Non-Executive Director

Job Title: Non-Executive Director
Location: Unknown
Reference: Extend Learning Academies Network
Contact Email:
Job Published: May 18, 2018 15:14

Job Description

Extend Learning Academies Trust (ELAN) seeks three non-executive directors with finance, legal, HR or branding/marketing skills to support seven primary schools in North Somerset. Board Meetings are held in Weston-super-Mare.  

About the trust

The seven primary schools that make up the newly formed Extend Learning Academies Trust (ELAN) are situated in and around Weston super Mare in North Somerset. The schools support a mixed demographic which includes the four highest areas of deprivation in North Somerset and supports an area of deprivation within the top 0.5% nationally. The schools are an established working group with a shared ethos and a history and culture of collaboration and collaborative development that has grown and evolved over the last 10+ becoming a MAT in Oct 2017. This collaborative work has been key in the development of

  • Teaching and learning,
  • Subject specialism,
  • A bespoke curriculum,
  • Excellent classroom practice
  • Outstanding progress for all pupils
  • Enriched opportunities for learners
  • Culture of support and challenge,
  • The sharing of best practice and resources

ELAN is committed to moving forward, initially as a seven school MAT, to take full advantage of the opportunities this way of working presents. It will establish, by design, an efficient and effective infrastructure that can easily incorporate further schools which will extend the capacity, sustainability and ability of the group to deliver an excellent education, experiences and outcomes for all young people. The trust’s plans for growth over the next three years will see an increase from seven to 15 schools. There is current interest from a further three schools including Primary, Secondary and Special Schools.

Plans for the Future

Over the next two years, the trust and board need to focus on the following areas:

1. Change management: the trust is still very new and a lot of change is required implementing central systems and other operations. The key areas of challenge are:

  • New financial and HR systems
  • Changes in school based staff procedures and systems
  • Managing expectations of timelines
  • Changes in relationships and positions​​

2. Finance: current reserve will need securing over the next years. School in year budgets are tight and further review will need to be carried to find further savings. Areas of risk include:

3. School Improvement: development and implementation of a school improvement process to facilitate challenge and review across all schools

4. Manage growth effectively: The trust’s plans for growth over the next three to five years will see an increase from seven to 12-15 schools. There is current interest from a further three schools including Primary, Secondary and Special Schools.

5. Shaping Governance: the trust will need to strengthen its board and develop its governance structure in line with its growth plan, particularly as it moves towards a committee structure.

  • Drop in pupil numbers
  • Drop in Pupil Premium funding
  • Impact of new Fair Funding Formula
  • Top up funding reductions

Trust ethos & values

The schools have a culture of collaborative working and are rooted in the communities they serve. With a strong history of providing enriched opportunities that enhance the educational experience for all our learners. For more information, please see:

Role Summary Number of Positions Advertised: 3

Roles 1-3 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; the role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law.

All candidates should have critical listening skills, ability to ask effective questions, strategic thinking, excellent communication skills, problem solving and analysis

The competencies required for this role include:


  • CFO/ Finance OR
  • Branding/Marketing OR
  • Legal/ Compliance OR
  • HR / Organisation Development


  • Corporate Governance
  • Non-executive/Trustee


  • Growth Management
  • Change Management
  • Succession planning
  • Risk
  • Restructuring
  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Chair
  • Turnaround

Person specification

  • CFO/ Finance: the ideal candidate will be a qualified accountant who can provide guidance on financial probity in addition to scrutinising financial plans for sustainability and growth.
  • Branding/Marketing: the trust would welcome a trustee with a focus on communications, marketing and PR. They will support the development of strategic stakeholder, parent and community engagement, raising the profile of the MAT and managing reputational risks.
  • Legal/ Compliance: the trust would welcome applicants with legal experience to support them in ensuring they are fully compliant with all legal and regulatory requirements and reflect best practice in doing so.
  • HR: the trust is keen to appoint a trustee with a background in Human Resources. It is preferable that candidates have experience in recruitment at an executive level, change management, organisational development, succession planning and turnaround.

Applicants would also be expected to join or chair a committee once these are established and would be expected to help shape the development of those committees.

Time commitment

There are currently between four and six board meetings a year.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website Board meetings are held at Bournville Primary School, Selworthy Road, Weston super Mare, BS23 3ST. The trust website is: Governance Structure The trust currently has 5 Members and is looking to increase the size of its trust board up to around 8.

Please see

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: Thursday 14th June 2018