SMART Multi-Academy Trust

North of England | Newcastle upon Tyne
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Legal/Compliance
  • Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 28th February 2020

SMART Multi-Academy Trust seeks to recruit up to two trustees to its board of directors, possessing expertise in general business management, though additional skills, knowledge and/or relevant qualifications in Law, Estates and Procurement are highly sought, as it progresses and maintains its mission of delivering the best educational opportunities and experiences for all its children, regardless of background or disadvantage. Board meetings are held at Wyndham Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne.

About the trust

SMART Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) has been in operation since 2016, as a group of eight primary schools in the North West of Newcastle. It comprises Cheviot, Farne, Kenton Bar, Kingston Park, Mountfield, North Fawdon, Stocksfield Avenue and Wyndham.

Students at SMART MAT come from a very wide range of social and economic backgrounds and cultural heritages. The trust sees this as its strength and celebrates diversity, while striving to ensure that it meets the academic and personal development needs of every child.

The schools within the SMART MAT work collaboratively, sharing expertise and developing innovative approaches to curriculum that are stimulating, motivating children to love learning. The trust strives to enable its learners to develop together within its safe, vibrant and nurturing school communities. The partnership working goes beyond the SMART MAT – as an outward-looking organisation it seeks to learn from others as well as to share its own good practice and expertise.

SMART MAT is planning to grow and support other schools that share its vision to develop practices and to benefit from the wide range of expertise across the MAT.

Plans for the future

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

  1. To ensure that teaching is consistently Ofsted 'Good' and 'Outstanding' in all of its schools so that all pupils reach their full potential from their individual starting points, including those who are disadvantaged or who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities.
  2. To ensure that the systems and structures already successfully in place for effective governance, finance and accounting functions continue working successfully, to enable an effective basis for the trust’s operations.

Over the longer term, the trust aspires to expand within the next three years, increasing pupil numbers significantly and accessing capital funding. It hopes to incorporate secondary provision to the trust in the future.

Trust ethos & values

The SMART MAT’s vision is to provide the best educational opportunities and experiences for all its children in a safe and supportive environment. It knows that education provides the gateway for children to become valued, caring and responsible citizens within democratic British society. More information on the trust’s ethos and mission statement is available here:

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:


Trustee/ Non-Executive Director

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, all trustee appointments would 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 sought for these roles includes:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • Corporate Governance

  • CEO/ General Management

  • Legal/ Compliance

  • Real estate/ Property

  • Strategy

  • Purchasing/ Procurement

  • Growth Management

The ideal candidate/s will have extensive experience of leadership in a largescale organisation, with responsibility for delivering strategy and board-level accountability. Preferably with experience of purchasing and procurement and/or, in one case, legal experience, the successful candidate/s will be adept at making challenging decisions and will possess experience in areas such as managing business growth. Suitable candidates may have held positions in non-profit making businesses as well as in commercial, retail or industry settings and should be comfortable and extensively experienced in corporate governance.

Time commitment

Five hours per month, on average.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Trust board meetings are held at Wyndham Primary School, Montagu Avenue, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE3 4SB

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 focussed 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, 28th February, 2020