The Collaborative Learning Trust

Lancashire and West Yorkshire | Leeds
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Change Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Non-executive/Trustee
  • Public Sector
Deadline date: 11th September 2020

The Collaborative Learning Trust seeks up to four new non-executive directors with a range of professional experiences to join the board. The trust currently comprises three schools – one secondary, two primary – and seeks to grow. Board meetings are held in Leeds.

About the trust

The Collaborative Learning Trust grew out of a close relationship with Prince Henry’s Grammar School and Bramhope Primary School which had worked particularly closely for a while and they formed the initial multi-academy trust.  St Mary’s CoE Primary School, Hunslet joined the trust earlier this year and is now working even more closely with trust team to accelerate improvements.  Across its three schools, The Collaborative Learning Trust caters for 2,215 pupils with the full range and abilities from nursery through to post 16. It has almost 300 employees and a budget of approximately £11.4 million.

Plans for the future

  1. COVID-19 response and the safe re-opening of schools to allow all students to catch up and get back on track with their learning and achievement.
  2. Further support the one Special Measures school to secure a Good Ofsted judgement at its next inspection.
  3. Secure further growth of the trust in line with the trust's vision.
  4. Managing the finances of the trust to ensure the operation of all schools is sustainable.

Long term plans are focused on growing the trust. Potentially reaching nine by January 2022, ideally with six primaries and three secondary schools.

Trust ethos & values

Vision: The Collaborative Learning Trust will be recognised as a highly successful learning community that provides outstanding, sustainable, and inclusive ‘nursery to 19’ education for young people of all abilities. Students will leave Collaborative Learning Trust schools having enjoyed their education and developed into lifelong independent learners with the creativity, adaptability, resilience and leadership skills to contribute to, and succeed in, 21st century society.

Values: Education for:

  • the common good of the whole community
  • dignity and respect – a focus on equality for all, trust, integrity, respect and an appreciation of diversity
  • wisdom, knowledge and skills – high quality teaching and learning designed to secure the ‘all round’ education of young people and engender a passion for learning
  • hope and aspiration – a culture of aspiration and success

Further information on the trust’s vision and values is available at:

Role summary

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 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 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)
  • CEO/General Management
  • Growth Management
  • Change Management
  • Corporate/Charity Governance
  • CFO/ Finance
  • Audit
  • Real Estate/Property

The trust is seeking to add capacity to its existing board which has a broad skillset. Individuals with a range of specialisms are welcome to apply and should have senior/executive experience with a proven track record of seeing strategy through to impact. They should be effective communicators with an ability to interpret data from a range of sources and provide constructive challenge and seek compromise when necessary.  The trust is keen to see individuals with board-level experience including those that may have contributed to a charity or not-for-profit company. The trust is particularly interested in anyone with board level experience of successfully growing a multi-academy trust.

Time commitment

The trust meets as a full board once each half-term (i.e. SIX meetings per year).  Board meetings are generally held on Monday evenings between 7 and 9 pm.  Some trustees are invited to join the Audit & Finance sub committee which also meets once each half term (SIX meetings per year) and meetings tend to be held on Tuesdays between 6 and 8 pm.  During the Covid 19 pandemic the trust has met using  common video conference technology and they anticipate this practice may continue for a while.  The chair is keen to revert to some meetings to be held at their schools on a rota basis but it is possible that some trustees might continue to join some meetings by video. It is not essential for trustees to live in the immediate region but this might be useful to ensure physical presence at some meetings.  Annually, the trust also holds ONE extended strategic planning meeting (4-5 hours) which is organized in consultation with the trustees to best fit around other commitments.  It is expected that trustees will need to devote up to 6 hours (on average) per month to trust business

Location of board meetings and trust website

The trust plans to rotate the meetings between its schools which are:

Prince Henry's Grammar School, Farnley Lane, Otley, LS21 2BB

Bramhope Primary School, Tredgold Crescent, Leeds, LS16 9BR

St Mary’s CoE Primary School, Church Street, Hunslet,  LS10 2QY

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 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.

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 click on the register now button.

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.

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 email [email protected].

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.

Deadline for applications: Friday 11th September 2020