Abbey Multi Academy Trust

Lancashire and West Yorkshire | Leeds
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Human Resources
  • Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 30th April 2020

Abbey Multi Academy Trust seeks to recruit a new non-executive director, with skills in HR and/or real estate onto the board. Whilst Abbey MAT is a Church of England trust, it seeks people with the right skills and qualities to join the board; consequently applications are welcomed from people of any faith (or indeed those with no faith).  All trustees are expected to work with and support the trust’s ethos and values. Board meetings are held in northeastern part of Leeds. 

About the trust

Abbey MAT grew initially with St Chad’s Primary School converting to academy status and joining Abbey Grange CofE Academy, to provide a solid basis to provide support for others. Over time the Diocesan trust has grown and now has three secondaries and five primaries serving children in Leeds and Halifax.  In 2017 the trust adopted the three academies of Leaf Trust which meant relatively rapid growth for a small trust.  This brought added challenges as the secondary had been judged to need special measures and the team have been working hard to deliver improvements and reestablish what is now known as Bishop Young Academy as a school of choice for the families in Seacroft.  Abbey MAT is proud to serve families from a broad range of social backgrounds. It is currently in a period of consolidation but is already making plans for future growth, building capacity ahead of need.

Plans for the future

Three key challenges for the trust over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. Supporting the work of the trust to achieve long-term financial stability through the management of in year budgets and longer term financial planning, with appropriate initiatives for growth and cost management.
  2. Ongoing activity to integrate academies into the trust, which has grown over the last 2-3 years. Maintaining an appropriate balance between preserving the identity of academies whilst ensuring the benefits of being part of a trust are realized.
  3. Determining the strategic direction of the trust following a growth and consolidation phase.
  4. Supporting all academies to improve further including five of the eight academies which are judged by Ofsted to be ‘Good’ with the intention that some move to outstanding at their next inspection.

Trust ethos & values

The trust’s vision is that the academies supported by Abbey MAT will provide an environment which is welcoming, caring, calm, disciplined and purposeful. The trust aims to stretch its young people academically, support them pastorally and help them develop socially and spiritually.

 URL to full mission statement

Role summary

Role – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust. The core functions of their role are: ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction; holding executive leaders to account for the educational and financial performance of a charitable company funded by the public purse.

The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust in compliance with its charitable objects, company and charity law.

Non-executive directors are responsible for maintaining stability and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and potential growth, and holding the joint-CEOs and CFO to account.

In the interests of safeguarding and in accordance with DfE requirements, all trustee appointments will be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

The opportunity to chair board committees may also be available.

Person specification

Every trustee is expected to abide by the trust’s code of conduct and the seven principles of public life set out by Lord Nolan: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

The Competency Framework for Governance (DfE) 2017 details the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for effective governance:

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

Role 1:
Essential ( candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • HR
  • Real estate/Property
  • Restructuring
  • Corporate Governance
  • Succession Planning

This role requires experience in a senior management or leadership role holder (past or present). Applications are welcome from those with either a HR skill set or significant experience in the property sector. The suitable candidate will have experience of working at board or committee level in a complex organisation with multiple stakeholders and possibly leading significant restructuring programmes.

Time commitment

The trust board meets once each half term (6 times per year) and meetings are invariably held on Wednesday evenings at 6pm (meetings last up to 2 hours).  The trust has four subcommittees: Finance and Resources, Audit & Risk, Education Standards, Pay & Remuneration.  Trustees are expected to attend one of the subcommittees depending on skills and interests; these subcommittees tend to meet around 4 times per year.  The trust has recently appointed a leader to oversee governance across the trust and the trust have recently developed its own Governance Induction Pack as a guide for those new to the trust. A new Trust training programme is in development and new trustees will be able to access this and contribute to its development depending on their individual needs. The training programme will include statutory training in relation to safeguarding.   Overall, trustees will be expected to devote around 6 hours per month on average.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Moyes Centre, Bishop Young CofE Academy, Bishops Way, Leeds, LS14 6NU.

Governance structure

Governance structure can be found here.

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 74% of secondary schools and 31% of primaries – and their number is growing all the time.

Many of these schools are grouped together as multi-academy trusts (MATs). There are currently 832 multi academy trusts of 3+ schools. If the schools are to fulfil their potential, the trusts need non-executives (known in charity law as trustees) to bring a wide range of skills and experience to help guide strategy, ensure their ambitions can be soundly financed and keep their schools up to the mark delivering for their pupils.

“Boards must be ambitious for all children and young people and infused with a passion for education and a commitment to continuous school improvement that enables the best possible outcomes. Governance must be grounded in reality as defined by both high-quality objective data and a full understanding of the views and needs of pupils/students, staff, parents, carers and local communities. It should be driven by inquisitive, independent minds and through conversations focused on the key strategic issues which are conducted with humility, good judgement, resilience and determination.” 
Source: Governance Handbook, Department for Education (2019)

Trusteeship is a voluntary, unpaid role for people who have the energy and skills to make a real contribution to shaping the future of our schools. You do not need to have any specialist knowledge of education.


Academy Ambassadors is a non-profit programme which recruits senior business leaders and professionals as volunteer non-executive directors onto the boards of multi-academy trusts. If you are interested in applying for the role please send your CV and a short expression of interest detailing which role you are applying for to [email protected]. Please note: candidates should live within reasonable travelling distance of the trust and/or have a link with the region. For more information, please call 0207 952 8556 or visit

Key dates

Deadline for applications: Friday 10th April, 2020 

We strongly recommend applying as early as you can to have the best possible chance of being considered as we may change the closing date if we have received sufficient applications. Applicants should be aware of the following key dates in the recruitment process.