Unity MAT

West Midlands | Coleshill, Birmingham
  • Audit
  • CFO/Financial
  • Legal/Compliance
  • Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 30th October 2020

A two-school multi-academy trust in the Coleshill area of east Birmingham, Unity MAT seeks up to three non-executive directors/trustees to strengthen its governance, contribute towards its vision for growth and develop a compelling offer to other academies interested in joining the trust in future. A range of skills are sought to ensure a full coverage around the board table, with a specific focus on Legal, Estates and Finance/Audit. Board meetings are held at Woodlands School, Packington Lane, Coleshill.

About the trust

A two-school multi-academy trust (MAT) based in Coleshill, Birmingham, Unity MAT comprises Woodlands School and Brooke School. Woodlands is an all age school for pupils with a broad spectrum of needs and includes Nursery provision along with Primary and Secondary schools and a Sixth Form department. In its most recent Ofsted report, Woodlands was identified as a ‘Good’ school. 

Brooke School caters to Primary and Secondary age students and across both schools there students with Moderate and Severe Learning Difficulties with some pupils with very complex needs. In total, the trust has c.400 pupils and 300 staff. The budget is c.£8mn.

Plans for the future

The three key challenges for the trust over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. Governance - ensuring the right people are around the table at all levels of governance within the trust;
  2. Development - producing a compelling, coherent and attractive offer to schools that may consider joining the trust;
  3. Growth – expansion of the trust in a sustainable, financially viable way without causing unacceptable risk to its existing schools.

Over the longer term, the trust aims to have appropriate governance at all levels enabling collaboration with other schools within the geographic area.

Trust ethos & values

The trust’s ethos focuses upon placing children and families at the heart of everything it undertakes. It is mutually supportive and accepts that no one school is more important than another and that resources are shared for the common good of all schools.

Link to the full Vision and Values here: https://www.unitymat.co.uk/vision-and-values/

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.

In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would 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: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583733/Competency_framework_for_governance_.pdf

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)

  • Audit AND
  • CFO/ Finance OR
  • Legal/ Compliance OR
  • Health and safety

 

Desirable

  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance

 

Role 1: A finance specialist with a proven record of guiding and delivering strategy in a senior role, the ideal candidate will hold a relevant qualification and have experience in corporate governance and/or past experience in a charity/non-profit context. 

Role 2: The trust requires an individual with a legal and/or compliance background able to guide the board on key issues. Candidates with experience from both in and outside education are encouraged to apply. A law qualification is necessary as the trust seeks to add this specific key area to the board skills mix.

Role 3: The suitable candidate for this position will have experience of Health and Safety management within a multi-site setting, with specific focus on pre-emptive risk mitigation and planning.

Time commitment

Up to 10 hours /month.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Woodlands School, Packington Lane, Coleshill, Birmingham, B46 3JE.

https://www.unitymat.co.uk/

Governance structure

https://www.unitymat.co.uk/trust-governance/

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.

Applications

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.

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, 30th October, 2020