The Engage Trust

East of England and North East London | Norwich
  • Human Resources
Deadline date: 7th December 2018

The Engage Trust in Norfolk is committed to provide education for children with social, emotional and mental health needs. It seeks a non-executive director with HR experience as it seeks to improve standards. Board meetings are held in central Norwich.

About the trust

The Engage Trust was established in 2015 with the core role of providing education for children and young people whose social, emotional and mental health needs have led them to being outside of mainstream education. The trust currently has two academies; The Short Stay School for Norfolk spread across nine sites in Norfolk and the Pinetree School in Thetford, catering for over 350 children between 5 and 16 years old.

The trust believes children have the right to be healthy, happy, safe and to have high aspirations for their future. Children who exhibit challenging behaviour are appropriately supported to make progress in line with their peers or their own trajectory of success. The Engage Trust aims to provide high quality education and ensure progress for all our pupils by developing a high quality network of alternative provision and specialist academies and services.

The trust was given Financial Notice to Improve (FNTI) by the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) in February 2018. This has since been terminated and replaced by a further FNTI in September 2018. The trust is now well on its way to establishing its financial viability and looks to expand the number of schools in the trust in the future and to explore other options in order to maintain this viability.

Plans for the Future

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

  • Following the FNTI, the trust will need to ensure financial recovery to achieve the conditions set and will set in action a Recovery Plan.
  • The Engage Trust is keen to expand into surrounding counties and intends to remodel the trust structure to ensure longer term matching of Local Authority requirements. This will involve improving the capacity of Board Directors to drive improvements.
  • The trust aims to restructure and embed new models and curriculums in order to improve and refine the quality of provision for young people.


Trust Ethos & Values

The Engage Trust believes that all children and young people have the right to be healthy, happy, and safe, to be loved and respected. They want their pupils have high aspirations for their future through education that will benefit the young people themselves foremost, but also their schools, communities, families and ultimately society and the economy. For more information, please see

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:


Roles 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. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law. The competencies required for this role include:

  • HR 
  • Restructuring
  • Change Management
Person Specification

Applicants will have experience in a HR setting, with expertise in change management and leading strategic growth. All non-executive directors are expected to be pro-active, challenging and have experience of driving improvement.

Time Commitment

Minimum 10 hours/month including termly board meeting. Site visits - minimum 2 hours/month

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Board meetings are held at Drayton Old Lodge, 146 Drayton High Road, Drayton, Norwich, Norfolk NR8 6AN.

Background on Academy Trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 73% of secondary schools and 29% 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 760 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.

“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

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 7th December 2018