Aim High Academy Trust

North of England | Sunderland
  • Branding/Marketing
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Change Management
  • Human Resources
  • Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 18th October 2019

Aim High Academy Trust is a three-school trust in the Coalfields area of Sunderland. The trust seeks four non-executive directors with the ability to make strategic decisions at board level. Candidates with a wide range of skills are required, including branding/ marketing, property and real estate, HR and change management to drive the school’s strategic plan over the next three years. Board meetings are held at Dubmire Primary Academy, DH4 6HL.

About the trust

The trust is formed of three Primary Schools in the Coalfields area. Its predecessor primary school history began in 2006 and the trust has built upon this capacity and experience within its current model.

The trust’s pupil cohorts vary in the three schools. The proportion of children receiving free school meals is at or above the national average across all schools and the proportion of children with special educational needs is in line with the national average.

The trust currently comprises:

  • Newbottle Primary Academy, which converted to academy status in February 2014.
  • Dubmire Primary Academy, which also operates a daycare provision for 0 – 3 year olds.
  • Gillas Lane Primary Academy, which has been part of the trust since October 2016.


Plans for the future

The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:

To develop strong teaching and learning consistently across all three schools.

  1. To design and implement wider curriculum experiences accessible by all to inspire a love of lifelong learning.
  2. To improve outcomes and raise progress measures to above average.
  3. To continue to achieve the strategic plan whilst implementing cost saving measures across the trust.

In the longer term the trusts plans to manage internal growth, planning rapid expansion within Newbottle to meet the demands of housing expansion in the local area.

Trust ethos & values

Aim High Academy Trust is committed to inspiring, supporting and enabling all pupils to aim high, believe in themselves, achieve their full potential and develop the skills needed to succeed and enjoy life.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:

Roles 1-4 – 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.

In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

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:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • Branding/ Marketing
  • Real estate/ Property
  • HR
  • Change Management


  • Audit
  • Succession Planning
  • Corporate Governance
  • IT/ Technology
  • Legal/ Compliance


The successful candidates will be strategic thinkers, able to influence and make considered and tactical decisions. The appointee will be able to think holistically across different school settings and scenarios.

Applications are encouraged from individuals possessing professionally recognised qualifications in any of the above fields. It is desired that the appointees will have a passion for the local area and be an advocate for the surrounding community.

Time commitment

6 hours per month minimum.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Dubmire Primary Academy, Britannia Terrace, Houghton-le-Spring, DH4 6HL.  

Governance structure

Background on academy trusts

“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 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.


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

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.

Deadline for applications: Friday, 18th October 2019