Aldridge Education is a multi-academy trust of entrepreneurial academy schools located in three clusters – London, Brighton and the North West. The trust is seeking one non-executive director with experience in finance and ideally IT/systems who is based in the North West and also willing to travel to London for board meetings. Board meetings are held at 8 City Road, London EC1Y 2AA and rotate across the schools.
About the trust
Sir Rod Aldridge launched his educational charity, the Aldridge Foundation, in 2006 after retiring from Capita Plc, the business he set up, and which became one of this country’s most successful companies. The Aldridge Education Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) was established by the Aldridge Foundation in 2016 to fulfil the Aldridge ambition of providing the best education to young people from disadvantaged background regardless of whether they are academically or vocationally inclined. There are currently eight schools within the MAT and an adult education community interest company. Aldridge Education is also the lead Sponsor of Kensington Aldridge Academy, a free-standing academy school located at the foot of Grenfell Tower, which won TES School of the Year 2018. The trust also has links with Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, a new FE college in Haringey, of which Sir Rod Aldridge was the Founding Chair and the college’s Founding Education Partner.
The trust has 725 staff and over 5,000 students. The family of trust member-schools and sponsored schools are located in three clusters with five schools in the North-West in Darwen and Salford; two in Brighton in addition to the adult education CIC; and two in London. The trust’s goal is to expand by adding to these clusters so that each has between five and eight schools, maximising the opportunities available to students and communities.
Having established the trust, the Aldridge Foundation continues its work as a separate charity promoting the thinking around enterprise and entrepreneurship along with developing partnerships and securing funding to support added-value projects for Aldridge students and young people in the communities that Aldridge schools serve.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 3-5 years are:
- To ensure all schools continue to improve educational standards and deliver good results.
- To maximise the numbers of students at each school, including the schools that recruit pupils from age 14.
- To continue to build systems and common standards where this delivers efficiencies and improvements across the trust.
- To deliver ongoing financial probity and good governance as the Trust moves from an historic deficit into surplus in 2019-20.
- To oversee manageable growth within the existing regional clusters and attract like-minded schools to join with the potential of significantly increasing the size of the trust.
Trust ethos & values
Aldridge Education is a values-driven organisation with a commitment to non-selective, inclusive schools providing children and young people with an exceptional educational experience.
The trust encourages students and staff to develop a passion for learning as well as an entrepreneurial mind-set and enterprising skills, enabling people to help take responsibility for their own futures and their communities. The trust’s values are the entrepreneurial attributes that help students to develop – creativity, passion, determination, problem-solving, risk-taking and teamwork.
To find out more about the Trust’s ethos, values and entrepreneurial attributes, please see their website:
Number of positions advertised:
The trust is based in City Road, London where board meetings are also held. Candidates must also be willing to undertake some travelling when the board meets at a school. In order to reflect the regional spread of the schools, the trust is keen to find an additional trustee who lives in the North West of England.
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 will be 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 CEO/CFO to account.
In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.
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: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583733/Competency_framework_for_governance_.pdf
The trust seeks a trustee/non-executive director with experience in finance. All candidates should be committed to the development of enterprising skills and entrepreneurship in education and demonstrate experience of good governance.
Key priorities of work in the immediate term will include:
- expansion of centralised procurement activity for trust-wide contracts in order to achieve economies of scale
- continuation of the trust’s growth strategy, by rigorous due diligence in the selection of future schools to join Aldridge Education - particularly in the north west of England
The strategic expertise required for this role includes:
- CFO/ Finance
- Qualified accountant
- Change management
- Growth management
- Corporate governance
- Strategy development
- Procurement or contracts / shared services
Finance: Ideally a qualified accountant, candidates should have experience of financial management from a commercial organisation of the size of a FTSE 250 company and at a multi-site organisation. Ultimately the role could develop to become Chair of the Finance & Resources Committee and aid the trust in developing and implementing a new budget.
While the trust seeks specific competencies and experience the role is broad and holistic and NEDs will need to bring energy, commitment and focus, driven by a desire to improve the life chances of disadvantaged young people in sometimes extremely challenging circumstances.
8 hours/month minimum with 5/6 board meetings/year (and 4-5 committee meetings/year)
The trust also connects trustees to each of the schools to provide the Chair of the Local Governing Committee with a chain of communication to the MAT Board. You may be asked to be one of those link trustees.
Location of board meetings and trust website
The Aldridge Education Head Office is based at 3rd Floor, 8 City Road, London EC1Y 2AA but meetings are also held at their schools.
Please see www.aldridgeeducation.org
Background on academy trusts
Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 69% of secondary schools and 33% 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 900 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 www.academyambassadors.org.
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.