- CEO/ General Management
- Corporate Governance
The Propeller Academy Trust is a two-school trust focusing on special education in Oxfordshire. The trust focuses on providing an innovative and developmental academic curriculum which gives students with special educational needs a strong foundation for long-term community cohesion. The trust is the enabler for creating opportunities, working with Headteachers, to deliver to the needs of our students. The trust is recruiting two members. Board meetings are held in Southern Oxfordshire, OX12 9ET.
Could you help to improve education in Oxfordshire by volunteering to become a member at a multi-academy trust?
Members provide independent oversight to the work of the board of trustees to ensure suitable accountability for decision making and strategy. As multi-academy trusts (MATs) grow and develop, they face significant challenges. This role enables professionals to use skills and experience gained throughout their career to help trusts across England and improve the life chances of young people. All roles are pro bono.
The Propeller Academy Trust is a two-school trust focusing on special education in Oxfordshire. The trust focuses on providing an innovative and developmental academic curriculum which gives students with special educational needs a strong foundation for long-term community cohesion. The trust is the enabler for creating opportunities, working with Headteachers, to deliver to the needs of our students.
The board seeks members with previous experience in
- Corporate Governance, or
- Non-executive/ Trustee roles
Applicants should have an extensive and demonstrable background in senior leadership roles, with strategic vision and knowledge of the non-executive director role. Candidates are expected to demonstrate the seven principles of public life set out by Lord Nolan.
Members have a similar role to the shareholders in a company limited by shares. They are key players in overseeing the work of the trust and are generally deemed ‘eyes on but hands-off’.
Most notably, members:
- are the subscribers to the memorandum of association (where they are founding members)
- amend the articles of association;
- appoint new members or remove existing members
- appoint or remove trustees;
- appoint the trust’s auditors and receive the trust’s annual audited accounts; and, ultimately,
- have power to change the company name and dissolve the academy trust if required.
Members are usually asked to attend a minimum of ONE but possibly up to THREE meetings a year to gain an understanding of the trust’s work and the board’s oversight. This translates to a commitment of around two hours per month. The meetings would include the annual general meeting.
Successful candidates will join a network of Ambassadors: experienced business leaders and professionals who have been appointed to board roles through the Academy Ambassadors Programme. All Ambassadors gain access to resources, guidance, networking events, our annual flagship conference, as well as webinars.
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.
About the trust
The Propeller Academy Trust is a special needs trust with two community schools, providing support for moderate learning difficulties to profound and multiple. Approximately 25% of the children are entitled to free school meals, 5% speak English as a second language, all children have special educational needs and hold an Education, Health and Care Plan to be in a special school. Some children have one to two support.
The Trust has recently updated its Articles and governance structure to create a firm foundation for strategic development. Drivers for growth, as well as the core aim of expanding their quality provision to more students, include maintaining and securing their strong financial position for the future and creating greater stability through a larger number of schools.
Increasing the capacity and capability of the Board will enable the trust to identify and engage other Academies with similar aims, execute growth in a controlled and appropriate way and ensure they can promote the specialism and quality of their curriculum more widely. They are also seeking ways to expand their existing schools without jeopardising current standards and to encourage more opportunities to leverage expertise in outreach/in reach and the sponsor school status of one of the schools.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- The Trust wishes to grow in size either through merger or converting schools to join who have a like-minded philosophy
- Ensuring the current strong financial position is maintained and improved in a challenging and unknown local and national budget regime.
- Maintaining the unique approach of each academy whilst ensuring student outcomes are ever improving and Ofsted rates each academy as outstanding.
Trust ethos & values
The trust insists on working in a collaborative style, putting children at the heart of every decision whilst allowing each school to maintain its own identity and ethos, which supports their community.
Number of positions advertised: 2
Roles 1/2 – 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. Members should have an impeccable understanding of the role of governance in public life. This may have been gained in a wide range of senior leadership roles. They are likely to have previous experience in a non-executive director or trustee role.
There is an expectation from the DfE that Members should have skills in corporate governance, finance, legal, HR and education to enable holding the Trustees to account. The trust seeks an individual with an extensive and demonstrable background in a senior management position, with strategic vision and knowledge of the role of a non-executive director.
The competencies required for this role include:
Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
- Non-executive/ Trustee
- Corporate Governance
- CEO/General Management
Members only meet once a year. It is anticipated that a time commitment of 6 hours a year will suffice.
Location of board meetings and trust website
Board meetings are held in Southern Oxfordshire, OX12 9ET.
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.