Solent Academies Trust

South East England and South London | Southsea
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Non-executive/Trustee
  • Property/Estate management
  • Risk
Deadline date: 12th April 2019

Solent Academies Trust in Southsea seeks two non-executive directors with senior business experience to join the Board overseeing four special schools on the south coast. Board meetings are in Southsea.

About the trust

Solent Academies Trust is a multi-academy trust specialising in Special Educational Needs (SEN) catering for pupils with a wide range of complex needs from 2 to 19 years old. The trust has found that demand for this type of education has increased markedly in recent years and works closely with Local Authorities in ensuring proper provision. The trust currently has three special schools - all based in Portsmouth, a city with relatively high levels of deprivation that in 2015 was ranked 57th out of 327 local authority areas in terms of its Index of Multiple Deprivation. A fourth school in West Sussex has recently joined the Trust following a poor Ofsted inspection report in November 2017.

The schools in the trust are:

  • Mary Rose Academy – consisting of 149 pupils aged between 2 and 19 years old who have severe and complex learning difficulties. In addition to their learning difficulties the majority of pupils have other needs associated with physical disabilities, autistic spectrum condition and medical conditions. Mary Rose has been rated as Outstanding by Ofsted in its last three inspections.
  • Cliffdale Primary Academy - a primary school for 116 pupils with complex needs and autism. Cliffdale was rated Outstanding by Ofsted in 2016, having been rated Inadequate by Ofsted four years earlier.
  • Redwood Park Academy - secondary school for 141 pupils with complex needs and autism. Redwood, which joined the trust in February 2017, was rated Good by Ofsted in 2015.
  • Littlegreen Academy - a school for boys from 7-16 who have social, emotional and mental health needs. A number of the pupils have additional communication and learning difficulties, including autistic spectrum disorders.

The trust is looking to expand gradually within the Solent geographical area and is currently in detailed negotiations with a local nursery school that is seeking to join the trust later in 2019.

The Trust is committed to supporting the inclusion SEN pupils in mainstream schools where this is in the best interest of the pupil and the provision of high quality outreach work to support such pupils is a core part of the Trust's mission.

Plans for the Future:

The sustained levels of improvement across the Trust have been achieved in large part through the professional commitment of an expanding group of outstanding middle and senior leaders, who work collaboratively to support each other across all three academies. Consequently, the Trust now has the capacity to provide high quality advice and support to other special schools across the Solent area. The key challenges for the next 12-24 months include:

  1. The trust aims to be recognised as a centre of excellence for advice and support in the field of special needs education.
  2. To encourage maintained special schools in the Solent area to join the trust where this would be in the best interest of their pupils.

  3. The trust is conscious of the need to complete a review their governance and strengthen the skill set of the trustees in preparation for expansion.

  4. Solent Academies Trust is committed to ensuring that Redwood Park Academy is rated Outstanding by Ofsted in its next inspection.


Trust Ethos & Values

The trust is committed to supporting the inclusion SEN pupils in mainstream schools where this is in the best interest of the pupil and the provision of high quality outreach work to support such pupils is a core part of the trust's mission. For more information on the trust’s ethos, please see:

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:


Roles 1 & 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Non-executive directors of the trust are legally responsible and accountable for all statutory functions and performance of academies within the trust. They are responsible for establishing, reviewing and updating the trust’s vision, ethos and strategic direction; holding the executive to account for the educational performance of the trust’s academies; and overseeing the financial and educational performance of the trust. The competencies required include:

Essential (either)
  • CEO/General Management
  • Non-executive director/trustee
  • Risk
  • Property/Estates
  • Understanding and Experience of Post-16 Education/Training/Skills Development

The trust is keen to appoint individuals who can demonstrate a commitment to the education and wellbeing of children with special needs. They should have a willingness to devote time, enthusiasm and effort to the duties and responsibilities of a trustee. They should have the ability to operate strategically, have risk management experience and expertise and a willingness to undertake training and development.

The trust would welcome applicants with experience in trusteeship or management of a complex organisation with multiple sites/subsidiaries and/or general management experience.

Time Commitment

There are six Trust Board meetings a year. In addition, there are two Board Committees, both of which meet three or four times a year. In addition to attending Board meetings, it is expected that trustees will also sit on one of the Board committees. On average, the time commitment of a trustee will be four/five hours per month.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

For more information on the trust, please see their website at:

Board meetings are held at Mary Rose Academy, Gisors Road, Southsea PO4 8GT.

Governance Structure

For more information on the trust’s governance structure, please see:

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 71% of secondary schools and 26% 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

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 12th April 2019