Nene Education Trust

North West London and South Central England | Wellingborough | Rushden | Kettering
  • CFO/Financial
  • Chair
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Non-executive/Trustee
Deadline date: 25th October 2019

The Nene Education Trust in Northamptonshire, a trust which successfully expanded from 3 to 7 schools in 2019, now seeks two non-executive directors (one as board Chair) and one member. The chair will ideally have experience as chair in business or a multi-academy trust, whilst the non-executive director will have audit or risk expertise.  Board meetings are held in Raunds, Wellingborough, NN9 6PA.

About the trust

Nene Education Trust is a multi-academy trust based in Raunds, Northamptonshire, currently with seven academies collectively catering for students from ages four through to 18, enabling children to complete their education through the Nene Education Trust with guided transitions between primary and secondary levels.

The trust was established in 2013 when the secondary Manor School Sports College agreed to sponsor St. Peter’s C of E Academy which caters for both boys and girls between the ages of seven and 11. Manor School Sports College is a ‘Good’ school with parents choosing the school from a wide range of catchment areas, not just feeder schools in the direct locality. The success of Manor School has led to increased intake numbers for the last two years. Within 18 months of joining the trust, St. Peter’s C of E Academy improved from Special Measures to Good and has since maintained this rating. Stanwick Primary Academy joined the trust in August 2016, widening the age range within the trust so that boys and girls from the age of 4 upwards can be educated through the trust’s academy system. Stanwick has recently been recognised as a Good school by Ofsted (June 2019) again demonstrating the capacity of the trust to improve its schools. In July 2018 Windmill Primary and Newton Road Primary (formerly Risdene Academy) joined the Nene Education Trust both moving from the defunct Education Fellowship Trust. Within 3 months of joining Windmill were reconfirmed as a Good school by Oftsed. Newton Road joins the trust without an Ofsted category but were classified as Special Measures in their previous guise. Most recently in June 2019, Park Infants (Raunds) and Woodford CE Primary have joined the trust. This has added further breadth to our church schools as well as Early Years and Key Stage 1.

The Nene Education Trust has developed a reputation for delivering high quality educational and personal support for young people in East Northamptonshire.

The trust governance structure is currently being reviewed to ensure that it is fit for purpose. The members and trustees are currently reviewing the overall structure of governance, the scheme of delegation as well as updating terms of reference for all layers of trust governance. The trust board are fully aware that all accountability sits with them and that the governance structure needs to work efficiently to best enact this responsibility. There are a strong number of volunteers at all levels of governance.

Plans for the future

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

  1. Growth of the trust - to the extent that the trust grows it is essential to ensure that the correct personnel are at the heart of this. A growing central support team and effective school improvement strategy are key components to continuing the success of the Nene Learning Trust. The Trust is exploring a potential merger at present.
  2. Buildings - The management and development of the estate of schools is a key challenge. A strategic ten year plan for the development of the estate alongside realising funding to ensure this happens is a crucial next step. The trust secured £1.5m from the DfE in 2019 and is keen to secure a further £4,5m to provide the additional teaching space needed.
  3. Value for Money - The growth of the trust offers the opportunity to find greater value for money regarding the contracts and services used by all the schools. The top slice taken from each schools budget is targeted to reduce from 7% to 5% over the next few years.

Trust ethos & values

Raising aspirations and developing character is at the heart of everything we do within our schools to enable each young person to achieve highly and be successful in life contributing back to the world we live in. Throughout their educational journey in the Nene Education Trust we aim to develop all our learners within a positive environment for learning along with opportunities to develop their spiritual and moral compass so that they grow with integrity.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:

3

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)
  • Chairing
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth - mergers and acquisitions
Desirable
  • Real Estate/property and bids
  • HR and restructuring
  • Legal/compliance
Role 1 – Vice-Chair or Chair

As a result of current chair coming to the end of their very successful term of office the Trust is seeking an experienced Chair who will lead and develop the board of trustees and help them navigate the growth of a collaborative progressive MAT. The Chair will steer the board, set its direction and agenda, and take the lead in holding the executive to account.

Time commitment

10-12 hours /month minimum. The trust has 6 full board meetings a year plus up to 6 sub-committee meetings.

Role 2 Trustee - Risk

The trust would welcome applicants who have clear experience of managing substantial risks across multiple sites, preferably with relevant professional qualifications.

Time commitment

6 hours /month minimum.

Role 3 – Member

A member is able to alter the trust’s Articles of Association and appoint (or remove) trustees/directors where necessary. They provide independent oversight to the work of the board of trustees in order to ensure suitable accountability for its decision making and strategy. At The Manor Learning Trust the members are expected to be signatories for the academy trust, to attend 2 meetings per year, and to add to the already broad skillset within the existing team of members.

Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential
  • CFO/ Finance
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance
Desirable
  • Audit
  • Corporate Governance
  • Strategic leadership
Time commitment

3 hours per month minimum.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Mountbatten Way, Raunds, Wellingborough, NN9 6PA.

Trust website: https://neneeducationtrust.org.uk/

Governance structure

Please see https://neneeducationtrust.org.uk/documents/governor-documents for information on the trust’s 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.