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upon is a new leaders programme, designed to grow the UK’s talent pool of future Directors of Children’s Services, and also help recently appointed Directors thrive in their new roles. Supported by the Department for Education, it’s co-created and delivered by a trusted consortium of expert partners; The Staff College, Institute of Public Care, Skills for Care and GatenbySanderson.

This innovative leaders programme has been launched in response to the DfE identifying significant challenges in attracting and retaining talented leaders in DCS roles. In 2018/19 more than 25% of UK local authorities experienced an unplanned change in DCS. And right now, the average length of tenure is only 47 months.

upon aims to change that by inspiring ambitious and courageous future leaders to step up and move on into DCS roles, staying in post for longer to achieve even more positive transformation.

We passionately over the same level of support and encouragement to recently appointed DCSs.

Whatever past experience, our future leaders will be fired-up to develop their skills, build resilience, take responsibility and thrive as part of the next generation of positive change-makers the UK’s young people depend upon.

Aspirant Directors

Year 3 applications open early 2022, and the programme will run from Autumn 2022 – Spring 2023.

New Directors

Upcoming sessions:

•             Friday 10th December 2021 (14:00 – 16:00) – New Directors Virtual Workshop

•             Friday 14th January 2022 (14:00 – 16:00) – New Directors Virtual Workshop

•             Monday 7th – Tuesday 8th February 2022 – New Directors Face to Face Residential (circumstances permitting)

•             Friday 25th March 2022 (14:00 – 16:00) – New Directors Virtual Workshop

•             Friday 29th April 2022 (14:00 – 16:00) – New Directors Virtual Workshop

•             Friday 27th May 2022 (14:00 – 16:00) – New Directors Virtual Workshop


“The role of a DCS is probably one of the most challenging and rewarding roles anyone could undertake. It provides an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of children and families in our communities. In the face of such busy roles, it is often difficult for Directors in role to find the time to share their experiences and knowledge with others yet in doing so they can both learn from, and equip, the leaders of the future.   Our aim is to show what life as a DCS is like giving candidates valuable insights and preparing them for their next steps . We want participants to bring an open mind and enthusiasm and leave with a passion to be the leaders who will make a positive change to children’s lives.”

Jane Parfrement, Director of upon and Chief Executive of The Staff College

Other Programmes

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