Ebor Academy Trust

East Midlands and Humber | York
  • Audit
  • CFO/Financial
  • Legal
  • Legal/Compliance
Deadline date: 18th September 2020

Ebor Academy Trust is a family of schools with a sense of responsibility for each other. The trust seeks to recruit two new non-executive directors with skills in finance/accountancy and legal/compliance to help the board in its role to support and challenge the executives. The trust has very close links to the Church of England’s Diocese of York but applicants of all faiths and of none are welcomed. Board meetings are held in York.

About the trust

Ebor Academy Trust was established in 2013 to support a school in York that had been failing for some time and less than three years after it joined, the school was rated Good by Ofsted. This rating validated the trust’s approaches and systems and was the foundation for school improvement activity which continues to this day.

The trust comprises a mix of community and church schools with strong links to York St John University and the Diocese of York.  This innovative partnership has brought together organisations that share common values and the same moral purpose.

The schools within Ebor Academy Trust have varied and diverse backgrounds, including small village schools, large urban schools, schools in challenging circumstances and those which have the capacity to support others. The trust’s schools operate in geographic hubs in York, Selby, on the Yorkshire coast and in East Riding and the Humber.

In total, the trust comprises 23 primary schools and an 11-16 secondary school. The primaries include Hob Moor Oaks which is a school for children with a range of complex special educational need as well as some with physical disabilities.  This is co-located with a mainstream primary school and allows the children and staff to work even more closely together for the benefit of all the children. 

With 24 academies, Ebor is one of the region’s largest trusts providing for around 6,000 pupils and managing a budget of almost £47m. Some other schools were considering joining the trust prior to the Covid-19 pandemic which has caused discussions to be paused.  The trust has undergone some changes in the past year with the appointment of a new CEO and COO and is looking to review its approach for the next stage of development.  It is anticipated that the hub-model (with hubs centred on York, North and East Yorkshire, Hull and the Humber) will be developed such that local communities of schools can be mutually supportive., A trust visioning day had to be postponed owing to the virus, but it is hoped this will be re-scheduled for September and allow the new trustees to contribute to the future planning.

Plans for the future

The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. To maintain the positive ethos of the trust through times of change, with a focus on the provision of a high quality education for all our children and young people, within a caring and developmental community. Responding effectively to the issues around Covid19 pandemic across the trust’s 24 schools
  2. To strategically plan for the next 5 years in conjunction with the executive team who are relatively new in post
  3. To ensure all levels of management and governance are working effectively and symbiotically.

Trust ethos & values

The trust’s vision is to create an environment where there is a desire to learn. It strives to support its pupils to develop the ability to communicate effectively, collaborate with others and think critically and creatively.

Ebor stands for Excellence, Belonging, Opportunity, Respect. Information on the trust’s vision and values is available here: http://www.eboracademytrust.co.uk/our-vision/

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2

Roles 1&2 – 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 governs the strategic 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 accountable 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/COO 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: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583733/Competency_framework_for_governance_.pdf

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 OR
  • Legal/Compliance
Desirable
  • Corporate Governance
  • Audit

Role 1 - The trust seeks an individual with significant finance experience to bring depth of knowledge, critical challenge and scrutiny to its board. In particular, the trust seeks individuals with a proven record of accomplishment and, where possible, a relevant professional qualification, in the field of accountancy. The ideal candidate will have the capacity to take a strategic view and willingness to delve into detail, where required.

The trust is interested in candidates who have an understanding of governance who, in time, may be willing to chair the finance committee. The suitable individual will be cooperative and consultative, and must have the ability to challenge with clarity.

Role 2 – The trust seeks an experienced professional with skills in the legal/compliance field.  The ideal candidate will have a legal qualification, will help scrutinize the various aspects of compliance and provide broader understanding on the board of information given by its legal advisers when necessary.

The suitable individual should have significant leadership experience and a proven track-record of strategic planning and/or oversight. They must be able to interpret data in all its forms and will have the ability to question and provide challenge.

Time commitment

The board meets five times a year; once to plan the next 12-24 months, followed by termly board meetings (autumn, spring, and summer) followed by a review and evaluation meeting before the summer break.

In addition, the trust has a range of subcommittees which support the board’s operation and meet once per term. These include Finance, Performance & Effectiveness, People, Facilities and Audit & Risk which meet termly.  The trust also has a due diligence committee which meets when overseeing the adoption of a new school into the trust. New trustees may well be invited to join a subcommittee which reflects their skills and interests.

Board and sub-committee meetings tend to start at 6 or 6.30pm and last for up to 2 hours.

Overall trustees are expected to commit around 6 hours per month (on average) which will include the reading of papers, etc ahead of meetings.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Ebor Business and Training Centre, The Leyes, Osbaldwick, York, YO10 3PR

www.eboracademytrust.co.uk

Governance structure

https://www.eboracademytrust.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/EborStructureFeb20.pdf

The above links to the most recent governance structure available on the trust site. A few changes were recently made to the trust governance structure to enhance operations, including the introduction of an Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. The trust is very happy to speak with interested candidates about recent updates to governance and plans moving forward.

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. 

Applications

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 18th September 2020