The Priory Learning Trust

South West England | Weston-Super-Mare | Somerset
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Chair
  • Change Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Risk
Deadline date: 11th October 2019

The Priory Learning Trust is a multi-academy trust overseeing the performance of three secondary and three primary academies based in North Somerset and Somerset. The Trust is ambitious about its growth and seeks two new non-executive directors / charity trustees to support the development of a new 3-5 year strategic plan. Board meetings are held in the Trust Office based in Weston-Super-Mare.

About the trust

The Priory Learning Trust opened as a multi-academy trust in 2016 and its ethos has led to its sponsorship of two secondary academies and, since April 2019, an additional primary school; all three were judged by Ofsted to be in Special Measures.  There are currently eight trustees on the board who have recently evaluated how fit for purpose and scalable the trust’s governance arrangements are given its ambitious growth plans.  As a result the board has led a consultation exercise to agree the structure and scheme of delegation for 2019-20.   

Plans for the future

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

  1. School improvement – the trust aims to A) narrow attainment gaps and improve pupil outcomes by increasing school improvement leadership capacity to facilitate continued improvement for existing schools and enable growth.  B) Strengthen accountability for educational performance through improved scrutiny, and alignment of the curriculum, assessment and data more coherently. C) Continue to develop new teachers through TPLT Teaching School Alliance.
  2. Financial planning and sustainability – the trust aims to: continue being prudent with public money, improve the business management functions (including financial accuracy and systems), develop back-office capacity, to achieve economies of scale and improve the school estate/learning environment.
  3. Growth - to create a new 3-5 year strategic plan to facilitate growth via effective stakeholder engagement and collaborative working within the education and local communities.
  4. To achieve ongoing alignment and coordination of different school systems, practices and cultures into one trust operation without compromising creativity and enthusiasm or the unique values and personality of the trust or its individual schools, and to manage effective growth.

Trust ethos & values

The ethos of The Priory Learning Trust is inclusive, visionary, aspirational, and one of pursuing excellence across every single area of their work.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2
Role 1 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director and ‘Chair Elect’ of the Board

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.

Person specification

The Competency Framework for Governance (DfE) 2017 sets out the six competency areas, the (Nolan) principles and personal attributes the trust expects all trustees to demonstrate. The latter being: committed, confident, curious, challenging, collaborative, critical and creative. See below:

The competencies required for NED role 1:

  • Chairing
  • CEO/General Management
  • Corporate/Charity governance
  • Growth/Change/Project/Risk Management
  • Open

The trust is committed to developing a diverse board that represents the communities they serve.

N.B. In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

Role 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director
  • Growth/Change/Project/Risk Management
  • Procurement
  • Health & Safety
  • IT
  • Premises/Estate Management
Time commitment

Variable according to circumstances; surveys suggest c.1 day per week.

Location of board meetings and trust website

There are four Board meetings per year held at the trust office in W-S-M between 6-8pm. The Resources Committee and Provision & Outcomes Committee both meet bi-termly i.e. 3x p/a. There is a Pay Committee which meet 1x p/a.

Governance structure

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.


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: 11th October 2019; potential interview dates will be by mutual agreement