- CEO/ General Management
Warrington Primary Academy Trust (WPAT) seeks to recruit two non-executive directors, one of which will bring a broad skillset in general management, while a second will demonstrate experience/understanding of legal issues pertaining to a growing organisation. The trust was established in August 2016; it currently comprises five primary schools and one teaching school (Warrington Teaching School); there is an intention and plan to grow gradually over the next few years and possibly sponsor other schools seeking to join a multi-academy trust (MAT). Board meetings are held at Evelyn Street Primary School, Evelyn Street, Warrington.
About the trust
WPAT has developed a successful high-impact model for rapid school improvement that it applies internally and externally to support other schools. Three of the trust’s current schools are situated in areas of high social deprivation and two of the schools are high-performing, with Evelyn Street Primary and Bruche Primary School achieving impressive results in summer 2018. One of the most recent schools to join the trust enjoyed its best results ever last summer. All the schools in the trust are showing improvements and all are above the governments recommended minimum standards, some impressively so.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- To grow the trust through attracting and integrating more schools. The growth target over the next five years is to reach 12 schools in the trust.
- To maintain financial viability in a challenging financial environment.
- To broaden the base of experienced school leaders at all levels by working closely together and sharing best practice.
- To continue to modernise and update the trust estate to ensure it provides suitable surrounds for a high-quality education and teaching environment.
Trust ethos & values
The WPAT vision is to deliver a first class education through partnership, innovation, school improvement and accountability. The trust core values are: Children First, Resilience, Pioneering.
Number of positions advertised: 2
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 these roles include:
- Legal/ Compliance OR
- CEO/ General Management
- Growth Management
- Change Management
- Corporate Governance
Role specification 1 - Legal: In line with its ambitions for growth over the medium-term, the trust seeks to recruit an individual possessing a qualification in law, specifically in relation to growth to ensure controlled and sustained expansion, as well as a proven record in managing growth and change, and in leading on the restructuring of a complex organisation. Experience in an education context would be advantageous, but is not essential.
Role specification 2 - CEO/ General Management: A senior leader with a broad 'general' skillset is sought to bring strategic vision, leadership and corporate governance experience to the board. The trust requires individuals with a strategic mindset and willingness to ‘ask difficult questions’ where necessary. As the trust pursues a growth strategy, it is vital that the board comprises suitable skills, knowledge and experience to manage this growth and determine the most appropriate means of managing stakeholders, along with the responsibilities and legal implications of a growing portfolio of buildings and infrastructure.
The trust also seeks a board array of complementary skills, as listed in the ‘desirable’ section, to help develop its board strength and breadth. Experience of willingness to work constructively and effectively with all accordance to the ‘Nolan Principles: Standard of Public Life’ are essential. As two roles are being recruited, the board recognises that suitable candidates may possess some, but not necessarily all, of the above skills areas.
The full Board meets 3-4 times per year and is supported by sub committees which oversee Resources, Standards and Audit. Sub Committee meetings tend to be once each term (autumn, spring and summer) and are scheduled to be just prior to the full Board meeting. Finances are overseen by the full board and Resources sub committee; budgets are tight but in surplus through careful management. Meetings are scheduled well in advance and tend to start around 5pm and run for up to two hours. It is expected that trustees will need to commit 4-6 hours per month (on average).
Location of board meetings and trust website
Trust board meetings are held at Evelyn Street Primary School, Evelyn Street, Warrington, WA5 1BD
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, 13th September 2019