Nene Education Trust (NET)

North West London and South Central England | Wellingborough
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Non-executive/Trustee
Deadline date: 21st August 2020

The Nene Education Trust in Northamptonshire seeks to appoint a member. The trust is looking for a Member who has business skill and experience with a good knowledge of corporate Governance. The trust has successfully expanded from 3 to 7 schools in 2019. 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 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 Education 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: 1

Role  – 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 Nene Education 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

Every Member 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

Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential
  • Business expertise
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance
Desirable
  • Strategic leadership
  • Experience of Board Membership
     
Time commitment

2 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 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.