LEO Academy Trust

South East England and South London | Surrey
  • Change Management
  • Human Resources
  • Legal/Compliance
Deadline date: 27th March 2020

LEO Academy Trust seeks one new non-executive director to strengthen its governance and bring experience in line with its plans for growth. The trust’s vision is to build great learning communities, create excellence, and provide endless opportunity. This role is based in the London Borough of Sutton, and board meetings are held at Cheam Common Junior Academy.

About the trust

LEO Academy Trust is a trust of six primary schools in Sutton, which spans Nursery and the Primary education phase. Two of LEO Academy Trust’s schools, Manor Park Primary Academy and Cheam Park Farm Primary Academy are rated Outstanding by Ofsted. The trust has 3,500 pupils on roll, circa 500 staff and a budget of £18 million. The trust maintains strong finances with reserves of £1.2m.

The trust and its schools are ambitious for all children on roll and offer innovative programmes to deliver wider opportunities than are typically available in the primary phase:

  • Chromebooks for all pupils from Year 4
  • A building and development capital programme, for example 3G astroturf pitches
  • Joint projects with outside organisations and charities such as the English Cricket Board
  • Mandarin lessons
  • A school trip to China for disadvantaged pupils

The trust is able to go above and beyond in its offer for families through careful use of resources and fundraising activities. The trust has set up a Foundation to raise money to enhance opportunities for all, specifically disadvantaged pupils. The trust provides extra resources for the children to enhance the curriculum and school environment. Many of the trust schools are oversubscribed and all are fortunate to benefit from the support of their local communities.

The trust is looking to expand into the community and is currently working closely with the Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office to build its remit of schools.

Plans for the future

The focus for the trust will be ensuring managed and successful growth over the next three to five years, whilst maintaining financial stability and performance.

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

  1. To sustain growth to ensure financial stability.
  2. Development of the business side of the trust by providing support to the Chief Finance Officer and the Chief Operating Officer, enabling them to support the growth and overcome the challenges faced by a rapidly expanding business. This includes maintaining its wider community engagement within the region.
  3. Consolidate the trust board and local governing bodies by developing internal scrutiny, challenge and governance. The strategic plan also includes implementing cloud-based computing solutions across the trust such as MIS, teaching and learning and HR

Trust ethos & values

LEO’s mission is to develop:

  • Learning communities where collaboration makes a real difference and enables every pupil to reach the highest possible standards.
  • Excellence in every academy; in every hub - high expectations for everyone, of everyone and in everything
  • Opportunity for all - experiences plus ambition equals success; because everyone in the trust deserves the best.

With the help of its pupils the trust has developed its LEO values

P erseverance - Keep trying; never give up.
R espect - For everyone, every time, in everything we do.
I  magination - See. Think. Wonder. Anything is possible.
D edication - To each other and to ourselves.
E ncouragement - Work as a team and support others.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 1


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.

In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would 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)
  • Change Management
  • HR
  • Legal/ Compliance

This role involves providing challenge and support to the Executive Team and someone to take the lead on HR / Legal matters for board.

As a non-executive, you must be willing to express own opinion in a reasoned way, while also listening to the views of others and exercise sound, independent judgment. The role requires a willingness and ability to devote the necessary time and effort.

Time commitment

8-16 hours per month minimum. Six board meetings a year plus minimum of three committee meetings

Location of board meetings and trust website


Cheam Common Junior Academy, Kingsmead Avenue, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT4 8UT

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 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.


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 date: Friday 6th March 2020.