- Corporate Governance
Skills for Life Trust is a five-school trust in Chatham, Kent. The trust has recently launched a new strategy across all five schools and now seeks a Chair of Finance with considerable experience in accountancy and auditing. Board meetings are held in Chatham, Kent.
About the trust
Previously named The Greenacre Academy Trust, the trust was founded in January 2014. The Chair of the Trust is Nikki King OBE, Honorary Chairman of Isuzu Truck (UK) Limited. In 2018 the trust became the ‘Skills for Life Trust’, reflecting the trust’s strong work-ready focus. Pupils are prepared for life after school through high quality teaching of a curriculum that includes life skills, such as perseverance, work-readiness and respect. There are regular careers assemblies in all academies including the legal profession, catering, the fire service, NHS, veterinary profession, teaching and qualifications offered in key trade skills. http://www.sflt.org.uk/trust/skills-life/
The annual budget is £17m and there are around 3030 pupils on roll across the trust in total.
Greenacre Academy is the founder member of the trust and converted to Academy status in 2012. The Academy was rated ‘good’ in all categories by Ofsted in 2018. Warren Wood Primary Academy joined the trust as a ‘sponsored Academy’ in 2014 and has progressed from Ofsted ‘special measures’ category under the stewardship of the truist. Chantry Community Academy joined the Trust, also as a sponsored academy, in 2016 and became Ofsted ‘good’ in 2016. Hilltop Primary Academy joined the trust in 2018 and was already rated ‘good’. Walderslade Girl’s School joined the trust in 2018 and continues to improve from a former ‘requires improvement’ rating in 2017.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- Consolidations of the Skills for Life ethos across the trust.
- School to school collaboration and improvement.
- Maximising economies of scale and making the most of talent across the whole trust.
- Key financial challenges at board level for Chair of Finance.
All key financial documents are available online:
Trust ethos & values
The trust’s mission statement is:
- To prepare its young pupils to be the adults that they are to become, by encouraging them to reach their full potential academically through high quality teaching of a curriculum including life skills.
- Additionally, to introduce all pupils to a wide range of potential careers and mentors from the business world both locally and regionally so that they are fully prepared for the world of work when that time arrives.
Number of positions advertised: 1
Role 1 – Chair of Finance
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.
Non-executive directors will be responsible for maintaining stability and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and potential growth, and holding the CEO/CFO to account.
In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.
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)
- CFO/ Finance
- Qualified Accountant
- Corporate Governance
The Chair of Finance will be an experienced accountant/audit /finance professional capable of offering scrutiny and challenge to the Chief Finance Officer and the rest of the executive leadership team. The trustees on the Finance Committee have oversight of the trust's accounting processes and major spending decisions. The appointee will possess demonstrable experience of financial management. Adherence to the Nolan Principles of Public Life is essential. There will also be an opportunity to take the role of Vice-Chair to the board.
3 hours per month.
Trustees will meet six times a year. Each meeting is expected to last three hours (max) and should factor in some preparation time.
Location of board meetings and trust website
Board meetings are held at 157 Walderslade Road, Walderslade, Chatham, ME5 0LP
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 980 multi academy trusts of 2+ 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.
“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 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 (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.
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.
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: 18th October 2019