The Danes Educational Trust is currently growing from two to six schools in Hertfordshire and seeks an experienced finance non-executive director. You should be an expert at interrogating the budget, thinking strategically and able to hold the CFO and executive team to account. The trust has proven expertise in school improvement and turning schools round, they are committed to education innovation and have a particular interest in outstanding music provision. You will be expected to attend 9-11 meetings a year and board meetings are held in Chorleywood, Rickmansworth.
About the trust
The Danes Educational Trust was established as a multi-academy trust in June 2016, with St Clement Danes School, rated Outstanding by Ofsted and Croxley Danes School. Croxley Danes School, an 11 to 18 secondary school, opened in September 2017 with Year 7 students and will grow year on year.
The trust has ambitious growth plans, with Chorleywood Primary and The Russell School joining in November/ December 2018 and two more secondary schools in the pipeline to join bringing the number of schools to six by summer 2019.
The trust has an association with St Clement Danes’ founding charity, Holborn Estates, established in London in 1551.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- Managing growth to ensure a consistent educational approach across all the schools as they join.
- Communication - to ensure all schools feel part of the trust and stakeholder relationships are managed effectively.
- Maintaining financial strength and growing the central services team at the right pace to ensure adequate service delivery without excessive expenditure.
- Further growth – further expansion planned after a period of consolidation with the aim to create hubs of secondary schools with surrounding feeder primaries. A growth strategy is in place which will expand the trust to 7-10 schools over the next three years.
The trust is building a network of high-performing schools in partnership with the local community and expect that secondary schools will, in time, build hubs of their own with local primary schools. This will enable a smooth transition of pupils between primary and secondary education.
Trust ethos & values
The trust’s vision is to provide a forward-looking hub of primary and secondary schools that serves families in their local areas. The trust is characterised by an open culture that accepts accountability, is innovative, informed by research and supports competition. There is an expectation in all the schools within the trust that:
- all students make better than expected progress
- teaching is routinely good or outstanding
- all schools are striving for excellence
- student enjoyment is high
- there are high levels of stakeholder engagement and that trust schools are at the heart of their communities
- the schools are oversubscribed and held in high esteem by parents, students and staff
- students are proud to say that they attend a school within the Danes Educational Trust
Number of positions advertised:
Role 1 – 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. 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 this role include:
- CFO/ Finance
- Qualified accountant
- Growth Management
- Remuneration Committee Chair
- Corporate Governance
The trust welcomes chartered accountants or ACCA or with other appropriate relevant qualifications to oversee the finances of the trust, working closely with the Finance Director. You will have a minimum of 10-15 years’ leadership and financial management experience, including (ideally) 3-5 years at C Suite level. You should be an expert at interrogating the budget, establishing internal procedures and have a desire to seek and implement finance improvements. The successful candidate may also be asked to chair the trust’s finance committee.
6 hours per month (minimum).
Location of board meetings and trust website
https://www.daneseducationaltrust.org.uk/ St Clement Danes School, Chenies Road, Chorleywood, WD3 6EW
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.