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Head of English Language

InstitutionThe University of Edinburgh
Job TypeFull time (35 hours per week) and open-ended

Job Details

The Centre for Open Learning is seeking an exceptional candidate to lead our English Language Education subject area. As a member of the Centre’s Senior Management Team, the Head of English Language will provide academic leadership of, and strategic direction to, the English Language Education subject area. The post holder will be responsible for achieving and evidencing excellence in teaching, excellence in learning and excellence in student experience. They will represent the Centre across their areas of responsibility within the University of Edinburgh in both academic and strategic matters and have delegated responsibility from the Head of the Centre for Open Learning to manage the Centre’s English Language provision and its development with reference to innovations in the sector and best practice.

1. Job Details

Job title: Head of English Language

School/Support Department: Centre for Open Learning (COL)

Line manager: Head of the Centre for Open Learning

2.Job Purpose

As a member of the Centre for Open Learning (COL) Senior Management Team, the Head of English Language provides academic leadership of, and strategic direction to the English Language Education (ELE) department within the Centre for Open Learning. The post holder will be responsible for achieving and evidencing excellence in teaching, excellence in learning and excellence in student experience. They will represent COL across their areas of responsibility within the University of Edinburgh in both academic and strategic matters and have delegated responsibility from the Head of the Centre for Open Learning to manage the Centre’s English Language provision and its development with reference to innovations in the sector and best practice. The post holder will lead on quality for English Language Education within COL.

3.Core Responsibilities

• As a member of COL Senior Management Team, contribute to the construction, implementation and monitoring of strategic plans, with specific responsibility for the English Language Education elements. Contribute to the longer term strategic and operational planning for COL.
• To deputise for the Head of the Centre for Open Learning as/when required.
• To provide overall academic management and leadership for all English Language provision offered by the Centre for Open Learning;
• To lead on academic development, design and innovation in order to realise ambitious and sustained growth targets with careful planning and communication;
• To lead the development of innovative and sector leading online English Language courses and programmes;
• To oversee and evidence a first-rate student experience;
• To lead on academic change management through a period of growth and to oversee continued improvements in quality and innovation which improve the attainment levels of all our students and those studying elsewhere in the University of Edinburgh.

4.Main Responsibilities (Approx. %)

Leadership (40%)

To articulate clearly the educational vision and expected measures of success within ELE. To contribute to teaching and scholarship within ELE. To develop, implement and promote ELE’s contribution to Centre strategy, ensuring alignment with College and University-wide strategy. To be the ELE lead for the annual Action Planning cycle and oversee, monitor and coordinate subsequent Operational Plans as appropriate. To lead on academic planning, development, design and innovation which allows the Centre for Open Learning to realise ambitious and sustained growth targets in a sustainable way. To lead the development of innovative and sector leading online English Language courses and programmes. To lead excellence and innovation in teaching, learning and programme development, ensuring COL delivers an excellent, sector-leading student and staff experience in all that it does. To lead a review of innovative learning technologies across all programmes so that technology enhanced learning can be embedded where appropriate and in staff skill sets. To oversee innovative and appropriate teaching, testing and assessment methods, liaising with departmental colleagues and the wider University community to ensure effective academic support. To lead the development and promotion of curriculum enhancement initiatives. To oversee the implementation of effective student satisfaction, engagement and representation strategies. To lead on academic change management.

Management (30%)

To convene committees as appropriate and to ensure the academic rigour of ELE’s assessment, testing, examination, exam board and review processes. To be a member of the Centre’s Executive Committee and to represent the Centre across the University at relevant committees/groups. To line manage direct reports, embedding a culture of excellence, communication and accountability. To liaise with the Director of Quality and the Deputy Head of English Language to ensure that all quality assurance processes, including inspection and accreditation by external bodies, are implemented, carefully planned and communicated. To oversee the annual quality reporting cycle and review of provision. To be the departmental lead for the Course Approval cycle. To ensure all provision is robustly planned, developed, approved and resourced to ensure it is academically and financially sustainable and aligned to strategy.

Educational Community/Citizenship (30%)

To ensure a supportive, respectful and reflective working environment, in line with the University’s Dignity & Respect Policy, and to support colleagues to consistently strive for and deliver excellence in all aspects of their roles. To be an active member of the Senior Management Team for the Centre for Open Learning and work closely with other senior colleagues. Exercise delegated authority on behalf of the Head of COL as agreed. Contribute as required to the governance, planning, organisation and membership of College or University projects and initiatives. Collaborate with others both in the community and in the University to build on the current English Language offering with attention to influential themes including Widening Participation, the Global Engagement Plan and Online Learning. Determine staffing levels, ensure staff are appropriately recruited, inducted, supported and developed in accordance with University and College policy, COL strategy, and best practice. Lead and support direct reports with their scholarship and teaching, including responsibility for their appraisal, performance management and development, mentoring where appropriate. Oversight of the management and development of indirect reports. To create an inclusive culture and ethos across the departmental teams, ensuring that teaching staff work in strong partnership with professional services staff, fostering an environment in which all staff can develop and utilise their skills and expertise. To lead the building of strong and sustainable working relationships across the university. To contribute to a culture of teamwork with colleagues across COL and the University to further develop a supportive community of best practice in learning and teaching.

