Non-Executive Director x 2

Ashford, Kent
Unpaid, voluntary
31 Jan 2018
09 Mar 2018
Aquila: Diocese of Canterbury Academy Trust
Evenings, Weekdays
Academy school

AQUILA: Diocese of Canterbury Academy Trust

One of Kent’s largest academy trusts, Aquila (Diocese of Canterbury Academy Trust), seeks two non-executive directors to join this growing organization. The trust is looking to the business community for a NED with financial/accountancy skills and a NED with a background in HR and organizational change. Trust board meetings will be held at John Wallis Academy, Ashford, Kent, TN23 3HG.

About the trust

Aquila comprises 11 primary schools, 3,000 pupils, 500 staff and a budget of £13.5m. The trust aims to promote excellence across all its schools, underpinned by Christian values and welcoming pupils of all faiths and none.

The trust provides immediate support and intervention where required to raise standards in schools that require support and ongoing, continuous improvements in performance across the trust.  Aquila encourages the sharing of good practice between schools and promotes mutual accountability across all its schools.

Plans for the Future

Aquila’s plans for the future include continued growth at a measured and sustainable rate. The 11 schools are geographically spread across the Diocese – as the trust grows regional clusters or 'hubs' are developing and the trust will also need to establish regional board structures.

The three board priorities for 2018 are:

  1. Delivery of a plan for long-term growth of up to around 20 academies, attracting non-faith schools, rural schools and Ofsted Good schools to join the trust.
  2. Organisational and governance change to create a structure that is fit for purpose to an organization of this size. This includes oversight of central head office functions and trust-wide systems and policies.
  3. Financial stewardship: continuing to invest to support school improvement and ensure the resources and assets of the trust are effectively deployed.

Trust ethos & values

Aquila’s vision for all its academies is the same: to promote distinctive, inclusive communities of learning underpinned by Christian values. The trust seeks to secure the best possible outcomes for children and young people, enabling them to fulfil their potential.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 


Role 1 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Following a skills audit of the trust board, Aquila has identified a need for additional finance expertise on the board. The trust has existing financial and management capacity on the board, however it is mindful of the need to maintain performance across all areas, including financial governance. The new NED will work with other board members to consider the best use of all trust assets, including capital, estates and reserves to focus investment in improving outcomes for young people. It would also be helpful for the new NED to be a qualified accountant with commercial experience.

The appointed board member will have broad corporate accountabilities in line with fellow board members, with a particular focus on:

  • Strategic financial oversight in the Finance and Audit committee.
  • Ensuring financial sustainability is considered in Aquila’s strategic thinking and direction.
  • Supporting the Aquila central team in developing centralized financial systems and overseeing the implementation of change.
  • Holding the Chief Executive and Finance and Business Director to account for financial performance across the trust.
  • Ensuring the Central team act promptly on the advice of the Trust accountants.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • CFO/ Finance
  • Strategic Financial Analysis
  • Strategic Planning


  • Business Modelling
  • Accountancy

Time commitment

2-4 hours /month minimum.

Role 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Following a skills audit of the trust board, Aquila has identified a need for HR expertise on the board. As the trust grows so the organisation, executive and governance, needs to adapt its systems and structures. The trust would particularly like to meet candidates with experience in organizational design, building head office functions and policy integration. The trust will also be developing its staff structure and offer to staff, including using the growth to provide greater career development opportunities within the trust.

The appointed board member will have broad corporate accountabilities in line with fellow board members, with a particular focus on:

  • Contributing information, analysis, and recommendations to Aquila’s strategic thinking and direction.
  • Strategic oversight of people and organisational development.
  • Ensuring the trust takes account of the advice from HR lawyers.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • HR
  • Change Management


  • Internal communications

Time commitment

2-4 hours /month minimum.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Please see

Trust board meetings will be held at John Wallis Academy, Millbank Road, Ashford, Kent. TN23 3HG.

Governance Structure

To see Aquila’s current governance structure and list of Members/Trustees, visit the trust’s website

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 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

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: 9th March 2018

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