The Learning for Life Education Trust (LfLET)

North West London and South Central England | Irthlingborough
  • CEO/ General Management
  • CFO/Financial
  • Growth Management
  • Human Resources
  • Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 29th May 2020

The Learning for Life Education Trust (LfLET) seeks two non-executive directors, one with expertise in finance and one with a background in business growth and/or HR to join their experienced board which includes a National Leader in Governance. The trust office is located in East Northamptonshire and currently consists of four primary-age schools, all Ofsted rated ‘Good’. Finedon Mulso Junior school is a CEVA school.  The trust seeks to ensure financial and operational sustainability in the coming years. Board meetings are held in Irthlingborough.

About the trust

The Learning for Life Education (LfLET) schools have collaborated for many years as the two small towns of Irthlingborough and Finedon are just over a mile apart. All four schools are located in relatively deprived areas, with a higher than average number of pupils on free-school meals in both junior schools.

The Multi Academy Trust was established on 1st April 2015 as The Irthlingborough and Finedon Learning Trust, following several years of close collaboration between the schools of Irthlingborough and Finedon. The trust changes its name to Learning for Life to reflect the core educational vision for our children, parents, staff and the wider community. The LfLET also want to grow the trust by working with schools beyond the geographical boundaries of itsfounding schools. 

The trust are in an excellent position to fully embrace the opportunities that are available in the current and ever-changing educational landscape. They are fully focused on improving standards within their schools - building upon existing partnerships and creating new ones. 

The team of teachers, support staff, directors, governors, parents and carers is committed to ensuring that all pupils receive the very best educational opportunities and achieve the best outcomes. 

Plans for the future

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

  1. Financial sustainability:  the trust recognises the need to ensure the central support function is financially viable and sustainable. One way to achieve this is to increase the number of schools within the trust.
  2. Governance: the trust aims to establish clear communication channels between directors, each school’s local governance committee and staff.
  3. School improvement: Each school has undergone rigorous self-evaluation and the trust has identified common areas for improvement.

The trust’s five-year ambition is to be a strong multi-academy trust with up to 10 schools (approximately 3000 pupils). The trust aims to add these schools according to a measured expansion plan to ensure successful and seamless growth.

Trust ethos & values

The trust seeks to work collaboratively to ensure that its children achieve better academic and social outcomes. The trust believes that children should have options for their futures which are not constrained by their current personal situation. The trust further aims to enable every child and adult to achieve their best by developing an aspirational culture and environment.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2
Roles 1-2 – Trustees/Non-Executive Directors

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 manages the 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 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.

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 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: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583733/Competency_framework_for_governance_.pdf

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • CFO/ Finance
  • Growth Management
  • HR
Desirable
  • Qualified Accountant
  • Estate/property management

The successful appointees will have experience working at board level and be able to think strategically and ask effective questions in the pursuit of solving problems and analysing key trust decisions.

Both appointees will: ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction; monitor the financial performance of the trust; establish a culture of high educational standards; ensure all pupils have access to a broad and balanced curriculum; and monitor educational performance of the academies.

Candidates with an existing understanding of the key challenges faced in the education sector are encouraged to apply.

The trust seeks an individual with:

  • the ability to communicate with all stakeholders and associated bodies
  • understanding and experience of strategic approaches to improvement
  • enthusiasm and commitment to making a difference for children and communities
  • experience of managing meetings
  • experience of finance, statutory accounts, setting budgets and financial controls.
  • and/or experience of HR/personnel management

A commitment to safeguarding of children and adults is an essential requirement.

Knowledge of child safeguarding and wellbeing, complaint handling and appeals would be warmly welcomed but is not a requirement. Training will be provided in these areas.

Time commitment

Eight hours /month minimum.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Irthlingborough Nursery and Infant School, Scarborough Street, Irthlingborough, NN9 5TT.

www.learningforlifetrust.org.uk

Governance structure

The board of directors delegates to four sub-committees; Learning-Outcomes, Learning-Provision, Finance and Personnel, Health, Safety and Premises

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 832 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.

“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.

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 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.