Academy Trust CEO Mentoring: Corporate Mentor Opportunities

New Schools Network is proud to announce the launch of Academy Trust CEO mentoring as part of the Academy Ambassadors programme. The programme is funded by the Department of Education and will initially run from August 2019 – March 2020.

New and aspiring MAT CEOs are often experts in education leadership and driven by a strong sense of purpose. However, the role of a MAT CEO may present unfamiliar challenges: defining a compelling vision and strategy across multiple schools, managing complex multi-site structures and premises, moving into corporate governance and operating within financial constraints facing competing demands. A business mentor can help senior education leaders make a success in their critical transition to CEO.

“The mentoring that I received from an experienced member of the business community was instrumental to my becoming a CEO. The dynamic conversations improved my thinking and produced a commitment to action. It gave me ownership of the next steps and embedded long-term changes in my practice.”

Nick Cross CEO Kings Academy Trust

Why get involved?

Academy Ambassadors has an outstanding reputation gained from matching over 1,300 business leaders and professionals to multi-academy trust board roles. Our new executive mentoring programme allows business leaders to engage without taking on the longer-term commitment of a board role. The key areas that this programme will focus on complement internal talent development programmes and are:

  • Strategy and improvement
  • Leading with impact across a multi-site organisation
  • Working in partnership
  • Managing resources and risks
  • Increasing capability

The programme also allows corporate partners to fulfil corporate social responsibility functions. The mentee CEOs are often leading schools in areas of significant socio-economic disadvantage and all are state schools. The role, therefore, affords a way for senior leaders to ‘give back’ to young people using their leadership, mentoring and coaching skills.

Impacts on Staff:

Mentoring is an opportunity to test and practice leadership skills, including objective setting, communications, lateral and strategic thinking. It provides exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking and can illuminate the mentor’s own business challenges. Mentoring provides the satisfaction of helping the mentee tackle complicated issues that initially seemed irresolvable. It is also a deeply rewarding opportunity to ‘give back’ and improve schools for the next generation. Mentors volunteering through the Academy Ambassadors programme have access to advice and orientation, including refresher training on coaching. The mentors will become a senior, influential network of accomplished business and trust leaders with appropriate networking opportunities.

How will this process work?

  1. Employers can select all senior leaders or particular groups to participate on a voluntary basis, such as targeting BAME senior leaders. Academy Ambassadors supports the employer’s recruitment activity via materials, webinars and events as the employer decides will work best.
  2. Once volunteers step forward, they are matched with mentees on a bespoke basis, based preferred location, the mentors’ professional skills and industry background and the issues faced by the mentee. As the mentoring is goal-oriented, an area of focus will be selected.
  3. The commitment is agreed between the mentor and mentee in advance. It will comprise a minimum of three engagements and the expectation of a minimum six-month duration. The mentor must be willing to provide feedback at the end of the mentoring period. Some mentor-mentees may choose to extend the duration.
  4. Contact will include a mixture of face-to-face, telephone/Skype and email support. There is also the expectation that the mentor and mentee will share at least one reciprocal opportunity, such as board shadowing a Board meeting.
  5. Should mentors wish to take on a broader volunteering commitment a menu of options for senior employees will be available for them to consider depending on their time availability, for example: trustee (long-term – approx. three years, minimum six hours per month), Member (approx. two hours per month) or mentor (short term).


“A key benefit from having a business mentor is exposure to new ideas and ways of working that challenge your own thinking.”

Luke Sparkes, Executive Principal, Dixons Trinity Academy

How to Sign-up?

To find out more email [email protected]