- Corporate Governance
A newly-formed multi-academy trust (MAT), Trent Community Trust seeks to recruit an individual with a strong, impressive and demonstrable track record in the field of finance to bring rigour, challenge and scrutiny to its board as it becomes established. One of the trust’s schools is Church of England, however candidates of all faiths and none are invited to apply. Board meetings are held at multiple locations in Stoke on Trent.
About the trust
Trent Community Trust is a new multi academy trust, comprising four special schools and five primary schools in Stoke on Trent. All schools in the trust are rated by Ofsted as ‘Good’, but are striving to improve standards through collaboration, learning from one another and through learning from best practice elsewhere.
The five primary schools comprise one CofE (Voluntary Aided), two in a soft federation and two maintained. The four all-age special schools comprise a cooperative trust that will be dissolved as part of forming the multi academy trust.
One of the trust’s schools specialises in social emotional and mental health needs, while another has a specialism in autism, communication and interaction needs, and the focus of two others is on profound and multiple learning difficulties.
The trust, once established, will operate across an area of significant deprivation - the primary schools are characterised by pupil populations that are either predominantly white working class or of minority ethnic origin. As one of the trust’s schools is Church of England, the Diocese of Lichfield has the right to approve 40% of members and trustees; in practice, the trust as a whole shares with the Diocese a strong moral purpose and ethos in relation to the delivery of effective education to young people.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months include:
- Formal trust formation and completion of the process to convert all schools to academies;
- Establishing a strong governance framework to provide scrutiny and challenge to the executive team, and increase accountability across the newly-formed trust;
- Establishing a robust strategy and positive culture for continuous school improvement, the holistic needs of children and young people;
- Ensuring financial sustainability and including PFI contracts and special schools’ requirements.
The trust is committed to establishing a strong foundation from the outset, but is open and willing to seek opportunities to grow in due course, including such avenues as opening a free school. The successful candidate will help to shape this approach and strategy to future growth.
Trust ethos & values
The trust’s vision is encapsulated by the team ‘CRAFTS’:
- Curiosity, Creativity, Community, Courage, Character;
- Resilience, Rigour, Reflection, Respect, Rehearsal;
- Adventurous, Aspirational, Achievement, Ambitious;
- Families, Freedom, Fearless, Fairness, Famous;
- Togetherness, Tireless Teamwork, Trust;
- Success, Sharing, Sensational learning, Support, Shining, Safe.
The trust also promotes values of trust, respect, integrity, learning, openness, excitement, diversity, cooperation, fun, reliability, reputation and achievement.
Number of positions advertised:
Role 1 – 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.
The competencies required for this role include:
- CFO/ Finance
- Corporate Governance
- Audit Committee Chair
- Non-executive/ Trustee
The trust seeks to recruit an individual possessing significant skills and experience in finance – for example in the area of accountancy, banking or a senior finance role in organisation of significant size or complexity. This role encompasses schools across Stoke on Trent, so an individual with a detailed knowledge and understanding of the area and a passion for making a difference to the young people is highly sought.
Experience working at a senior level, with demonstrable experience of corporate governance and leading strategy at the head of a large organisation is essential to this role. Willingness and ability to challenge, ask questions and help develop strategy are vital.
Approximately 2 hours per month, including meeting time, plus school visits and preparation time in addition.
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 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, 7th December