Yorkshire Collaborative Academy Trust (YCAT)

North of England | North Yorkshire
  • Branding/Marketing
  • Corporate Governance
  • Non-executive/Trustee
Deadline date: 30th October 2020

Yorkshire Collaborative Academy Trust (YCAT) seeks one non-executive director and one member. This is a growing multi-academy trust dedicated to working with primary schools. The trust was formed in 2015 by three primary schools with a long track record of successfully working in partnership. Two further schools joined in the 2016/17 academic year. Board meetings are held in North Yorkshire and will also be conducted both virtually and face to face.

About the trust

YCAT is building a partnership of schools that put the needs of children at their heart and is committed to true collaborative working. Its schools work together to ensure pupils are confident, responsible and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to take ownership of their life-long learning.

One of the trust’s schools is the lead school for the Harrogate and Rural Teaching Alliance (HART), which includes approximately 50 members; the trust recognises the importance of attracting new teachers into the profession and developing their skills. YCAT plays an active part in this through its School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) and has merged the programme as a regional hub.

The trust seeks to continue to identify ways to further improve progress in its high attaining schools. This is achieved through the establishment of consistent operational models, to ensure that its provision has the maximum impact on children’s outcomes. 

The trust has been praised in a national DfE media release as one of the top ten academy trusts in the country for attainment levels at Key Stage 2 (end of primary stage):


Plans for the Future
YCAT is committed to growing the trust in order to continue to meet the need for more innovative approaches for school improvement across the region, in particular in rural areas. 

The trust’s growth strategy is supported by promotion of YCAT through targeted marketing activities and increased profile of senior leaders at conferences and other events, to further build on its reputation for collaborative and innovative approaches to school improvement.

The trust’s plans for the next year include:

  • Covid-19 recovery;
  • Highly effective curriculum across the trust;
  • YCAT growth and further developing its trust and wider learning community;
  • Financial & commercial effectiveness;
  • Developing strong leadership and governance.

To improve pupil outcomes, key priorities have been agreed both at school- and trust-level. Growth in the coming year includes continued working with interested schools, discussions with the DfE regarding potential sponsor schools and focused plans on development of leadership and succession planning. 

Trust ethos & values

YCAT is built on shared core values and a passionate belief in collaborative approaches to learning.  At the heart of YCAT are its trustees who have a wide range of experience from the education and business sector and a commitment to good governance. The trustees are the custodians of the vision that YCAT shares with its family of schools and strategically plan school improvement across its schools.

YCAT is a partnership of primary schools that believe that through working and learning together they will make even more difference to children’s lives. Striving to better meet children’s needs is the fundamental goal of the schools.

Strong working partnerships and commitment to collaboration will help the trust to more consistently meet all of its pupils’ learning needs.  

Role Summary

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 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 and in accordance with DfE requirements, all trustee appointments will 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:

  • Marketing/ Branding/ Communications
  • Non-executive Trustee
  • Change Management
  • Growth Management
  • Strategic
  • Corporate Governance


Time commitment

Seven hours per month


Role 2 - Member


A member is able to alter the trust’s Articles of Association and appoint (or remove) trustees/directors where necessary. They provide independent oversight to the work of the board of trustees in order to ensure suitable accountability for its decision making and strategy. At YCAT the members are expected to be signatories for the academy trust, to attend two meetings per year, and to add to the already broad skillset within the existing team of members.

Person specification 

  • Non-executive/ trustee
  • Corporate Governance
  • CFO/ Finance
  • Strategic

The trust seeks individuals with an extensive and demonstrable background in a senior leadership role, with strategic vision and knowledge of the role of a non-executive director.

A good communicator and a ‘team player’, committed to attending Members’ meetings is essential. An individual with good business acumen is advantageous, as well as experience of working within a commercial environment, preferably at board level. The ability to read and understand management accounting information is required.

Time commitment

Two meetings per year

Location of board meetings and trust website

The trust’s meetings are usually held in Harrogate, but at the moment meetings are held remotely and this will be reviewed in October 2020.

The AGM and other meetings with the Members board are usually held in Ripon.


Governance Structure


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 focussed 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.


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