Champion Education Trust (CET) is a new multi-academy trust which is in its formative stages of setting up, although two of the schools have worked together for some time. Blackburn Central High School (BCHS) and Crosshill Special School will be joined by Lotus School, a brand new free school which is scheduled to open in 2020 and is based in Blackpool. The trust’s senior leaders are keen to introduce some new board members with well-developed business skills and experience to oversee the trust’s development and provide independent challenge and support. The trust therefore seeks up to four trustees, with varied skills including corporate governance, HR, legal compliance and general business development. Board meetings are held in the Blackburn area.
About the trust
BCHS is a mainstream 11 -16 school with 900 students on roll. It is a highly diverse and multi-cultural school, and it serves the most deprived ward in Blackburn; its deprivation indicator is almost double the national average. Around half the students are deemed to be from disadvantaged backgrounds and thus the school attracts substantial additional ‘pupil premium’ funding. Additionally, BCHS has significantly more than the national average proportion of students with special educational needs. There are a high number of students with education, health care plans (EHCPs), several needing support for issues relating to social, emotional and mental health (SEMH).
Crosshill Special School is also an 11-16 school and it currently has 67 children on roll, all with EHCPs. The main identified needs of the pupils are in the areas of language and cognition. Its pupils often also display additional needs, which is usually associated with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), Autistic Spectrum (ASD), Hearing Impairment (HI), Visual Impairment (VI) and SEMH.
Lotus School is currently being built and will open in 2020. This will be a brand new special school which was awarded to the trust by the Department for Education as a result of a free school competition with BCHS and Crosshill as key partners. It will cater for 48 children with a wide range of social, emotional and mental health.
The trust has benefitted from some skilful people who have helped with the free school and the existing schools’ conversion to academy status. The new arrangements are currently being developed and some of the initial team have also expressed interest in roles at varying levels in the new governance structure.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- Establishing the newly formed multi-academy trust - ensuring rigorous governance to provide challenge, security and support.
- Finalising the oversight of the academy conversions of the two existing schools – working in partnership under the same private financial initiative arrangement.
- Setting up Lotus School - ensuring successful growth management of the trust.
Once the MAT is established, the trust wishes to utilise its experience of vulnerable learner provision by sponsoring or supporting schools in need of rapid improvement. Hence the trust has plans to grow in the future.
Trust ethos & values
CET aim to support students to be “the best that they can be." CET treats each student as a unique individual, tailoring the curriculum to ensure each achieves their optimum potential. The trust’s main aim is that the curriculum ensures that students become successful lifelong learners and responsible citizens.
Number of positions advertised: Up to 4
Roles 1 to 4 – 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 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.
The competencies required for these roles include one or more of the following:
Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
- Corporate Governance
- Legal/ Compliance
- Non-executive/ Trustee
- Growth Management
- IT/ Technology
- Real Estate/ Property
- Risk Management
The trust is open to applicants with a range of skills and from a range of professional backgrounds.
Detailed plans for the programme of board meetings are not yet set but the trust’s leaders currently expect to have six full board meetings per year (one each half term). Early proposals are underway to develop subcommittees for Finance & Resources and Education Standards; subcommittees are likely to each meet one per term (3 meetings per year). The timings of meetings will be agreed when the board is in place but current thinking is they will begin in the late afternoon and run for up to two hours. These plans will be formalised in February; this may afford successful applicants the opportunity to contribute to the thinking and planning.
Location of board meetings and trust website
Board meetings are held at Haslingden Road, Blackburn, BB2 3HJ.
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 www.academyambassadors.org.
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 18th August 2019
Interviews: to be confirmed.