If you are interested in becoming a non-executive director role on an academy trust board, you can apply to one of our current board opportunities. Alternatively, you can request to join our pool of candidates, find out more here.
Academy Ambassadors recommend candidates live within reasonable travelling distance of the trust role they have applied to and/or have a link with the region e.g. it is close to their place of work. Trusts prefer candidates based locally to the trust and do not always provide travel expenses.
Role deadlines are specific to each opportunity. Recruitment may close early if we receive a sufficient number of applications. We therefore strongly recommend applying as early as you can to have the best possible chance of being considered.
No. All positions recruited through Academy Ambassadors are pro bono and therefore not remunerated.
An initial phone call with one of our Regional Advisers should last around 30 minutes. During the call, the Regional Adviser will discuss the candidates’ CV, skills and motivation for becoming a non-executive director and eligibility. This is also an opportunity for candidates to learn more about becoming a non-executive director of an academy trust and consider current board roles.
In most cases, the Regional Adviser will call the candidate. However, this can be altered dependent on circumstances.
Following the phone call, the Regional Adviser might ask candidates to produce an expression of interest if one is required and has not been supplied previously.
Non-executive directors are expected to commit around six to eight hours a month, typically comprising one meeting per term plus preparatory work. Larger chair roles may require closer to two days per month. Some non-executive directors choose to get more involved by chairing a committee or local governing body at an individual school. All new non-executives should expect to invest additional time in induction in the first three months.
Members are akin to the shareholders of a company and provide a monitory function to the trust. In addition, Members have the ability to appoint board members and have a right to amend the trust’s articles of associations. Members are expected to commit between two to four hours a month to the role.
The length of commitment varies and should be agreed at appointment, however most trustees choose to serve for about four years. Non-executive directors can sometimes be appointed to an ‘Interim Executive Board’ – which is usually a one year or less ‘turnaround’ role.
Regional Advisers work remotely and therefore in most circumstances it is not possible to arrange a face to face meeting. However, in some cases a face-to-face meeting may be requested.
Information on the Regional Schools Commissioners can be found here on the Department for Education website.
All positions recruited through Academy Ambassadors are pro bono and therefore not remunerated. Travel expenses may be paid in some cases, however, this is at the discretion of the individual trust and must be discussed directly with the trust.
The Academy Ambassador Adviser will assess whether you fit the role criteria as stated in the trust role specification, together with our own broader eligibility criteria. We will sometimes recommend another role that is a better fit. If you are shortlisted for a trust role, your CV and expression of interest are submitted to the trust alongside other shortlisted candidates. The decision to interview a candidate and subsequently offer a board position is made entirely by the trust. A decision by the trust not to go ahead with interview does not always reflect a lack of skills and experience. The trust may be looking to build a balanced board and be seeking to avoid duplication of a skills set that is already strong within the board.
Academy Ambassadors receives a high level of interest in board roles and candidates that fit closely with the key competencies and criteria for the particular role are shortlisted. We are happy to keep details on file for those candidates who fit the eligibility criteria for our candidate pool and contact them when relevant opportunities arise. We also encourage candidates to apply for other local roles.
Academy Ambassadors has produced a guide for trustees/non-executive directors of academy trusts, to help them understand their personal liabilities alongside the obligations which stem from being a public body / charitable organisation. This is essential reading for new and existing non-executive directors. The complete pack can be downloaded here.
All appointments are subject to reference and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. It is the trust’s responsibility to perform full vetting, including DBS and reference checks for appointed candidates.
Academy Ambassadors provide a free, bespoke recruitment service to multi-academy trusts looking to strengthen their board Since 2013, Academy Ambassadors has helped trusts to fill over 500 board roles. High-calibre board members are motivated by a desire to use their skills for good. By working together, inspirational educationalists and talented business leaders can provide a better future for the next generation of school leavers.
SATs and small MATs with no growth plans should use Inspiring Governance, which provides ‘self-service’ web-based board recruitment. Please alert the RSC office and Academy Ambassadors to help us prioritise if your need is pressing.
At busy times there may be some delay and your adviser will inform you of the likely timescale. We may have to prioritise based on need in the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) regions of South East and South London, North West London & South Central and East of England & North East London.
Academy Ambassadors is a not-for-profit programme funded by the Department for Education which provides a free, bespoke service, matching business expertise with multi-academy trusts looking to strengthen their board.
Details of the full recruitment process can be found here.
