Catalyst Academies Trust

East of England and North East London | South Ockendon
  • Change Management
  • Growth Management
  • Human Resources
  • Legal/Compliance
  • Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 7th December 2018

Based in Essex, Catalyst Academies Trust has improved education standards dramatically in schools with low ratings, raising them to the highest rating of Outstanding by Ofsted. They seek three non-executive directors to support their expansion to improve performance and standards in more schools across the Thurrock area. Board meetings are held in South Ockendon at Dilkes Academy.

About the trust

Catalyst Academies Trust was set up by Dilkes Academy, a high-performing primary school in South Ockendon, Essex in 2013. The trust is continuing to grow, and currently consists of four primary schools each with their own nurseries. The trust is an accredited Teaching School and one school has a specialist provision for a limited number of pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

The trust’s mission is carried out by sponsoring primary schools in challenging circumstances to become academies and by leading a wide range of teacher education programmes to develop outstanding teaching and pupil achievement. Catalyst Academies Trust sponsored its first schools, Benyon Primary and Quarry Hill Academy, in 2013. Benyon was rated as inadequate and Quarry Hill as requires improvement by Ofsted upon conversion into the trust. With the support of the trust both schools were able to bring about rapid improvement. Benyon Primary were awarded a rating of Good by Ofsted in their subsequent inspection in March 2015 and Quarry Hill Academy were awarded a rating of Outstanding by Ofsted in their subsequent inspection in June 2016. Somers Heath Primary School joined the Trust in June 2017 with a rating of Good by Ofsted. The trust will provide support to move Somers Heath Primary the next level by supporting improvements to the quality of leadership, teaching and children’s outcomes.

As Catalyst grows over the next few years, it will be of crucial importance that the impact of its activities can be seen in improved teaching quality and pupil outcomes. This will be done by ensuring outstanding well-coordinated professional support for trust academies, and the provision of consistently high quality teacher programmes.

Plans for the Future

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

  1. The trust aims to expand and centralise key functions away from individual schools to create one hub of resources and expertise to preside over all schools.
  2. As it expands, the trust also looks to submit an application for opening a Free School in an area of need.
  3. The trust is eager to expand within the Essex area and hopefully beyond Thurrock in order to maximise their impact in the lives of many more children.

Catalyst Academies Trust will be a nationally well-respected primary multi-academy trust ensuring, through effective collaborative partnerships and capacity building, that many more children have access to an outstanding primary education.

Trust Ethos & Values

Catalyst is an innovative, charitable organisation, whose mission is to widen access to outstanding educational provision by supporting and empowering teachers and leaders in other schools and academies to develop outstanding outcomes. As a specialist primary multi-academy trust, their key goal will be to ensure that all Catalyst pupils have acquired the core skills to succeed at secondary school and beyond.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:


Role 1, 2 & 3 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; the role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law. Non-executive directors provide high quality support and challenge to the trust's leadership team.

Person Specification

The trust seeks three non-executive directors with exceptional business skills to join the board and support the trust in delivering improvement, growth and transformation across the schools. The competencies required for these roles include:

Essential (either)
  • Legal/Compliance or
  • Property/Estates or
  • HR
  • Change Management
  • Growth Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Risk
  • Succession Planning
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • CEO/General Management


Legal/Compliance: The trust seeks a non-executive director with high-calibre experience in a legal setting, such as a practicing lawyer. Candidates will have an analytical and enquiring mind for problem solving, risk assessment and strategic planning.

Property/Estates: Candidates for these roles must have senior experience of managing the expansion of multi-site organisations. The ideal candidates will have experience or knowledge of estates management and property development.

HR: the trust welcomes individuals with change and growth management experience to support the trust as it expands.  

All candidates should have a successful track record of management responsibility, excellent people skills and a commitment to supporting and improving education.

Time Commitment

6 hours per month minimum.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

For more information on the trust, please visit their website:
Board meetings are held at Dilkes Academy, Garron Lane, South Ockendon, Essex, RM15 5JQ.

Governance Structure

For more information regarding the trust’s governance structure, please see: and

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 71% of secondary schools and 26% 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 980 multi academy trusts of 2+ 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 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 (2017)

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

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 7th December 2018