Victoria Academies Trust

West Midlands | Smethwick, West Midlands
  • Education Leadership
  • Legal
  • Risk
Deadline date: 28th August 2020

Victoria Academies Trust seeks to develop, with expansion aimed at bringing more schools into the trust. In order to achieve its aim, the trust is strengthening its governance arrangements and seeks up to three new board members, bringing significant expertise in the fields of Education Leadership, Risk Management and Legal. Board meetings are held remotely, via Zoom, and due course will be held at Victoria Park Academy, Smethwick.

About the trust

Victoria Academies Trust is an expanding academy trust established in January 2014 and now comprising nine primary schools, including a new Free School which opened in September 2019.

The trust’s schools are located across the West Midlands in areas with varying degrees of diversity and including areas of high deprivation. The trust has a proven record of improving standards in all of its schools, both sponsored and partner schools, reflected in recent Ofsted outcomes.

Victoria Academies Trust has teacher training connections with Birmingham University. The trust runs ‘Ballot Street Spice’, a social enterprise that creates spice products that bring families and the local community together and at the same time provides real and purposeful learning experiences. The social enterprise model is being introduced at a number of schools in the trust. The trust has a strong focus on community engagement and is developing a community allotment and community café and farm at various schools.

Plans for the future

The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months include:

  1. Post-Covid response - to ensure a full and robust recovery from Covid-19 and management of its legacy effects;
  2. Governance development - to continue to expand and develop governance, financial and operational capabilities to support the expansion and ambition of the trust;
  3. Educational provision - to continue developing and improving educational provision to enable all schools to become outstanding providers of education;
  4. Senior Leadership development - to ensure that the trust continues to develop its talent pool to deliver a consistent supply of high quality future leaders.

Victoria Academies Trust has ambitions to expand into special and secondary provision and is also looking to recruit its first secondary school. Furthermore, the trust is continuing its objective of recruiting schools using all routes, including schools requiring improvement. This planned expansion requires governance, financial and operational capabilities to be reviewed and new trustees recruited accordingly.

 
Trust ethos & values

Victoria Academies Trust academies are values-driven, with all leadership possessing a strong moral purpose. Inspired by the Latin word Fides (‘To Trust’), five core values underpin everything the trust does:

  • Focus on family
  • Insist on excellence
  • Do good as you go
  • Embrace innovation
  • Seize success

http://victoriaacademiestrust.org/about-us/who-we-are/#values

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:
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 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 are 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 successful person will join other committed individuals on the Board of Trustees. Key responsibilities include providing strategic leadership, guidance and oversight, ensuring sound financial stewardship and a culture of values-led high performance. As well as attending regular board meetings, there will be opportunities to join sub-committees including health and safety, standards, audit, risk and finance.

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)
  • Education Leadership
  • Risk Management
  • Legal
Desirable
  • Change Management
  • Growth Management
  • Compliance
  • Succession Planning

The successful candidates should be interested in the education of children and the wider community and able to establish good working relationships with clear communication. Being persistent and objective in difficult circumstances with the ability to understand and interpret sensitive information with confidentiality. Senior experience in either the Education or business sector is welcomed. Candidates representing the diverse communities served by the trust are highly sought.

Experience managing significant budgets, working in a complex, multi-site environment and operating a senior, strategic level is essential to this role.

Time commitment

Approximately 5 hours /month.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Initially meetings will be conducted via remote means, including use of technology; thereafter, board meetings will be held at Victoria Park Academy, Ballot Street, Smethwick, B66 3HH.

http://victoriaacademiestrust.org/

Governance structure

http://victoriaacademiestrust.org/about-us/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 775 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 (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. 

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, 28th August, 2020