The Dunraven Educational Trust (DET)

South East England and South London | Streatham
Deadline date: 24th March 2020

Dunraven Educational Trust (DET), a multi-academy trust with over 2,400 pupils, seeks to recruit two non-executive directors, one of whom it is intended will take on the chair role within 12-18 months. Candidates should possess either human resources or financial expertise. Board meetings are held in Streatham, SW16.

About the trust

The Dunraven Educational Trust is a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) currently consisting of three schools: Dunraven School, a 4-18 all-through academy in Streatham; Van Gogh Primary in Stockwell, which was formerly part of the Durand Education Trust; and Goldfinch Primary in Streatham Vale. The Trust was founded in 2015 and became a MAT in 2018.

DET wants to change lives for the better, to promote social mobility and to develop young people who are ready for the world, capable, confident and able to navigate the world successfully. It serves a culturally and ethnically diverse community with very high levels of deprivation.

In 3 years, DET aims to ensure that each school is rated good or better at the next Ofsted inspection; Dunraven is currently outstanding (October 2014) and the other two schools were in Special Measures prior to academy conversion. The schools’ contexts show that free school meals, special educational needs and/or disabilities and English as a second language are significantly above the national average. Pupil premium in Dunraven’s secondary phase is over 40% for example. There is a budget of £20 million and a staff of 300 across the Trust.

Plans for the future

Three key challenges for the next 12-24 months

As a newly established MAT, with 3 schools that are of different sizes, shapes and stages of development.

  1. To design and implement a governance structure that is robust and consistent but sufficiently flexible to allow each school to flourish and maintain its independence.
  2. To maintain healthy financial reserves and to manage risks of future funding cuts through the development of a 3 year financial plan.
  3. The finalisation of a 3 year strategic plan exploring the growth potential of the Trust through taking on new schools or merging with another multi-academy trust.

Trust ethos & values

DET has high expectations of all within the organisation and aims for excellence for, and from, everyone. This means committing to providing an excellent educational experience for children as well as an excellent professional experience for the adults employed. They achieve this through quality teaching and learning, rich curricular offering, professional development and ruthless optimism.

The Trust has a strong track record of supporting development in other schools. It has an established National Teaching School, based at Dunraven, which offers successful programmes in Initial Teacher Training, Professional Development and School to School Support. It has developed an alliance of partners, in both primary and secondary phases, in order to ensure the sustainability of its offer. The CEO, formerly the Principal of Dunraven, is a National Leader of Education and a serving Lead Inspector for Ofsted which provides a strong basis for the Trust’s school improvement work. Under the leadership of the CEO, Dunraven established a London-wide reputation for its innovative work in a number of areas especially around the Arts and Inclusive practice. Its work to keep young people in education and to reduce exclusions has been noted by the Mayor’s Office and is currently the model for a charitable development promoted by the Evening Standard. One outcome for this work can be seen in the academic performance of disadvantaged pupils, at Dunraven their GCSE outcomes for 2019 were in line with those for all pupils nationally and significantly higher than their disadvantaged peers elsewhere. Exclusions at all the Trust’s schools are significantly lower than national averages despite the challenge presented by their respective contexts. Dunraven’s work has been referenced in a number of publications about successful practice locally and nationally.

Opportunities for professional development are widespread seeing both teaching and support staff take on promoted roles within the Trust and beyond. For example, Dunraven has supported the development of senior colleagues to go on to successful headship (10 in the last 12 years); the Teaching School has trained over 100 new teachers making a significant contribution to education in London as a result.

Recent strategy sessions identified the following core values, which underpin the development of DET strategy and the development of trust wide policies and practices: Transparency, Honesty, Openness, Respect, Collaboration and Accountability.  

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2

Trustee/ Non-Executive Directors /Trust Chair

The board requires 2 non-executive directors/Trustees to join an already established and experienced Board of Directors. Applications from individuals prepared to consider taking on the role of Trust chair within 12-18 months would be particularly welcome. The Trust is also keen to develop the diversity of the Board’s membership so that it better reflects the community we serve.

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.

The Chair leads the board of non-executive directors, or trustees, managing its business while providing an element of leadership for the organisation as a whole. The role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team, most specifically the CEO. The Chair needs to ensure that the board is able to deal with problems and related proposals professionally, both in terms of the skills of the trustees and the way in which it conducts its business. S/he will have a key role to play in recruiting and inducting new trustees.

The Chair also provides strategic leadership and governance for the trust. They are responsible for the safeguarding and education of pupils, as well as for setting and monitoring performance benchmarks.

In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

Role 1 - Trustee/ Non-Executive Director HR

Potential candidates will be experienced trustees with a human resources background capable of offering guidance, scrutiny and challenge to the executive leadership team through this period of consolidation and growth. Applications from candidates with senior and strategic HR experience and responsibility within a multi-site organisation would be particularly welcome.

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

  • HR
  • Corporate Governance
Time commitment

12 hours per month minimum. Number of board meetings 6 per year

Role 2 – Trustee/ Non-Executive Director Finance

The trust seeks a qualified accountant, ideally with ACA status who would be prepared to sit on the Audit and Resources Committee.  Applications from candidates with senior and strategic Finance experience and responsibility within a multi-site organisation would be particularly welcome.

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • Finance Qualified Accountant
  • Corporate Governance

Time commitment

12 hours per month minimum. Number of board meetings 6 per year

Person specification (both roles)

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:

Location of board meetings and trust website

The Trust Board meets 6 times per year and the Annual General Meeting of the Dunraven Educational Trust is held in the Autumn Term. Board meetings are held at Dunraven School 94/98 Leigham Court Road, London, SW16 2QB.

Governance structure

Please see DET website for further information on the 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.