The Good Shepherd Multi-Academy Trust

North of England | Penrith
  • Audit
  • CFO/Financial
  • Growth Management
  • Human Resources
  • Legal/Compliance
  • Non-executive/Trustee
  • Restructuring
  • Risk
Deadline date: 26th January 2018

The Good Shepherd Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), is made up of a number of sponsored and converter academies in Cumbria. It is aiming to achieve financial independence from the Diocese of Carlisle and is seeking an experienced financial professional to help plan its future. The trust is also seeking to add skills from HR and business growth professionals to guide its growth.

Board meetings are held at Diocese of Carlisle, Church House, 19-24 Friargate, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 7XR.

About the trust

The Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust (MAT) was founded by the Diocese of Carlisle in 2014 to provide a home for church primary schools wishing to convert to academy status or needing to become sponsored academies. It is also open to non-church schools and schools beyond the Diocesan boundaries.

The trust includes sponsored and converter academies - these are all primaries; however, the trust has aspirations for secondary schools to join in the future.

The trust has five primary schools, of which one is sponsored. Each academy has fewer than 100 pupils of compulsory school age but two also have a small nursery provision. Four of the schools are Church of England schools. One of the schools is currently recommended for closure due to not being viable.

Currently, any CE schools in the Diocese must join this trust if they become academies, though this is under review. Church schools which have already become stand-alone academies are not required to join.

In terms of demographic, Cumbria is a county of variation. Some of its areas are very affluent, while others experience significant deprivation; the county has some very large schools, while in other areas the schools are far smaller. The larger population centres are generally around the edges of the county, with extensive rural settings. Against this backdrop, education outcomes are not always high.

There is one new school in the pipeline. This is a small, sponsored CE primary academy from just outside the Diocese/county. It is anticipated to join the trust on 1st September 2017.


Trust ethos & values

The trust’s mission is to support learning in Cumbria and neighbouring areas by providing high-quality educational opportunities and resources in collaboration with other organisations.

The core aim is to provide all children with excellent educational provision within a caring and supportive ethos that is rooted in Christian values and the trust believes that every child has a right to educational excellence through high quality schooling.

The trust’s values include: trust, honesty, transparency, openness, empathy, social responsibility, stewardship, humility, forgiveness and sacrificial service.


Plans for the Future

Three key challenges for your trust over the next 12-24 months are:

  • To recruit more schools, including some larger primary schools and/or secondary schools so that the trust can reach financial self-sufficiency and move towards sustainability.
  • To become financially independent of the Diocese.
  • To make an impact on the quality of educational provision across the Diocese and beyond with a particular focus on developing the management and pedagogy of small schools in rural communities.

As the trust grows, it will form local groupings of academies with more locally delegated governance and administration. Working with the Diocesan Board of Education, the trust will operate as the sole church majority governed MAT, or as one of several within the Diocese to deliver a Diocesan vision for education that interfaces with the existing Mission Communities to provide learning opportunities within the communities of Cumbria.


Role Summary
Number of Positions Advertised:  3
Role 1 – Chair of Finance Committee

To act as a trustee and Chair of the Finance Committee. The purpose of the committee is to assist the trust board and senior staff in the performance of their duties and in accordance with agreed delegations to determine, or to advise the board with regard to effective management of all aspects of the organisation’s finances.

The competencies required for this role include:

  • CFO/ Finance
  • Strategic
  • Non-executive/ trustee
  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Chair
  • Risk
  • Strategic
  • Legal/ Compliance


Person specification

An individual with a proven track record in making difficult strategic decisions is sought, in order to facilitate rapid progress. This position is related specifically to the financial operations and strategy of the trust and as such, an individual who has demonstrable experience of delivering effective management of an organisation’s finances, review of audited accounts, risk review and monitoring and review / approval of annual budget is essential. Experience and knowledge of corporate governance and expertise in the operations of board-level working are advantageous. Furthermore, a commitment to raising educational standards and willingness to apply business knowledge to this goal is desired.

The trust board is seeking a someone who will respect and uphold the Christian ethos of the trust throughout their work.

Time commitment

12 days per annum (approx.)


Role 2&3– Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Two non-executive director are sought to add strength and depth to the trust board, supporting the trust’s vision and ethos, offering guidance and advice on growing the trust and ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place to secure sustained educational provision and outcomes. The trust board is responsible for ensuring systems are in place to monitor, evaluate and challenge the performance of the trust against its annual budget and strategic plan, providing scrutiny and challenge to the board.

The competencies required for this role include (note – as two trustees are being sought, not all of the skills are required in each candidate):

  • HR
  • Business Growth
  • Corporate Governance
  • Non-executive director/ trustee
  • Restructuring


Person specification

Individuals with demonstrable experience in the field of Human Resources are sought for this role, along with knowledge, experience and a demonstrable track record in business growth. Experience of working with trade unions and an in-depth knowledge of pay and conditions is desirable in order to offer robust advice and guidance on such matters to the trust board, while evidence of working on a restructuring project is also highly desirable.

Prior experience of trust board working, and knowledge of corporate governance is vital to this role, along with evidence of experience in strategic thinking and change management.

Time commitment

9 days per annum (approx.)


Trust Website

Governance Structure

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 69% of secondary schools and 23% of primaries – and their number is growing all the time.

Many of these schools are grouped together as multi-academy trusts.  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 don’t need to have any specialist knowledge of education. 


Academy Ambassadors is a non-profit organisation 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 26th January 2018.