Our Work

New Schools Network's Academy Ambassadors Programme provides a free, bespoke service matching business leaders and professionals with academy trusts looking to strengthen their boards. 

Since 2013, the programme has helped trusts to fill over 1,800 board roles. High-calibre board members are motivated by a desire to use their skills for good and the Academy Ambassadors Programme recruits leaders with skills in strategy, growth management, risk and change management. We support open, external board recruitment to attract diverse, high-calibre people to academy trust boards.

By working together, inspirational educationalists and talented business leaders can provide a better future for the next generation of school leavers.

The Academy Ambassadors Programme recruits high-calibre business professionals by:

  • Recruitment to a pool of potential non-executive directors through corporate partnerships, personal referrals, networking, events and social media.
  • Publication of specific posts on web-based networks and headhunting high-calibre candidates.

Achievements to date include:

  • Trusts supported to fill over 1,800 board roles, including large national trusts and small, rural trusts.
  • Trusts supported to fill over 700 board roles in category 5/6 areas. 
  • Over 80 chairs recruited to strengthen leadership.

The Academy Ambassadors Programme provides support for candidates and trusts throughout the recruitment process. We do not lead the formal sifting or interview process – appointments are made by the trust Members. The programme has initial conversations with candidates and will only pass on those we believe to be a potential match with a strong commitment to improving education. The recruiting trusts complete full vetting, including DBS and reference checks, and require appointees to adhere to the Nolan Principles of Public Life and relevant codes of conduct.

Once appointed, Academy Ambassadors receive support to join trust boards via our networking events and useful resources

‘Educating the next generation is an invaluable element in all our futures.  It is therefore a great honour to be given the opportunity to make a difference to our children's future and ensure we provide an education where all individuals can reach their potential.  The friendly & supportive approach at the Academy Ambassadors Programme ensure your strengths and skills complement the needs of the trust and they provide fantastic resources to assist you in preparing for the role ahead.'

Helen Mannion, Head of Business Intelligence, Giffgaff

‘It wasn’t until I engaged with the Academy Ambassadors Programme that I found out there was a route for someone like me to use business skills to help make a difference.’

Phil Jones, Chair, Pontefract Academies Trust and Chief Executive of Northern Powergrid

"I wanted to become a NED to use my experience of HR in large companies combined with now being a business owner of a coaching company and work alongside an academy that had ambitious growth plans. I also wanted to get involved in the community and ensure that the next generation has the best education and experience possible." 

Caroline Arnold, non-executive director, Endeavour Trust