Each trust works on their own board role specification which is used to attract candidates to the role. Once the role specification has been finalised between the Regional Adviser and the trust, it is published to the Academy Ambassadors’ website. The trust is notified when its recruitment is live with a link to the advert. Trust board roles are also circulated on our networks, which include non-executivedirectors.com, The Institute of Directors, Women on Boards and People Management Jobs amongst several other business and professional networks. When recruiting a large number of roles to one trust or to a Chair role Academy Ambassadors may recommend supplementing this with a paid advertisement route. Your Adviser will make a recommendation and Academy Ambassadors takes no service charge and makes no profit if paid adverts are used. We also use unpaid professional headhunting networks and LinkedIn headhunting to attract suitable senior level professionals to the role. Finally, we have a large number of high-calibre candidates in the Academy Ambassadors pool and will approach them directly if their skill set is suitable to the role.
An initial phone call with one of our Regional Advisers should last around 30 minutes. This is an opportunity for you and the Regional Adviser to discuss the trust’s recruitment needs based on the trust specification form you submitted. The phone call allows the Regional Adviser to gain a better understanding of your trust and tailor the recruitment accordingly.
Following the phone call, the Regional Adviser may ask the trust to make edits to the trust specification to create a more attractive role advert better aligned to the boards strategic needs.
Chairs are accountable for board recruitment and Academy Ambassadors strongly encourages the initial phone call take place between the Regional Adviser and the Chair of the trust. Trust CEOs, head teachers and Clerks to the governors are more than welcome to sit in on the call in addition to the Chair. We are able to arrange a teleconference with the Regional Adviser for this purpose.
It is important that the trust has a full and open conversation with the Regional Adviser about the trust and its board to enable us to help strengthen governance.
The Regional Adviser leading the recruitment will have an initial conversation with candidates, shortlisting those that best fit the key competencies and criteria. These candidates will be introduced to the trust.
We are able to share candidate CVs on a rolling basis or after the closing date, dependent on the trust’s preference. The Adviser can also help the trust with shortlisting if required, although the trust is accountable for all final decisions on who to select for interview.
The trust should contact candidates to arrange interviews direct and should communicate the outcome of the interviews direct with candidates, informing Academy Ambassadors of the decisions.
Academy Ambassadors does not lead the formal sifting or interview process – appointments should be made by the trust Members. It is the trust’s responsibility to undertake full vetting, including DBS and reference checks for all candidates offered a position with the trust.
Academy Ambassadors works to a no failure policy and will continue to work with the trust in order to find suitable candidates, beyond the original deadline if required. If no suitable candidates are identified in the first instance, we are able to undertake targeted headhunting for the trust and/or recirculate the trust role on our networks.
Recruitment is typically open for a period of six weeks on our website and networks. In some cases, the recruitment period may need to be extended or shortened depending on the trust’s needs.
No. Trusts seeking to recruit school governors for their local governing body should contact Inspiring Governance – a national online service which works in partnership with the National Governance Association and the Department for Education. SGOSS Governors for Schools can also assist with governor recruitment.
Academy Ambassadors does not provide a skills audit or full governance evaluation. The National Governance Association publishes a skills audit and matrix, available here. There may be a cost attached for non-NGA members. In exceptional cases, Academy Ambassadors may be able to recommend an independent consultant who can provide this service.
Academy Ambassadors is grant-funded by the Department for Education (DfE) up to 31st March 2018. The DfE invited organisations to tender for a two-year grant to operate the service late last year and the current provider has submitted a bid. We expect decisions to be made shortly. Because, at this time, we do not know who will run the service beyond 31st March 2018, we are taking steps now to limit taking on recruitment cases that are likely to extend into April.
Where there is an agreed role specification and recruitment is already underway the normal bespoke board recruitment service will be provided.
Trusts that have not started recruitment by Thursday 22nd February 2018 may be able to access a more limited service. MATs interested in recruiting non-executive directors to their boards, but who haven’t yet embarked on the process, should call one of the local contacts below to check their eligibility for the limited service. Roles will continue to be advertised through external networks until 1st March 2018. While there is no guarantee that all board positions will be filled before 31st March 2018, trusts will be given every assistance to recruit good candidates from the Academy Ambassadors pool. Single-academy trusts are not eligible.
We anticipate that MATs who are not able to progress with their recruitment at this time will be contacted and supported in the next recruitment period. The Academy Ambassadors team contact below can provide further advice on your best course of action.
- Sophie Constable tel: 0207 952 8476 for EENEL, SESL and SW;
- David Ardill tel: 0161 638 8604 for LWY, EMH and North; or
- Sophie Taylor tel: 0207 952 8493 for SCNWL and WM
The DfE remains committed to funding the Academy Ambassadors board recruitment service. Academy Ambassadors has recently helped to recruit the 850th non-executive to a trust board and continues to be a popular service.