by Author a.ockelford

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CEO, Soundabout

Job description


Soundabout is a small national charity whose aim is to use music and sound to unlock the potential of children, young people and adults with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties, including those with autism. We do this through techniques that we have devised over the years to stimulate communication, physical movement, learning and self-expression, enabling those who cannot hold musical instruments or speak to make a positive contribution to music making and to develop their ability to communicate and interact with the world around them. For further information, please see our website:

Soundabout was launched in 1995 and was based in the Omerod School in Oxford. In 1997, it gained charitable status. Having spent some years in Thomley, north of Oxford, Soundabout has recently moved to new offices in Didcot, at the Cornerstone Arts Centre. There are currently four part-time staff in addition to the CEO, with additional support from associates for finance and fundraising. Most of Soundabout’s work is undertaken by a pool of freelance practitioners. Soundabout’s turnover has typically been of the order of £250,000.

Soundabout’s remit is UK-wide, and traditionally, the core of our work has been to provide training to staff working in special schools, although we also run community music-making sessions for groups of families with severely disabled children and young people, sessions for young adults with learning difficulties, ‘Baby Soundabout’ sessions for families who have a child in the early years with complex needs, and ‘Sounds Wild’ sessions that enable profoundly disabled children to enjoy music making outdoors. Soundabout has made a major contribution to the Postgraduate Certificate in music and special needs run by the University of Roehampton. In the last five years, we have run major national projects, including the launch of Sounds of Intent and Sounds of Intent in the Early Years across England.

We are now looking to develop strategic alliances with music hubs to improve music provision for children and young people with disabilities, to produce and disseminate new resources and packages of training for the families and carers of children, young people and adults with learning difficulties.


Terms of appointment

Reports to: The Board of Trustees through the Chair (Adam Ockelford)

Salary: £45,000–£50,000 pro rata, depending on experience

Start Date: 1st April 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter

Annual Leave: 25 days each year plus bank holidays, calculated on a January–December basis

Probationary Period: Six months with reviews at 3 and 6 months.

Hours of work: Two and a half days a week in the first instance. This could increase through mutual agreement as new developments come on stream.

Place of work: at Soundabout’s offices in Didcot. It is envisaged that the post holder will travel throughout the UK securing strategic alliances, and flying the flag for Soundabout at national conferences and conventions. All reasonable travel and subsistence expenses will be reimbursed.

Notice of termination: Following the probationary period, the appointment may be terminated by either party with 3 months’ notice. (During the probationary period, one month only is required.)

Equal opportunities: Soundabout welcomes applications from anyone who meets the essential requirements of the Job Description, and candidates will be shortlisted (and one will subsequently be appointed) on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities without regard to race, religion or belief, colour, sex, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation.

If you would like to discuss the post before deciding whether to apply, please contact the Chair of Trustees, Professor Adam Ockelford on 07818 456 472 or

To apply for the post of CEO, please apply electronically to Adam Ockelford at by 7.00pm on Sunday 11th February 2018. Interviews will take place at Soundabout’s offices in Didcot in late February.

Your application should comprise (a) a letter stating: why this post is of interest to you, and the factors in your background that show how you meet the requirements of the Person Specification; (b) a curriculum vitae including: your contact details, a summary of your education, full employment history including relevant voluntary work, and any other factors you consider relevant; (c) the details of two referees’ contact details (name, address, phone, email). At least one referee should be from a recent employer. References will not be taken up until agreed with the candidate.



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