Community Schools Trust

East of England and North East London | Forest Gate, London
  • Branding/Marketing
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Change Management
  • Human Resources
Deadline date: 21st February 2020

The Community Schools Trust is based in East London across multiple locations and serving three schools. This high performing trust (Forest Gate Community School’s progress 8 score has been in the top fifty of all schools nationally for the past four years) seeks a new trustee to join the highly skilled board, bringing added value in their skills and experience.
Board meetings are held in Community Schools Trust, Forest Gate Community School, Forest Lane, Forest Gate, London E7 9BB.

About the trust

The Community Schools Trust has three secondary schools in east London serving a total of 3,400 pupils with 400 staff. They are Forest Gate Community School, which has an Outstanding Ofsted rating,The Cumberland School (Ofsted Requires Improvement)  joined the trust in May 2018 and the schools are working in partnership to improve educational standards.

Their most recent school, Hackney New School (Ofsted rating inadequate), joined in November 2019, and offers personalised education with a focus on well-being and music.

With a budget of £30 million, the trust is looking for strong leadership from its trustees to reach its aim of improving student academic success, behaviour and teaching standards. The trust believes that schools are at the centre of their communities and aims for all students to reach their highest potential.

Plans for the future

The trust has key objectives for pupils to make good progress, effective lesson feedback, and effective organisational systems. They aim for strong leadership from all areas of the school.

Three key challenges for the trust over the next 12-24 months are:   

  • To improve the progress of all students so that it is above the national average.
  • To improve the behaviour of the students on site and to create a safe site.
  • To improve teaching and learning by training and developing the staff.

The trust aspires for all its schools to be judged as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Trust ethos and values

The trust has the highest possible ambition for educational success and aim to raise achievement for all. It expects all members of each school community to challenge each other to reach high standards, and to never accept mediocrity.

The trusts core values are:

  • The highest possible ambition for educational success and aim to raise achievement for all.
  • Commitment to improving the life chances of all students.
  • Desire to provide a disciplined, safe and structured school environment with open and regular lines of communication between all stakeholders.
  • Commitment to offering a broad, balanced curriculum for all with a strong focus on the acquisition of skills for learning, literacy, numeracy, social and cultural development, employment and citizenship.
  • High expectations of all members of each school community to challenge each other to reach high standards and to never accepting mediocrity.
  • Belief that schools should stand at the centre of their communities and work closely with parents.
  • Desire to inculcate a strong culture of learning that encourages the participation of local communities and stakeholders in shaping the educational offer.


Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2

Role 1 – Non-Executive Director/ Trustee

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 are subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

Person specification

The trustee would join the board of the Community Schools Trust. 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 this role includes:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • Leadership
  • Strategic HR/ Change Management
  • PR/ marketing
  • Real estate/ Property
  • Turnaround

Role spec: The ideal candidate will have experience of bringing about rapid change and improving standards in an organisation.

Time commitment

6 hours /month minimum. There are 6 of board meetings a year.

Role 2 - Member

A member is able to alter the trust’s Articles of Association and appoint (or remove) trustees/directors where necessary. They provide independent oversight to the work of the board of trustees in order to ensure suitable accountability for its decision making and strategy. Members should have an impeccable understanding of the role of governance in public life. This may have been gained in a wide range of senior leadership roles. They are likely to have previous experience in a non-executive director or trustee role.

Person Specification

There is an expectation from the DfE that Members should have skills in corporate governance, finance, legal, HR and education to enable holding the Trustees to account. The trust seeks an individual with an extensive and demonstrable background in a senior management position, with strategic vision and knowledge of the role of a non-executive director.

The competencies required for this role include:

  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance
  • Communications/PR
  • CEO/General Management
  • Growth Management
Time Commitment

Members only meet once a year so the commitment is likely to be 6 hours a year.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Forest Gate Community School, Forest Lane, Forest Gate, London E7 9BB.

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 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.


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, 21st February 2020