Cathedral Schools Trust

South West England | Bristol
  • Branding/Marketing
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Entrepreneur/Founder
  • Growth Management
Deadline date: 31st January 2020

Cathedral Schools Trust (CST) is a multi-academy trust overseeing seven schools. The trust’s ambition is to build a strong and cohesive community that delivers outstanding outcomes for all students and celebrates the diversity of our schools. The trust seeks two non-executive directors who are well-connected in Bristol and can bring strong business skills to its board with experience of finance or growth management (including mergers and acquisitions), branding/marketing/PR expertise or business entrepreneurship in order to support the board in achieving its aspirations. Applicants of all faiths and of none are welcomed and board meetings are mostly held in central Bristol.

About the trust 

Cathedral Schools Trust (CST) was established in 2016 as a multi-academy trust to include Bristol Cathedral Choir School (a secondary academy) and Cathedral Primary School (a primary free school). Headley Park Primary School and Victoria Park Primary School joined in 2017, St Katherine’s School (secondary) joined in January 2019, Stoke Park Primary School joined in June 2019 and Trinity Academy, a new secondary free school, opened in September 2019. The trust celebrates its diverse mix of schools and will grow from 3500 to circa 5000 pupils in the next five years within the local catchment area of greater Bristol. The trust is building on the success of its founding schools to strengthen all schools whilst promoting appropriate levels of earned autonomy and individuality to maximise pupil opportunities and outcomes.

Plans for the future 

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

  1. Reaching appropriate size and scale​ to operate effectively as a multi-academy trust through measured and considered growth in the next 12-24 months, including overseeing the process of due diligence and building strong relationships with key stakeholders.
  2. Ensuring efficiencies​ can be achieved and delivered by the central team and result in improved services and a strong financial position across all schools in the trust.
  3. Building capacity​ amongst staff at all levels of the organisation, in particular supporting succession planning at leadership levels.

CST is committed to serving the local community and aims to establish a family of primary and secondary, faith and non-faith schools, across the greater Bristol area.

Trust ethos & values 

Cathedral Schools Trust believes in education that encourages young people to be imaginative, knowledgeable, hopeful and equipped to make significant decisions. It believes children should be safe, healthy and happy. Its core values are derived from Christian teachings and are representative of all faiths. Cathedral Schools Trust believes that children will benefit if they learn reverence for one another and for the wider world, the trust welcomes children of all faiths and none. Music plays a particularly important role in the life of CST, enhancing the sense of community through performance and celebration.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 


Role1– 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. 

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. 

The strategic expertise required for NED role 1 includes:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Entrepreneur/ Founder
  • Growth Management
  • Change and growth management
  • Corporate governance
  • Consultancy
  • Risk
  • Succession Planning

The strategic expertise required for NED role 2 includes:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • Marketing/branding/PR
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Corporate communications
  • Consultancy

The trust is keen to hear from business executives who are well-connected in Bristol and can support the board through the next phase of growth.

A key element of this recruitment is also to strengthen the trust’s succession planning for key trustee roles and so they would welcome interest from candidates open to taking on specific strategic governance roles and areas of responsibility.

Time commitment 

Trustee meetings are held every term (6 times a year) and generally during working hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).

Location of board meetings and trust website

MAT address: College Square, Bristol, BS1 5TS. Meetings are usually 2 hours in duration and held during the working day.

Governance structure

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

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.