Furness Academies Trust

North of England | Barrow-in-Furness
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
Deadline date: 13th July 2018

Furness Academies Trust, a trust sponsored by BAE Systems Submarines in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, is seeking new board members, bringing strong business management skills and experience in the field of corporate governance as it seeks to grow the trust. Board meetings are held at Furness Academy, Barrow-in-Furness.

About the trust

A new-build academy of around 800 students, Furness Academies Trust is a multi-academy trust (MAT) sponsored by BAE Systems Submarines, which was formally appointed in August 2015 by the Department for Education (DfE) as the sponsor. At present only containing one school – Furness Academy - the trust caters to students aged 11-16 years and has a growing intake year-on-year.

Adjacent to areas of high deprivation, currently 45% of the pupils at the trust are underprivileged; following a period in 'Special Measures' in 2014/15, the most recent Ofsted Inspection (October 2017) assessed the trust as 'Good'. The MAT's constitution has positions for nine Member-appointed trustees - at present comprising BAE Systems senior employees with a wide range of specialist skills - and four co-opted trustees - retired senior education specialists and one Local Authority representative. As a result of two recent retirement resignations, there is a vacancy in each category, to which the trust is seeking to recruit.

The MAT is in the early stages of growth and assessing future development options, including incorporation of nearby Primary schools in the first instance.

Plans for the Future

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

  1. To produce a plan for engagement with selected local Primary schools to determine their interest in collaborating in the development of the Furness Academies Trust for the overall benefit of the local community.
  2. To determine the potential for creation of a Sixth Form at Furness Academy and determine the factors that need to be taken into account, particularly with regard to engagement with local stakeholders.
  3. To produce resourced programmes for implementation of the aforementioned outcomes, with clarity on: the required capability, infrastructure and organisation for delivery; the extent and source of the required funding; and the risks to be mitigated and managed.

The trust aims to implement the above challenges whilst continuing to ensure that the operational performance of Furness Academy increases, and there are focussed improvements in overall trust board effectiveness in governance and assurance. The trust is actively seeking to appoint as trustees a growing number of candidates with significant business skills.

Trust Ethos & Values

The trust has a vision to use its collective capabilities to provide a high quality teaching and learning culture that enables all pupils to achieve their full potential in safe and high-integrity environments. This culture will develop core skills, foster curiosity and critical thinking, raise aspirations, and produce socially confident and resilient young people.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:

Roles 1&2 – 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.

Non-executive directors will be responsible for maintaining stability during a period of rapid growth and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and growth, and holding the CEO/CFO to account.

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)
  • Corporate Governance AND
  • CEO/ General Management OR
  • Growth Management
  • Legal/ Compliance
  • Risk
  • Succession Planning
  • Branding/ Marketing
  • Change Management
  • HR
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
Person Specification

Both of the roles require individuals possessing a strong ‘general’ skillset from across the business sphere, but with a specific requirement for growth management from at least one candidate. Experience working in a role with responsibility for corporate governance is essential.

The trust also seeks a broad array of complementary skills, as listed in the ‘desirable’ section, to help develop its board strength and breadth. Experience in project or business management at a senior level would be advantageous, along with a willingness to work constructively and effectively with all in accordance with the 'Nolan Principles: Standards of Public Life'.

Time Commitment

6 hours /month minimum.

Location of Board Meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Furness Academy, Park Drive, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA13 9BB

Trust website – www.furnessacademy.co.uk

Governance Structure


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 www.academyambassadors.org.

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, July 13