Campfire Education Trust

North West London and South Central England | Buckingham
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Risk
  • Succession Planning
Deadline date: 5th June 2020

Campfire Education Trust currently comprises six primary schools In Buckingham, Northampton and Milton Keynes. The trust has grown from the commitment of the leaders to provide children with opportunities to explore and adventure. The trust seeks two new trustees/non-executive directors, one of which will be considered for the role of Chair in the next 6-18 months, to assist the board in managing budgets and risk within the trust. Board meetings are held in Buckingham.

About the trust

Established in 2013, originally as Bourton Meadow Education Trust, Campfire academies are a network of non-selective schools with a clear goal: to ensure all pupils, regardless of their background or prior attainment, has access to high quality educational provision. Based in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes, it is a growing trust focused on serving children within the communities in which they live.

Moorland Primary School joined in September 2019, taking the total number of schools in the trust to six. At this size, the trust is able to achieve its vision of creating a sustainable network of outstanding schools succeeding in closing the achievement gap. The trust is growing as quickly as it can but as slowly as necessary to ensure they never compromise on education quality.

Campfire Education Trust is a primary trust that provides an education for 1,800 students across its six schools. The trust employs 365 members of staff and operates under a budget of £10m. Due to the demographics of the locations of schools within the trust, there are varying levels of social deprivation. The Northampton based schools have high levels of students receiving free school meals and special educational needs support.

Plans for the future

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

  • Recruitment of additional academies and the required executive and governance growth
  • Managing with shrinking budgets
  • Improving attainment and maintaining progress across all schools

In the longer term, the trust aims to consolidate systems and procedures for its schools whilst developing internal capacity to allow the trust to expand.

Trust ethos & values

The trust aims to provide outstanding education opportunities so that all children achieve their potential within their communities. This is underpinned by the vision that all staff and students within the trust are supportive, cooperative and adventurous.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:2

Roles 1-2 – 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 and in accordance with DfE requirements, all trustee appointments will 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)
  • Risk
  • Corporate Governance
  • Succession Planning
  • Non-executive Director/ Trustee
  • Qualified Accountant
  • Growth Management

Role 1: Candidates will have a background in corporate governance, will ideally understand the education sector and thus be in a position to provide challenge on aspects of governance. An individual who can provide time to visit schools in the trust to help the CEO challenge, support and drive up standards is sought.

Role 2: Candidates will have experience managing risk at an organisation of a similar scale to the trust. The successful candidate will provide challenge to the board on managing risk at trust level with an understanding of risks in the education sector and how they impact of the pupils education. An individual who can provide time to visit schools in the trust to help the CEO challenge, support and drive up standards is sought.

Time commitment

Six hours per month.

Time commitment

12-18 hours per month.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Bourton Meadow Academy, Burleigh Piece Buckingham, MK18 7HZ.

Governance structure

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