Next Step Foundation


Next Step Foundation - a highly successful university preparation programme for students from disadvantaged backgrounds - is looking for a hands-on CEO with a passion for addressing educational disadvantage.

Next Step Foundation (NSF) delivers a highly successful university preparation programme for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The chance of a child from a disadvantaged background getting into Oxford or Cambridge is 1 in 1,500 compared with 1 in 20 children from private schools. 

Since 2017, the foundation has supported high ability students from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain places at the UK’s most selective universities with astonishing rates of success. Partnering with schools and multi-academy trusts from across the country, NSF provides a nine-month online university preparation programme to young people to help them fulfil their potential.

Over 95% of our scholars have gained places to Russell Group universities and we have a 32% Oxbridge acceptance rate. In the most recent cohort, NSF counted just under 150 scholars from 38 different schools across the country.

The role

At this exciting time for the charity we are looking for a hands-on CEO with a passion for addressing educational disadvantage. This is a 360 degree role, to oversee programme development, governance, marketing and fundraising. You will have the opportunity to shape and develop strategy, and grow the impact of the charity across the country. With a strong network of supporters and school partners, and an impressive track-record, this is an exciting time to join the charity!

You do not need to have experience of being a charity CEO, and will receive plenty of support and guidance from the founder and charity trustees. This would be an ideal role for someone leaving a middle or senior-level management role in a school, or a senior manager in a charity looking to step-up into a CEO role.

We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination. We want to ensure that our team is inclusive and representative of the young people we work with, so we particularly welcome applications from individuals who have experienced of one or more of the following: being from a low-income family; have received free school meals/a 16-19 bursary; being the first in your family to go to University; identify as Black, Asian or another ethnic minority background.

Key responsibilities include:


Curriculum: to oversee development of the programme, ensuring that every component adds value and directly corresponds to the objects of the charity.

Impact: to continue to build a solid evidence base of the impact that NSF’s intervention has and use this to target efforts, generate more support and improve the programme.

Scale: to increase the number of students on the programme and scale the impact.

Training: to support tutors initially with practical demands of teaching online - operating systems, VLE and integration with video teaching (WebEx).

Admin: to oversee the daily charity and administrative operations, and improve operating procedures for optimal efficiency and impact.


Brand identity and awareness: to create a sense of belonging to the community and to communicate the NSF mission externally with clarity; to increase awareness of NSF amongst key stakeholders (including funders, schools, universities).

Community: to harness the community of participants, alumni and stakeholders to support and inspire one another and to promote the NSF mission more widely.

Stakeholder engagement: to ensure that all stakeholders remain informed about the NSF’s work, inspiring them to support further - financially or otherwise.


Trustees: to work effectively with the board of trustees to create and implement the strategic direction of the charity; to support trustees in engaging meaningfully with the charity; to provide regular reports to trustees including impact, finance and risk management, to ensure that trustees can exercise their legal responsibilities. 

Strategic direction: to develop a business plan and maintain an ongoing roadmap for the strategy of the charity - setting short, medium and long term goals.

Accounting and business planning: to ensure good accounting practices and cash flow planning as the charity scales up.

Risk management: to ensure good risk management and reporting across the charity.


Finance: to create and manage the charity budget, ensuring good cash flow and to work towards appropriate levels of reserves.

Donors and grants: to secure funding to ensure the programme can grow sustainably

Partnerships: to form strong partnerships with schools, universities and employers to deliver sustainable, repeated funding.

Diversifying income: to develop a range of income streams in order to ensure the charity’s financial sustainability and resilience.


● Experience as a CEO/leader or managerial position, ideally in a charity or education setting

● Passion for education and working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds

● Experience in developing and implementing strategies in line with the organisation’s vision.

● Track record of successful business development and/or fundraising

● Understanding of charity finance and performance management principles

● Familiarity with diverse business functions such as marketing, communications, finance etc.

● Knowledge of/or willingness to upskill in relation to charity governance and general management best practices.

● An entrepreneurial mindset with outstanding organisational and leadership skills

● Analytical abilities and problem-solving skills

● Excellent communication and public speaking skills


We want to help everyone achieve more at work as well as in their personal lives and in their wider career. We are committed to providing equality of opportunity in employment and to developing working practices and policies that support work-life balance.

Benefits include

● Pension scheme with employer contribution

● 25 holiday days per year, plus public holidays (pro-rata)

● Extended and comprehensive sick pay policy

● Family Leave pay policy

● Learning & Development

● Full Access to mentoring/CEO networks and budget for consultant support

● Flexible working policy: we respect that people have commitments and provide flexible working hours through discussion.