Penk Valley Academy Trust

West Midlands | Penkridge, Staffordshire
  • Human Resources
  • Property/Estate management
  • Restructuring
  • Risk
  • Succession Planning
Deadline date: 18th September 2020

Penk Valley Academy Trust, a seven-school trust based in Penkridge, Staffordshire, seeks to recruit two non-executive directors/trustees to its board, with a skills focus in particular around Estates, HR and restructuring. With a growth plan that anticipates up to three new schools joining the trust over a three-year period, the trust welcomes applicants capable of contributing to, and helping to drive, the strategy at board level. Trust board meetings are held at Penk Valley Academy Trust, Penkridge.

About the trust

Penk Valley Academy Trust is a seven school MAT (multi-academy trust), established in April 2018 following two years as a federation. The trust’s schools cover the age range two- to 19-years and include two church schools.

  • Marshbrook First School, Penkridge (2-9 years) has 145 pupils, 20% of which receive Free School Meals (FSM); 12.4% of the school’s pupils have Special Education Needs (SEN). Ofsted assessed the school as ‘Good’ in June 2016.
  • Princefield First School, Penkridge (3-9 years) has 220 pupils, 6.4% of which receive FSM; 13.2% of the pupils have SEN and the school was assessed as ‘Good’ by Ofsted, in September 2013.
  • St John’s CE First School, Bishopswood (3-9 years) has 72 pupils, 8.3% receiving FSM and 6.9% are SEN pupils. Ofsted assessed the school as ‘Good’ in March 2014.
  • St Mary & St Chad's CE First School, Brewood (3-9 years) has 157 pupils, 7.6% receiving FSM and 8.3% are SEN pupils. The school was assessed as ‘Good’ by Ofsted in June 2016.
  • Penkridge Middle School, Penkridge (9-13 years) has 454 pupils, 7.9% in receipt of FSM and 15.4% SEN. It was assessed ‘Good’ by Ofsted in March 2017.
  • The Rural Enterprise Academy, Penkridge (13-16 years) has 154 pupils, 12.4% receiving FSM and no students with SEN. It was assessed as ‘Good’ by Ofsted in May 2018.
  • Wolgarston High School, Penkridge (13-18 years) has 748 pupils, 7.9% in receipt of FSM and 9.6% SEN pupils. It was assessed as ‘Good’ by Ofsted in February 2014.

The trust has a budget of approximately £11.5mn and c.360 staff serving 1950 students.

Plans for the future

The key challenges facing the trust over the next 12-24 months include:


  1. Financial capacity – while the trust is financially sustainable, limited budgets mean the trust must determine appropriate ways to manage investment into areas such as estates and ICT infrastructure. This challenge also limits the size of the trust’s senior teams across its seven schools, restricting leadership capacity.
  2. Educational outcomes - all seven of the trust’s schools are due for inspection under the new Ofsted framework by 2021. Ensuring that all schools continue to provide a good standard of education is paramount. All schools are anticipated to at least retain their ‘Good’ assessment, however the trust aims to be proactive to ensure this.

Over the longer term, there is an objective for the board to grow the trust in a slow, sustainable and manageable way to ensure each new school that joins is fully integrated and supports the development of the trust as a whole. Up to three new schools are expected to join by 2023.

Furthermore, local housing developments in the area mean the trust be ready to educate the additional children that will become part of its communities.

Trust ethos & values

The Penk Valley Academy Trust mission is ‘to inspire learning’. To achieve this, its strategy is to invest in people, a designed offer and quality. It is a ‘Visible Learning’ trust, which provides it with a common framework to develop expertise in teaching, learning and assessment.

URL to full mission statement:

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:

Roles 1 & 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director or Member

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 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:

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)
  • HR AND
  • Restructuring AND
  • Succession Planning OR
  • Real estate/ Property AND
  • Risk
  • Audit
  • IT/ Technology
  • Change Management
  • Legal/ Compliance
  • Non-executive/ Trustee


  • Role 1 – HR: The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of working at strategic level in a medium or large organisation, defining strategy and working with the leadership/board to deliver effectively. Prior experience of a non-executive position is advantageous, as well as evidence of leading on a restructure of a complex, multi-site operation. Industry qualifications are highly desirable.


  • Role 2 – Estates infrastructure: A candidate with prior experience of managing the needs of a multi-site facility is required. Skills, knowledge and experience of delivering effective architecture and demonstrable evidence of doing so under tight financial conditions is highly sought. The trust seeks applicants with experience of estates and property management, as well as legal implications across multiple sites.

Candidates will be able to support the strategic development of the trust.

All non-executive directors must be able to work effectively as part of a team. While experience of school governance is not essential, the trust welcomes applicants with a keen interest in using their valued skills and expertise to develop the multi-academy trust board.

Applications are welcome from people of all faiths or none; the trust welcomes diversity. All trustees would be expected to support the trust’s ethos and values.

Time commitment

Six hours /month minimum.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Penk Valley Academy Trust, Cannock Road, Penkridge, ST19 5RX

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

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, 18th September, 2020