5.Planning and Organising

• Plan and coordinate English Language staffing requirements with reference to work allocation models;
• Oversight of quality assurance procedures and mechanisms in line with policy;
• Plan and embed a robust approval and development process for all credit and non-credit English Language provision;
• Plan and manage strategic targets.

6.Problem Solving

• Lead the analysis of the needs of learners requiring English Language provision and the development of suitable provision to meet these needs;
• The postholder deploys the breadth and depth of their experience and knowledge to address significant challenges or unresolved issues;
• Identify opportunities for growth and develop plans to address these;
• Use high level communication skills to engage and inform senior decision makers and to lead and motivate staff across English Language Education;
• Liaise with Marketing and Communications to ensure that published information is accurate and well planned.


• Utilise the planning cycles to determine departmental priorities, and in consultation with senior staff with regard to student needs, course content and delivery and available resources;
• With reference to work allocation models, determine appropriate levels of English Language staffing with regard to course income and budgets;
• Contribute to decision making as a member of the COL senior leadership team, and lead the management of English Language colleagues.

8.Key contacts/relationships

• Contact with key University offices (e.g. International Office, Institute for Academic Development, Academic Schools) and support services (Human Resources, Information Services);
• Contact with senior English Language Education staff, teachers and COL Professional Services staff, and with the Head of COL and the Director of Professional Services to ensure the effective running of all English Language activity and the achievement of required standards;
• Contact with external agencies over potential accreditation, collaborations and partnerships;
• Contact with other English Language professionals.

9.Knowledge, Skills and Experience


• Appropriate postgraduate degree (e.g. MA in Applied Linguistics/TESOL or other relevant area).

• A Diploma in English language Teaching (DELTA) or an equivalent practical postgraduate qualification in language teaching with a significant element of teaching practice.

• Demonstrable experience of academic management in higher education.

• Excellent IT skills and evidence of supporting the integration of technologies into learning and teaching.

• Significant experience and knowledge of the teaching of academic English in a higher education context.

• Demonstrable commitment to student experience.

• Excellent communication, negotiation, relationship building and interpersonal skills.

• Excellent administrative skills and the ability to support the organisational management of the Centre.

• Ability to analyse complex issues, innovate to resolve problems and think strategically.

• Evidence of ability to generate new ideas and approaches and to foster innovation and best practice among staff and students.

• Relevant experience in change management and of leading successful collaborative projects.

• Proven commitment to equality, diversity and widening access to education.

• Excellent spoken and written English, with the ability to communicate effectively, efficiently and succinctly.

• Ability in an additional language (minimum proficiency CEFR B2

• A PhD or commitment to further academic study in an area relevant to the department.

• Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and/or BALEAP TEAP Fellowship Scheme accreditation.

• Management qualification.

• Experience of chairing committees and/or academic boards.

• Experience of Academic publication, conference presentation and/or research.

• A sound understanding of online learning platforms and/or learning technologies.

• Experience of living out with the UK.


English Language Education (ELE) is the largest subject area within the Centre for Open Learning (COL), which sits within the College of Arts Humanities and Social Science at the University of Edinburgh alongside 11 academic Schools and the Institute for Academic Development.
COL plays a key role in supporting students through their education and houses the University’s English Language Provision, a Part-time Access Programme, an International Foundation Programme, Short Courses, Summer/Winter Schools and Outreach activity amongst others.

COL plays a pivotal role in both the College and the wider University’s engagement with the local community and internationalisation strategy. COL offers a diverse range of courses for a diverse range of students, taking approx. 12,000 enrolments across the Centre each year.

ELE currently provides a range of general, academic and specialist English provision, for students, professionals and contract groups. Whilst the majority of students do not study for credit, a number of courses are credit-bearing for example the Foundation English for Academic Purposes course which forms part of the International Foundation Programme. In addition to this, ELE is developing online English language testing provision which supports online masters students across the world.
More information can be found via

Job Salary & Benefits

Salary: £51,630 – £58,089

Further Information

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the below link:-

Applicants should ensure that they use the personal statement of the application form to address the person specification and illustrate how they meet the criteria for this post.
The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

We anticipate interviews will be held during w/c 5th November 2018 (subject to change). You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

The closing date is 5pm (GMT) on Tuesday 24th October 2018.

Closing Date24/10/2018
Interview Date05/11/2018
Start Date01/01/2019

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