- Corporate Governance
St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust seeks two new Trustee/Non-Executive Directors with financial backgrounds to further strengthen its board. The Trust (MAT) was established in 2015 for church schools with a shared Christian ethos and welcomes applications from candidates of all faiths and none but whom are supportive of the Trust’s values. Board meetings are held in Ipswich, five minutes walk from the railway station.
About the trust
St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust is made up of 18 Church of England primary schools situated across Suffolk, with a mixture of urban and rural schools. The schools serve a diverse pupil population, of whom 17.6% receive pupil premium funding, 14.7% of the pupils have Special Educational Needs and 7.7% of the pupils speak English as a second language. The schools range from small village schools with mixed age classes to large schools in Ipswich and Newmarket All the schools are fully inclusive and provide a broad and balanced curriculum.
There are over 500 staff in MAT schools and an annual budget of £15,000,000. The schools educate almost 3000 pupils aged 4-11.
The trust has been established with the aim of securing rapid and sustained improvement in the performance of all its member academies. The MAT looks to generate and strengthen the concept of school-to-school support through sharing skills and expertise and by making the most effective use of resources. To date six schools have had a published Ofsted inspection, and all have been judged good.
The MAT seeks to maintain and strengthen each member school’s own identity and sustainability. With plans for gradual further growth, the trust is looking is looking for enthusiastic non-executive directors with strong financial backgrounds to support this period of growth into a phase of consolidation.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- Finance: to achieve the optimum balance between centralising the finance function and allowing schools in the trust maximum autonomy.
- Governance: to ensure effective local governance structures at school level.
- Leadership: to develop leadership models for small schools, such as Executive Headteachers responsible for two or more schools.
St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust looks to consolidate the work of the trust, with modest growth in the number of schools. It aims to build leadership capacity within its schools.
Trust ethos & values
St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust aims to develop, celebrate and maintain the Christian distinctiveness of all its schools. The trust works to ensure that its academies become centres of excellence, leading to high achievement for all pupils with no significant gaps in attainment or progress between different groups. The MAT firmly believes that all pupils have the right to an excellent education, delivered in an environment that values each of them as an individual and creates aspirational opportunities for all.
Number of positions advertised:
Roles 1-2 – 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.
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.
Ideal candidates will have strong financial and entrepreneurial backgrounds, preferably with prior experience in developing new enterprises, overseeing expansion and identifying risk. They will use their expertise to support the trust in its plans to ensure the most effective finance function, while allowing the greatest possible autonomy for its schools. The trust seeks creative and enthusiastic individuals to support the Board through a period of growth into a phase of consolidation. Candidates will also be expected to sit on the Finance and Audit Committee.
As experienced business leaders and strategic planners, successful applicants will have the ability and determination to adapt and transfer their experience to an educational setting. They will have a willingness to devote time, an understanding of the legal duties and liabilities of trusteeship and the ability to challenge, evaluate and interpret information. All trustees are expected to play a strategic role in successfully affecting change. Successful candidates must be sympathetic to the Christian values of the trust.
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
- Non-executive/ Trustee
- Corporate Governance
- Audit Committee Chair
- Qualified Accountant
- Growth Management
- Organisational Change
6 hours per month minimum. Six board meetings and six Finance Committee meetings a year. Board meetings are all 2 hours long and are usually held at 10am. Trustees are linked to groups of schools which they visit to represent the Board and provide feedback from local school communities.
Location of board meetings and trust website
Board meeting are held at 4 Cutler Street, Ipswich, IP1 1UQ.
Trust website: http://cofesuffolkmat.org/
Background on academy trusts
Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 69% of secondary schools and 33% 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 900 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.
“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 (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 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: Friday 31st January 2020