White Woods Primary Academy Trust

East Midlands and Humber | Rotherham
  • Corporate Governance
  • IT/Technology
  • Property/Estate management
  • Risk
Deadline date: 26th October 2020

White Woods Primary Academy Trust seeks to recruit two new non-executive directors with strong business skills to its board. The trust is made up of a mixture of one and two-form entry primary schools some of which operate extended provision (including early year’s provision for two year olds) and serves communities with varying degrees of deprivation. Board meetings are held in the Rotherham area.

About the trust

The trust was founded in September 2013 by three self-converting primary schools, led by Whiston Worrygoose Junior and Infant School (designated Teaching School and English Hub with an Outstanding Ofsted rating). Since its formation, the trust has experienced a period of rapid growth, increasing its portfolio of schools from three to 13 academies. The trust has a turnover of around £15m.  The trust’s founding CEO retired in 2018 and a new CEO took up post in July 2019.

At the core of White Woods Primary Academy Trust is a strong belief that all organisations should be outward looking and work in collaboration with key partners. The trust is a founding partner of Learners First Schools Partnership and plays an active role in promoting key educational initiatives across the region. This allows the staff within the trust to access high quality training as well as contribute to supporting others outside the trust.

Plans for the future

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

  1. Consolidation of the trust after a period of rapid growth and implementing new systems and structures suitable for the next phase of development. This will include the centralisation of core business functions to promote greater financial efficiencies.

  2. To tackle under-performance and ensure all schools are at least Good.

  3. To strengthen governance at trust/local level and reinforce statutory responsibilities and the roles of the academies within the governance of the trust.

White Woods Primary Academy Trust seeks to ensure all schools can flourish as a result of being a member of the trust.

Trust ethos & values

Vision

All children within the trust, from any background, will be supported to excel both academically and socially, developing the skills of lifelong learners.

Mission

Its schools will be exceptional and provide children and adults with a breadth of exciting opportunities promoting curiosity and broadening the mind.

The trust will build positive, challenging partnerships with each other and the wider community promoting aspiration and ambition.

Values
Our 4 C’s;

Child-centred – Our children are at the heart of all the trust does.

Collaboration – Those within the trust work collaboratively, learning and supporting each other to maximise the achievement of our children and adults across the trust.

Curiosity – It embraces new learning and promote curiosity in all, always striving to improve, keeping ‘the main thing the main thing’.

Challenge – To set the trust and its children aspirational targets and are open to professional challenge and support.

The trust aims to improve the life chances and choices of all children regardless of background or ability through the delivery of outstanding teaching and learning.

The trust is committed to creating a level playing field for all children in education; ensuring disadvantaged pupils are not prevented from achieving their full potential.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2

Roles 1-2 – 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

Successful individuals must be willing and able to support the vision of the trust and guide the board in reviewing and setting clear objectives and outcomes, which are monitored effectively. To this end, they will need to work closely with the Chair and newly appointed CEO to move the trust forward.

The trust seeks individuals with extensive and significant management experience to bring depth of knowledge, critical challenge and scrutiny to its board.

Particular competencies required for the available roles include:

Essential

  • IT/ Technology
  • Risk, or
  • Real Estate/Property
Desirable
  • Corporate Governance
  • Compliance
  • Restructuring
  • Change Management

Role 1: This candidate should have a high degree of business acumen with a focus on IT and data security. The purpose is to ensure the trust is able to use the latest technology to support learning and management and bring an experienced critical-friend’s view to strategic planning particularly but not exclusively in the realm of IT.  Knowledge of the education sector would be advantageous but is not essential.

Role 2: This candidate should have a proven record of accomplishment and, where possible, a relevant professional qualification, in the field of estates management/property.

Time commitment

The trust board meets six times per year (once each term) and meetings are currently held on Friday afternoons at 1pm and last for 2 hours.  This is open to review. The trust also has an audit committee which some trustees are invited to join depending on their skills, interest and availability. In general trustees would be expected to devote around 5-6 hours per month (on average) to trust matters including training and preparation for meetings as well as the meetings themselves.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at schools across the Trust, all based in Rotherham.

https://www.whitewoodsprimaryacademytrust.co.uk/

Governance structure

Some background information about the trust can be found at https://www.whitewoodsprimaryacademytrust.co.uk/about-us/

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 900 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.

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 select "Register Now" and send your CV and a short expression of interest detailing which role you are applying for. 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 email [email protected].

If the trust is keen to take your application forward, they may ask you to complete a detailed application form to gather more specific information following an initial exploratory phone call.

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 25th October 2020