South Suffolk Learning Trust

East of England and North East London | Colchester
  • CEO/ General Management
  • CFO/Financial
  • Change Management
Deadline date: 29th May 2020

South Suffolk Learning Trust, a partnership of five schools (4 High Schools and 1 primary school) based in South Suffolk, seeks two new board members one with a financial background and one with change management and corporate board experience. The vision for the Trust is to provide an excellent education for the young people in our learning community through highly effective collaboration, based upon mutual challenge and support. Board meetings are held at the central offices at East Bergholt High School.

About the trust

The South Suffolk Learning Trust (SSLT) was formed in June 2017, incorporating three Ofsted Good high schools that aspire to be Outstanding. The trust was established in the belief that by working together all the schools in the multi-academy trust will support each other to improve yet further by sharing best practice in teaching and learning. The schools currently work closely together with the head teachers, leading collaborative work based on school improvement. The trust is made up of a group of semi-rural schools:

  • Claydon High School – Roll 709
  • East Bergholt High School – Roll 924
  • Hadleigh High School – Roll 730
  • Claydon Primary School - Roll 420
  • Colchester Academy - Roll 750

The four Suffolk schools have low English as an additional language, special educational needs and disadvantaged pupil numbers but the semi-rural locations bring their own challenges to overcome. Colchester Academy has a high level of disadvantaged and SEN students.  All schools been rated “Good” by Ofsted.

The trust’s board is currently made up of six trustees, two of which who came from governing bodies. The trust wishes to recruit additional trustees to broaden and deepen the skill sets on their board to bring a new perspective to their work.

The trust has achieved sponsor rights and is currently looking to grow the Trust with the recruitment of primary schools to create a primary hub.

Plans for the Future

Trust Strategic Aims 2018-2021:

  • To improve and further develop leadership and governance across the trust
  • To grow and improve the schools to become outstanding
  • Engage with other schools to grow the trust and develop collaborative working further
  • Highly effective financial management system which ensures that the trust and schools can deliver it aims
  • Develop a responsive and flexible workforce to manage the complex changes and pressures faced by schools in the current educational climate
  • Effective community engagement and involvement

Trust ethos & values

The South Suffolk Learning Trust’s vision is to provide an excellent education for the young people in their learning community through highly effective collaboration, based upon mutual challenge and support. All learners in their trust will be challenged and supported to be the best that they can be with a passion for lifelong learning.

The trust believes that developing the attributes below in all members of their learning community is essential in achieving their vision:

  • Resilience
  • Creativity
  • Integrity
  • Respect, tolerance and empathy
  • A positive attitude and passion for learning
  • Excellent communication skills
  • The expertise to collaborate
  • The confidence to learn independently

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 2

Roles 1-2 – 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 trust seeks trustees who have board experience and an understanding of change management in supporting individuals and groups to remain empowered whilst working within a new system of accountability. Key responsibilities would be supporting the chair, committee chairs and CEO to take the trust forward to be highly effective. Trustees will also be expected to be key players on the trust's Committees.

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.

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 and in accordance with DfE requirements, all trustee appointments will be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check. 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)
  • CFO/Finance or
  • Qualified Accountant or
  • Change management
  • Change Management
  • Corporate Board experience
  • Growth Management
  • Risk
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 trust is keen to appoint a non-executive director with a background in finance, preferably a chartered accountant with board level or senior management experience. The candidate will provide guidance on financial probity and reporting in addition to scrutinising financial plans for sustainability and growth and play a key role within the Finance, risk and audit Committee.

Time commitment

6-8 hours /month minimum. There are 6 board meetings and 5/6 sub-committee meetings per year. Trustees sit on the Finance, risk and audit sub committee. There will also be opportunities to join sub committees that meet less frequently such as performance management, nominations & governance and appointments committee.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Board meetings will be held at: East Bergholt High School, Heath Road, East Bergholt, Colchester, CO7 6RJ

The trust website can be found at:

Governance Structure

For the governance structure please see:

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.


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: 29th May 2020