Link Academy Trust

South West England | Devon
  • Branding/Marketing
  • CFO/Financial
  • IT/Technology
Deadline date: 15th November 2019

Link Academy Trust is based in Devon and consists of twelve, small and rural primary schools. The trust is focused on putting the whole child at its heart and developing its staff. The trust is seeking three non-executive directors to support the Board in succession planning for the Chair and overseeing delivery of its strategic plan for the benefit of local children and their communities. Board meetings are held in Landscove, Devon.

About the trust

The Link Academy Trust was formed in April 2016 when six small primary schools formed a multi-academy trust focused on being ‘stronger together’ in terms of driving school improvement, offering staff professional development opportunities and creating a Central Business Team in a larger organisation.

The trust now oversees twelve small primary schools in Devon: Bearnes, Broadhempston, Cheriton Bishop, Diptford, Drakes East Budleigh, Harbertonford, Hennock, Landscove, Otterton, Stoke Gabriel, Tedburn St Mary and Yeoford (October 2019). Five schools are situated in rural villages around Totnes, set within the South Hams region of Devon. Hennock is on Dartmoor and Bearnes Primary is a village school set within the market town of Newton Abbot; Cheriton, Tedburn St Mary and Yeoford are in the Woodleigh area near Crediton. Drakes East Budleigh and Otterton are in East Devon.

The academies are vibrant and exciting places to be part of, yet their small size enables them to know every child and build strong relationships with each family. High academic standards are achieved through the provision of exciting curriculum that capitalise on their rich surroundings. Each school draws from varied settings: from long-standing outstanding performing schools to those with high levels of deprivation, safeguarding issues and special needs. Collaboration reflects the understanding that every individual academy has a huge amount to offer. A caring, nurturing environment, with dedicated staff who strive to meet every child’s needs is achieved with a culture of high expectations through first rate systems and procedures that ensure they are effective and efficient. Working together, their schools achieve more for the children. They learn together, support each other, share their expertise and ensure they are always up to date, ready to offer the very highest standards of teaching and provide exceptional learning opportunities.

Across the twelve schools this year, the trust has 864 pupils and 170 staff.  For the last financial year ended 31 August 2019, turnover was £4.4m; this year turnover is expected to be £5.2m.

Plans for the future

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

  • Growth - managed growth following a period of consolidation. The ethos of all new or joining schools must align with the trust which is expected to continue to expand rapidly due to its positive reputation and new housing developments.
  • Facilities – the trust’s estate would benefit from grant funding to ensure all pupils have access to a fit for purpose learning environment plus pre and after school care as well as holiday clubs all year round.
  • Financial sustainability – the trust is committed to investing in its staff and fulfilling pledges made by the government in relation to teacher pay increases; however, funding is largely dependent on pupil numbers so, the trust wishes to generate other sources of income to provide pupils with the added extras they would benefit from.

Trust ethos & values

Small schools, big opportunities:

  • Unforgettable experiences- setting the foundations for life
  • No ceiling, the highest possible achievement for all
  • Individuality valued, collaboration not competition
  • People matter, every interaction, every moment

Weblink to full mission statement: http://www.thelink.academy/web/vision__values/405840

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:

3

Roles 1-3 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

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 these roles includes:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • Branding/ Marketing OR
  • CFO/ Finance OR
  • IT/ Technology
Desirable
  • Chair/Succession planning
  • Growth Management
  • Property/Estate Management

As a trust of mixed schools, community, voluntary controlled and voluntary aided, the governance structure is seven foundation to five non-foundation trustees. All trustees would need to support upholding the Christian Distinctiveness of Church Schools.

Expertise in branding/ marketing to support trust growth and expansion, including promotion of the Link.

Supporting possible significant expansion (doubling pupil numbers) anticipated October 2019 - January 2020.

Expressions of interest are invited to take up the Board Chair role from December 2020.

Time commitment

6 hours /month minimum.

Location of board meetings and trust website

http://www.thelink.academy/web

Board meetings are held at Landscove Primary School, Landscove, Ashburton, Devon, TQ13 7LY.

Governance structure

http://www.thelink.academy/web/governance

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 69% of secondary schools and 33% 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 900 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.

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 15th November 2019