Non-Executive Director

Job Title: Non-Executive Director
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: Haverhill
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: Unity Schools Partnership
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: February 01, 2019 11:26

Job Description

Unity Schools Partnership

Unity Schools Partnership seeks a non-executive director with senior corporate governance experience to join a strong board supporting 22 schools in the east of England. Board meetings are held in Haverhill, Suffolk.


About the trust

Unity Schools Partnership oversees 22 schools: six secondary, one special and 15 primary in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Romford in East London. The Trust has been approved to open three new schools: a special school in Ipswich in 2020, a special school in Romford in 2021 and a primary school in Lakenheath in 2020/2021. The DfE have asked the Trust to take on three schools judged inadequate at recent inspections during 2019. Unity Schools Partnership currently oversees the education of 10,300 pupils and employs 1400 staff with an annual budget of just over £50 million.

The Trust began with the Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, which successfully opened a free school, a special school in its grounds in 2013 – both are rated Ofsted Outstanding. The Trust went on turn around  a secondary school in difficulties and 3 poorly performing primary schools. Additional high performing schools requested to join and the Trust which has provided the capacity to continue to support further schools in challenging circumstances. The trust is now called Unity Schools Partnership.

The Trust is in a second phase of leadership and governance, with a new chief executive and chair both starting in 2017. The board is ambitious for the schools to be performing very highly and to operate with high levels of transparency and integrity.


Plans for the future

The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. Rapidly raising standards from national average in secondary schools to well above, and in primary schools from below national average to well above
  2. To ensure every school does much more than focus on exam results and provides a great education - 'Results Plus' - to all its pupils
  3. Develop an emerging special school strategy


Trust ethos & values

The trust’s mission is to enable students to achieve to their potential through efficient and sustainable, drawing on the collective wisdom and leverage of the trust; and to raise standards and transform lives by smashing through the barriers that have restricted schools’ and pupils’ progress. For more information, please see


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 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.


Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Financial Control and Risk Management


  • Non-executive/ Trustee


The trust seeks one or more new non-executive directors capable of making a strong contribution in a strong board. Candidates should be highly able, experienced directors who will work well with an established and strong board. Diversity is currently not a strength across the board.

Time commitment

6 hours / month minimum. There are five board meetings a year plus a whole day for a strategy meeting. Board meetings start at 10am and usually go on until around 2.30pm.

The Audit committee meets at least three times a year (not all Directors are on this committee). Audit committee meetings try to be after or before a Board meeting. The Remuneration Committee meets once a year and (again not all Directors are on this committee).


Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Park Road, Haverhill, CB9 7YD. For more information, please see


Governance structure

Please see


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.

“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: Wednesday 13th March 2019


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