Inspire Multi Academy Trust

North of England | Sunderland
  • CEO/ General Management
  • IT/Technology
  • Non-executive/Trustee
  • Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 31st January 2020

Inspire Multi Academy Trust, a five-school trust located in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, endeavours to place children at the heart of a shared vision, ethos and values. The trust aspires to grow over the next 12-18 month period and with this objective in its focus, the board aims to evolve its governance structures and arrangements to ensure robust oversight. Trust board meetings are held at multiple locations in the Sunderland locale.

About the trust

Originally formed in 2012 by the governing body of Farringdon Academy, New Penshaw and Plains Farm Academy both joined the trust in April 2013, followed in July 2016 by Burnside Academy and Fatfield Academy.

The schools within the MAT typically serve communities with high levels of deprivation, where children and families face social and economic barriers, which pose significant challenge to their life chances. The trust is committed to raising aspirations and ensuring pupils make good progress; working closely with families to give pupils the best start in life.

Plans for the Future

The trust has ambitions to grow strategically over time and to welcome new schools into the Inspire family of academies.

The main objectives for the trust over the next 12-24 months include:

  1. Teaching and support - Ensuring the trust continues to deliver high quality teaching and effective support, which in turn results in accelerated pupil progress and raised standards of attainment;
  2. Student outcomes - Focusing on raising outcomes and progress of pupils within all core subjects for all groups of pupils in all schools;
  3. Professional development - Ensuring suitable workforce development to enable all staff to feel supported to meet their potential and experience success. The trust aims to have a shared, clear focus on developing colleagues, leading to rapid and sustained improvement;
  4. Growth - Delivering sustainable growth whilst maintaining efficient and effective practices, with an appropriate balance between efficiency and success, allowing for maximum impact on pupil progress and attainment.


Trust Ethos & Values

Children are at the heart of all decision-making where high aspiration, mutual support, challenge, honesty and respect enables all to achieve their potential.

Inspire Multi Academy Trust is committed to providing the highest standards within its family of schools. It has clear aims, clarity of purpose and a vision that is shared by all stakeholders. The trust’s major aim is to create and foster a culture of high aspiration within all stakeholders and to enable and empower pupils to achieve to the highest levels regardless of their social or economic background. The trust strives for excellence in everything it seeks to achieve across all five of the participating schools, particularly in attainment and progress, the quality of teaching and leadership and management. Lifelong learning is at the heart of the trust and is reflected by the engagement of all stakeholders in developing and improving learning while providing outstanding progress and achievement for all.

For more information on the trust’s ethos and vision:

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 


Roles 1&2 – Trustee/ Non-Executive Director

Trustees/Non-Executive Directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; their role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team.  The board of trustees strategically manage the business of the academy trust and may exercise powers in line with the Scheme of Delegation. 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 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.

Person Specification

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:

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

  • Non-executive/ Trustee AND

  • Estates/ Property AND

  • CEO/ General Management OR

  • IT/ Technology

  • Strategic Leadership

  • Procurement

  • Project Management


Role 1 – IT Systems and Operations: The ideal candidate will have an extensive background at senior management or director level within the IT sector in a corporate or charitable organisation. The candidate will demonstrate knowledge and experience across the IT sector as a whole, specifically IT hardware and/or software provision, telecommunications systems, networking and security.  Experience of having led or overseen the procurement and implementation of IT systems within an organisation would be advantageous. 

Adherence to the Nolan Principles of Public Life are a prerequisite for the role, as well as an ability to operate in an ‘eyes on, hands off’ capacity. Previous experience in a non-executive director role is essential in order to provide suitable knowledge and insight to the role.

Role 2 – Estates Management/Asset Management: The ideal candidate will have a background in estate management/asset management either within a corporate of charitable organisation at senior manager or director level. The candidate will demonstrate architectural, building development or facilities management experience. Experience of planning and delivering capital projects is preferred and demonstrating project management experience would also be an advantage.

An individual with extensive experience in the sphere of corporate governance is highly sought, bringing knowledge and expertise in strategic oversight to ensure there is a high degree of accountability on the trust’s board. Adherence to the Nolan Principles of Public Life are a prerequisite for the role, as well as an ability to operate in an ‘eyes on, hands off’ capacity. Previous experience in a non-executive director role is essential in order to provide suitable knowledge and insight to the role.

Time Commitment

Six meetings annually, although the trust welcomes additional ad hoc input from its trustees.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at multiple trust school locations around the Sunderland area.

Trust website -

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 980 multi academy trusts of 2+ 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 (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.

Deadline for applications: Friday, January 31st, 2020