Officer, who will be a key member of this team, as detailed in the job description below.  

 

You will need to be a confident communicator, able to work independently as well as in a team, and have good numeracy and ICT skills. You will be experienced at working to multiple deadlines and able to quickly absorb complex information, producing high quality work with great attention to detail. Ideally you will have experience of working in or with schools, or in the housing development/town planning sector. You will be a determined problem-solver, who will enjoy the challenges of working in this sector, and also the satisfaction of making a vital difference to local communities.

 

You can find out more about school planning by reading the Oxfordshire Pupil Place Plan available on the council's website.

Job Purpose:

A key part of ensuring Oxfordshire's development is sustainable is the provision of necessary infrastructure, including schools. At the same time, the Education sector is changing, with the growth of academies, which operate more independently of the local authority. While the local authority has a statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places, it is no longer the main provider of those places, and needs to work with academies and other bodies to plan future provision.

 

The School Planning function therefore needs to ensure effective monitoring of proposed housing development to assess cumulative pressures on school places. It needs to identify where additional school places will be required, and how these can best be delivered. It has a crucial role to play in building a case to secure developer contribution funding for creating additional school places through school expansions and new schools.

 

In Oxfordshire, while the district councils are the local planning authorities for the purposes of approving housing development, the county council has the statutory duty for ensuring sufficient school places. This requires close liaison both between the different levels of local government, and between different teams within the county council, to ensure effective school planning. The School Organisation & Planning team is part of the county council’s Children, Education & Families Directorate, and is responsible for ensuring the county council meets its statutory duty regarding sufficiency of school places. A key element of this is monitoring and responding to applications for housing development. The team is consulted through the county council’s “Single Response” process on all developments of 10 or more homes, and needs to respond to a tight deadline on:

  • the impact that the development will have on school infrastructure – enabling the council to foresee future pressures on school capacity and ensure timely planning for expansions of schools and new schools
  • the financial contribution (and any land requirements) that will be sought from the development, if it is considered acceptable in principle. Such contributions would then need to be secured prior to development’s approval – these contributions represent a significant proportion of the council’s capital investment programme

 

In each case, the planning application documents need to be checked for relevant information; the affected schools need to be identified; current and forecast future capacity for these schools needs to be reviewed, taking into account other approved local housing and that in the pipeline; and a response needs to be drafted and approved before submission. In addition, subsequent to the initial consultation response there is frequently a need for follow-up communications with county council colleagues, district councils and developers to clarify and defend the contributions required. This may include preparing papers for planning appeals, setting out how contributions sought are compliant with statutory tests, i.e:

  • necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms
  • directly related to the development
  • fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development

 

The quality of the School Organisation & Planning team’s responses to planning applications is a key contribution to the council’s ability to secure both education land and millions of pounds in capital funding each year. The School Organisation & Planning team also responds to draft neighbourhood Plans and Local Plans to advise on the implications for educational infrastructure.
 

Role Responsibilities:

1. Responsibility for the Education input into the Single Response process, including:

  • Receive and process notifications of planning applications for new housing development through the county council’s Single Response process, ensuring that deadlines are met
  • Review application documents for information relevant to school infrastructure planning, and use team data sources to draft responses for routine applications, redirecting more complex applications appropriately. This may also include drafting evidence papers for planning appeals
  • Liaise with other staff and teams as required, as well as with District planning colleagues, and ensure that any necessary responses are received ahead of deadlines

 

2. Research, process and input data into the County Council’s information management systems and databases (including Excel and SQL databases) ensuring accuracy and security of data and compliance with statutory requirements, to maintain accurate records of applications processed, including:

  • Monitoring the progress of housing applications through the information available on district council websites, and updating team records
  • Maintaining team records of cumulative housing development, developing effective ways of presenting information to inform decision-making
  • Ensuring accurate records are kept of the council’s responses regarding school planning issues
  • Maintaining information about school capacities and capital projects

 

3. Responding to enquiries related to education sufficiency from internal and external customers. This could involve using the internet/intranet as well as internal systems, and includes drafting evidence statements to support the council’s position at planning appeals and inquiries.

 

4. Support the Pupil Place Planning Manager in developing strategic responses to planned and proposed housing development within Oxfordshire, including drafting responses to Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plan proposals.

 

5. Contribute towards the assessment, recording and reporting of school capacities, including liaising with schools and the local authority’s Property team to ensure data is accurate and up-to-date.

 

6. Ensure statutory consultation and decision-making requirements are met for changes in school organisation and capacities.

 

7. Contribute towards continual improvement in the team’s information management and other working practices, to ensure consistency and facilitate efficient working.

 

8. As part of the School Organisation & Planning Team you will support and work with colleagues and senior managers as and when necessary to cope with peaks in workload or absences.

 

9. Comply with individual responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace including taking action to reduce the risk to self and others and contributing to the maintenance of a health and safe working environment.

 

10.Use electronic and manual filing systems with due regard to security and confidentiality.

 

11.Maintain a secure, accessible and fit for purpose work area.

 

12.Undertake such other duties as are required.

 

The nature of this post will require flexibility to meet urgent work needs as they arise. The job description therefore is not intended to be exhaustive. The post holder will be expected to adopt a flexible attitude to the duties which may have to be varied after discussion, subject to the needs of the Service and in keeping with the general profile of the post.
 

Essential Criteria:

Educational achievements, qualifications, training and knowledge

  • A-level qualifications or equivalent
  • English Language and Mathematics GCSE Grade C or above, or equivalent

 

Experience

  • Experience of business use of Microsoft Office applications (especially Excel) and the internet
  • Experience of working effectively to multiple deadlines

 

Job related aptitude and skills

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Good numeracy skills, including understanding and interpreting data
  • High level of competency in the use of Microsoft Office applications and other ICT systems, in particular databases and spreadsheet packages
  • Ability to quickly understand new information and issues, and the perspectives of others (e.g. schools)
  • Analytical skills and the ability to form and justify solutions based on a variety of complex information and data
  • Ability to develop good working relationships and partnerships across all parts of the County Council and with district councils and the development industry
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to prioritise personal workload and meet deadlines
  • Initiative, flexibility and ability to handle change

 

Personal qualities

  • Pragmatic, constructive, problem-solving approach
  • Commitment to providing good customer service with a drive for continuous improvement
  • Commitment to continuous personal development
  • Ability to work independently, as well as working co-operatively as a team member
  • The ability to travel independently to a variety of premises, sometimes at short notice

 

Equal opportunities

  • Commitment to, and understanding of, the principles of Equal Opportunities for all, in employment and the delivery of services

Desirable Criteria:

Educational achievements, qualifications, training and knowledge

  • Graduate or equivalent
  • Knowledge of the education system
  • Knowledge of, and interest in Town Planning and housing development
  • Evidence of further and continuing professional development

 

Experience

  • Office-work and administrative experience
  • Experience of working with or in schools
  • Experience of using databases
  • Experience of working across difference levels of local government
  • Experience of data analysis, project work or premises-related work

 

Job related aptitude and skills

  • Current driving licence and vehicle available for business purposes

Contact details for an informal discussion:

Please contact Barbara Chillman on 07554 103418.

 

Our Organisation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults. We expect all employees, workers and volunteers to share this commitment. We will ensure that all our recruitment and selection practices reflect this commitment.

As a Disability Confident employer we guarantee an interview for disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the job. We also guarantee interviews to care leavers who have completed further education and who meet the essential criteria for the job. For those leaving care without any further education we guarantee an interview for our apprenticeships. 

All posts, unless stated otherwise, are open to part time working and job share arrangements.


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