Barton Court Academy Trust (BCAT)

South East England and South London | Canterbury, Kent
  • Audit
  • CFO/Financial
  • Corporate Governance
Deadline date: 15th January 2020

Barton Court Academy Trust is a growing organisation which currently consists of two schools, one in Canterbury and one in Broadstairs, Kent. The trust is focused on raising standards within its area and on sharing the very best practice in teaching and learning and Leadership and Management. The trust seeks an educationalist and a qualified accountant to support its plans to grow. Board meetings are held in Canterbury.

About the trust

Barton Court Academy Trust (BCAT) consists of two secondary schools, Barton Court Grammar School, an 11-18yrs, mixed selective school, rated Outstanding by Ofsted and The Charles Dickens School, an 11-16yrs mixed non-selective school rated Requires Improvement by Ofsted. The Charles Dickens School joined the multi-academy trust on 1 March 2017 and the trust recognises that the school is partway through its school improvement journey. Currently, standards are not where they should be as indicated by a below average Progress 8 school and a low number of children gaining at least a Grade 5 in English and Maths GCSEs. The Charles Dickens School has 40% students eligible for free school meals and 15% special education needs students and is located in the coastal area of Thanet, the School is ranked 4th for indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) in Kent by KCC. Barton Court Grammar school has 14% of students eligible for free school meals and 10% with special education needs and is ranked 66th out of 98 for indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) in Kent by KCC.

The trust has been selected to open a secondary free school, a non-selective, 11 – 18yrs school in Canterbury on the former Chaucer School site with a view to opening to Year 7 in September 2021. Planning approvals are all in place and the building work will start in January 2020. The school will admit 150 children each year. The Trust has named the school “Barton Manor School” and will use the expertise from both schools to ensure the Free school provides outstanding education to all students of all abilities. Barton Manor School will be a centre of excellence for applied studies with specialist facilities and in partnership with Barton Court Grammar School, together they will provide a rich and successful joint post-16 provision. This will create a unique opportunity for the local area with a new free school built on a strong foundation of success coupled with brand new modern facilities to complement high standards and achievement.

The trust has a budget of £9.8 million and its financial and balance sheet position is strong. The Trust provides 5 year budgets to ensure financial viability and sustainability and financial management is a strength of the current Director team. A suitable amount is held in reserves.

Plans for the future

To continue significant and sustained support, challenge and rapid improvement in standards at The Charles Dickens School. To improve to an Ofsted graded Good at the next inspection due within two years.
For Barton Court Grammar School to maintain its Ofsted Outstanding status and continue to attract and retain students to its sixth form.
To open the free school on time and on budget with a full roll of 150 pupils whilst continuing to provide executive and operational leadership to existing schools. BCAT has extended its leadership team for phase one of expansion but will need to recruit and retain additional senior leaders including an executive layer for future expansion including the free school.

Trust ethos & values

BCAT has academic excellence and high aspiration at the heart of its vision and ethos. An innovative trust, promoting internationalism and global citizenship as essential values, equipping students for 21st Century living and working. It believes in using cognitive tools in our schools to improve teaching, learning and self-assessment.

The school and its students work with the wider community; working closely with our feeder schools, offering workshops to Y5 students, and staff sharing expertise with our primary partners. Our students work tirelessly for their chosen charities and raise in excess of £15k pa. The Trust also works closely with our local universities, Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, with a UCLP (University Centre Learning Programme) at Barton Court and at The Charles Dickens students are involved in the Brilliant Club and Inspiring Minds projects. All students complete work experience in Years 10 and 12.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2

Roles 1-2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

We require a non-executive director/Trustee to join our already established and experienced Board of Directors to add additional capacity as the Trust grows in size. Ideally, candidates will have experience in Secondary Education with expertise in its practical application to provide additional support and challenge. Applications from working or retired trust CEOs, Headteachers or HMIs would be particularly welcome.  

The strategic expertise required for this role:

Essential

  • Corporate Governance
  • Secondary Education

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: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583733/Competency_framework_for_governance_.pdf

Time commitment

8 hours /month minimum.

Role 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

The board require a non-executive director/Trustee to join our already established and experienced Board of Directors and to Chair our Finance and Audit and Risk committees. Potential candidates will be qualified and experienced accountants/auditors capable of offering support, scrutiny and challenge to the Trust Finance Manager and the executive leadership team.

Person specification

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

Essential

  • Audit
  • CFO/ Finance
  • Qualified Accountant

Desirable

  • Corporate Governance

Time commitment

8 hours /month minimum.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings will be held at Barton Court Grammar School, Longport, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1PH.

Governance structure

Please find the governance structure 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.

Applications

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.

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.