Richmond West Schools Trust (RWST)

South East England and South London | Richmond upon Thames
  • Branding/Marketing
  • Chair
  • Corporate Governance
  • Entrepreneur/Founder
  • Growth Management
  • Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 14th June 2019

Richmond West Schools Trust (the trust) contains two secondary schools in South West London and is committed to stabilising and raising education standards across the local community for all its students. The trust seeks three non-executive directors with either corporate governance, marketing, business development and property/facilities management skills. The trust would also welcome applications from candidates to fill the Chair role from September 2019. Board meetings are held across the schools.

About the trust

Richmond West Schools Trust (RWST) is a multi-academy trust (MAT) comprised of two mainstream co-education 11-16 secondary schools: Twickenham School with 555 students on roll and Hampton High with 691 students on roll.

Twickenham School was judged Requires Improvement (RI) by Ofsted in May 2018 in a report which acknowledged the improvements already underway that have taken the school from an Ofsted judgement of Inadequate in 18 months and commends highly the school leadership.

Hampton High has recently been judged Good by Ofsted following a dramatic improvement in students’ exam results. This Ofsted judgement is testament to the hard work of students and staff and represents the start of a positive trajectory for the school and trust. Since 2016, Hampton High has reached a zero Progress 8 score which represents a meaningful year on year improvement since it joined RWST.

Both schools in the trust contain disadvantaged students, which is measured by the number of students who qualify for free school meals under the government’s criteria. Hampton High has 15.7% of over 600 students who receive free school meals and Twickenham School has 12.5%. The proportion of students who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is also above the local average. 

The trust has adopted a collaborative operating model with school improvement support provided by Waldegrave School and Orleans Park School and has a two day a week CEO. Both Waldegrave School and Orleans Park are rated Outstanding by Ofsted and this collaborative approach ensures that best practice in teaching and learning is shared between local schools and economies of scale are exploited.  What unites all schools with the local community is a commitment to providing a disciplined, safe and structured school environment, which nurtures a strong culture of learning.

The trust offers a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum with a strong focus on the acquisition of skills for learning, literacy, numeracy, social and cultural development, employment and citizenship. The trust is focussed on delivering strong leadership from governors, senior leaders, middle leaders and teachers and on the best possible results and life chances for all its students.

Plans for the Future

The key challenges for the board over the next 12-18 months are:

  1. Low student numbers: the trust has low student numbers, particularly at Twickenham School in Year 7 as a consequence of legacy difficulties including an Inadequate (Special Measures) Ofsted judgement in 2016. Both schools are gaining a better reputation locally and Hampton High will be full in Year 7 for September 2019. However, the challenge remains to translate improved educational outcomes and behaviours at Twickenham School into significantly increased student numbers.
  2. Budgetary pressure: as with all secondary schools, the trust faces a challenge in terms of budget and balancing the needs of school improvement against budgetary realities at both schools. Appropriate financial controls are in place and the trust enjoys the continued support of the Department for Education for its financial recovery plan as it works to deliver a balanced budget in line with Education and Skills Funding Agency expectations. Income for the trust is £7,866,982.  
  3. School Improvement: the trust’s continuing priority is to ensure rapid progress for all student groups with a strategic focus on disadvantaged and SEND students. 
  4. Cross trust working: with the trust increasingly able to demonstrate school improvement capability, it is looking towards the future. Initial focus will be on further developing cross-trust working to ensure sustainability & prepare for possible future growth.

 
Trust Ethos & Values

RWST has the highest possible ambition for its schools and students. There is a strong focus on teaching, learning and leadership and of shared expertise to ensure that the trust is constantly striving for improvement. It is the trust’s belief that every child deserves the best quality education.

By working together, with support from other schools in the borough, RWST has a positive influence on the educational provision for its local area to ensure all local students are able to attend a good or better school of their choice.

The trust has recently completed a visioning exercise involving all stakeholders which can be encapsulated as “aspire together, learn together, achieve together”. Discussions started on the next phase to embed school improvements, improve outcomes so both schools are judged Good by Ofsted by the end of 2020. Work has started to ensure that a two school trust is financially sustainable in the long-term with the potential to grow.

Role Summary
Number of Positions Advertised:

3

Role 1 – Chair of the Board

The trust seeks to appoint a Chair in order to set the strategic course and lead the trustees in holding the executive team to account, providing effective board leadership and ensuring each director fulfils their duties and responsibilities in accordance with the Nolan Principles of Public Life.

This role requires a candidate with senior leadership and governance experience at the highest level and the individual will act as a trustee – or non-executive director – holding to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law.

Essential/ideal (note * highlights board identified priorities)
  • Lives/works within close proximity to Schools*
  • Commitment to lead the board in next consolidation phase*
  • Chair of governors on successful or challenging board*
  • Understanding of the educational landscape and political environment*
  • Leading rigorous, independent board structures that are both compliant and effective*
  • Operating within a board in a charitable or public sector organisation
  • Confident in their ability to chair and drive the strategic vision of the trust*
  • Dealing with conflict and making difficult decisions*
  • Planning for sustainable growth
Skills
  • Willingness to speak their own mind and cut to the chase *
  • Capacity to understand, communicate and support key priorities*
  • Effective listener*
  • Assertive
  • Transparent
  • Inclusive
  • Measured decision maker*
Person Specification

The successful candidate will exhibit strong interpersonal and relationship-building abilities, as well as the presence and personality to successfully manage myriad stakeholders and demonstrate leadership throughout.

This individual will possess the ability to undertake an ambassadorial role, including diplomatic skills, with the ability to listen and engage effectively. The Chair of the Board line manages the CEO and provides managerial support throughout the trust. The successful candidate will provide direction to the board and recognise the skills and experience of other board members when making decisions at board level. Demonstrable Chair experience is essential.

Role 2 & 3– Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; the role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law.

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential
  • Branding/Marketing OR
  • Business Development OR
  • Property/Facilities Management
Desirable
  • Corporate Governance
Person Specification

Communications: The ideal candidate will have senior experience in marketing and communications within a business background. Candidates will be expected to scrutinise and advise on a strategic marketing plan to increase student numbers and to generate positive local coverage and awareness of the trust and its schools in order to build numbers on roll across both schools.

Property/Estate Management: The trust welcomes applicants with corporate experience of estates and property, estates or facilities management, health and safety monitoring and accountability. Candidates should have excellent interpersonal skills, senior level experience of management of health and safety within a work place and be proactive with initiative to get fully involved.

Additional skills and experience of corporate governance or MAT trusteeship for both roles would be highly advantageous.

Time Commitment

Chair: Four board meetings, one AGM, regular catch up with CEO, meeting preparation etc with clerk, annual meeting with RSC, attendance at local authority briefings plus ad hoc hours/days per month as required

Trustees: Four board meetings per year (eight hours in total) plus ad hoc hours per month.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Board meetings rotate between the schools. For more information on the trust, please see: https://www.rwst.co.uk/

Governance Structure

For governance structure of the trust, please see the bottom of the trust’s website’s home page: https://www.rwst.co.uk/

Background on Academy Trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 73% of secondary schools and 29% 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 760 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 students.

“Academy 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 students/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 (2017)

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 –

Deadline for applications: Friday 14th June 2019