Summit Learning Trust

West Midlands | Birmingham
Deadline date: 12th June 2020

A multi-academy trust with eight academies, Summit Learning Trust currently comprises both Primary and Secondary provision, as well as a Sixth Form College. The trust seeks up to three trustee/non-executive directors, specifically possessing skills and expertise from the fields of Finance, HR and/or Branding/Marketing. Board meetings are held predominantly at the trust offices located at Ninestiles School, Acocks Green, Birmingham.

About the trust

An eight-school multi-academy trust (MAT) catering to Primary and Secondary age children, including a Sixth Form College, Summit Learning Trust has approximately 8,000 students on roll and c.1,000 staff. The budget is c.£44mn/p.a.

The trust originated with Ninestiles School, which became an Academy Trust in 2011; through the ensuing six years, it was joined by Erdington Hall Primary School (2012), The Oaklands, Pegasus and Yarnfield Primary Schools (2013), Lyndon School (2015) Cockshut Hill (2016) and Solihull Sixth Form (2017). The trust was renamed Summit Learning Trust in December 2018.

There is a very high proportion of Free School Meals (FSM) – a measure of deprivation - claimed in the area in which the trust operates and a high percentage of students with English as an Additional Language (EAL).

Plans for the future

The key challenges facing the trust over the next 12-24 months include:

  1. Recovery from the impact and legacy of the Covid-19 outbreak;
  2. Educational outcomes - ensuring, through the recruitment and retention of excellent teachers, an improvement in the quality of education and outcomes for pupils;
  3. Financial security - centralisation of key functions and funding projects underway;
  4. Expanded reach – growing the trust in order for it to support and collaborate with a range of other schools and trusts; community engagement across its diverse communities, helping to position parents as a key part of their children's education.

In addition, SLT is now faced with a new unprecedented challenge of determining and establishing a ‘new normal’ for delivering education following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trust ethos & values

  • Strength through Diversity
  • Ambition through Challenge
  • Excellence through Curiosity

URL to full mission statement

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:

Up to 3

Roles 1-3 – 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.

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.

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 required for this role includes:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • Finance and/or Audit
  • HR
  • Branding/ Marketing
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Risk
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Non-Executive/ Trustee
  • Change Management

Role 1 - Finance/Audit: A finance specialist with an industry-recognised qualification, the ideal candidate will be capable of being a member of the trust’s Finance and Audit & Risk committees. Potential candidates will be qualified and experienced accountants/auditors capable of offering support, scrutiny and challenge to the Trust Finance Manager and the executive leadership team.

Role 2 - HR: The ideal candidate will provide expertise in matters associated with Human Resources including organisational development, recruitment, retention, succession planning and be able to guide the trust as it grows. Experience of operating at least as the head of a functional area in an organisation of equivalent size, complexity and budgetary remit of the trust is essential, along with demonstrable experience of managing a budget at least in line with that of the trust.

Role 3 – Branding/Marketing/Communications: The trust seeks a non-executive director/trustee with strong and demonstrable senior leadership/ general management skills, with specific emphasis on branding and/or marketing, especially in relation to the growth of an organisation, shaping a strategy to effectively communicate impact and development of a medium- or large-scale, complex organisation. The trustee will use their skills to strategically support, challenge and advise the trust’s executives.

Time commitment

Six hours /month minimum.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Trust board meetings are held at Ninestiles School, Hartfield Crescent, Acocks Green, Birmingham, B27 7QG. The trust is increasingly adopting technological solutions to conduct meetings, including convening via Teams 365.

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 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.

Closing date for applications: Friday, June 19th, 2020