Canary Wharf College (CWC)

East of England and North East London | Crossharbour | London
  • CFO/Financial
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Risk
Deadline date: 10th July 2020

Canary Wharf College seeks two to four non-executive directors with experience in mergers and acquisitions, risk management and safeguarding to support its future plans. The trust has a commitment “to live, share and celebrate the love of learning in a Christian environment whilst welcoming children from different faiths and cultures”. Board meetings are held at Crossharbour, near Canary Wharf in London.  Applicants of all faiths or none are welcomed.

About the trust

Canary Wharf College is a trust of three free schools, with 800 pupils plus and increase of 125 this coming September, in the vibrant community of the Isle of Dogs. 

Canary Wharf College East Ferry primary school opened in 2011 and was subsequently joined by Glenworth primary school (both Ofsted ‘Outstanding’) and Crossharbour Secondary (Ofsted all round ‘Good’). The schools have 798 pupils (September 2019) plus an additional 10 pupils in secondary to support the Local Authority’s closure of Raine’s school. There is a diverse cohort of students: 8.5% of  pupils receive pupil premium funding, 12% have Special Educational Needs and 56.6% speak English as a second language. Staff for 2019/20 number 105, with an annual income of £5.9M, projected to grow to £7.7M in 2023/24.

The vision of the schools is to meet a basic need for pupils in this area of London and to offer independent style education, free. Our schools offer a broad and balanced curriculum, focusing on Maths, technology and science, with additional sport, extended day activities and specialist teachers in the primary schools.

Plans for the future

The key challenges for the board are:

  1. Supporting organic growth of the trust, considering opportunities to expand pupil numbers
  2. Developing relationships with local schools that may wish to join the trust and manage sustained growth, increasing capacity in the trust whilst maintaining its ethos and viability
  3. Maintaining viability of the trust within budget constraints
  4. To secure a permanent site for the secondary school which is currently in interim accommodation
  5. Grow the trust by the acquisition of like-minded schools to provide outstanding education for all its students

Trust ethos & values

The trust’s ethos is to live, share and celebrate the love of learning in a Christian environment whilst welcoming those of other faiths and cultures. It encourages high standards of behaviour, trust and integrity, and believes that education leads to empowerment. The trust’s key values are love, community and family responsibility, resilience and respect.

Role summary

Number of Trustee (Non-Executive Director) positions advertised:

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, potential growth and holding the CEO & CFO to account through mentoring and challenge.

In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments are subject to an enhanced DBS (disclosure and barring service, formerly CRB) 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:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)

  • Risk Management
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Growth Management
  • Non-executive director/ Trustee
  • CFO/ Finance
  • Corporate Governance

Person specification: Experience of business acquisitions and mergers either at board level or reporting directly to a large corporate board. The ideal candidate will have taken a leading role in expanding a business and be able to advise on related challenges and opportunities. We are also interested in someone who has experience of risk management at board level or reporting directly to a large corporate board.

Time commitment

6 hours per month (minimum). Board meetings are held four times a year at 5.30pm and there is an expectation to chair and join committees.  Candidates should demonstrate capacity to also attend a strategy day and school celebration days. Inherent is a commitment to delivering the highest level of education to students in the local areas.

Location of board meetings

Board meetings are usually held at Canary Wharf College, 7 Selsdon Way, London, E14 9GL.

Trust website

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.

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. The coronavirus pandemic has hit education as with every other part of the community. Please still consider applying to be a trustee as the trust can interview over skype or the telephone in the first instance.

Deadline for applications: 10 July 2020