Non-Executive Director

Job Title: Non-Executive Director
Contract Type: Temporary
Location: Castleford
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: Northern Ambition Academies Trust Nov 2019
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: November 19, 2019 14:07

Job Description

Northern Ambition Academies Trust


Northern Ambition Academies Trust seeks three new non-executive directors to support the board and contribute to the success of the organisation. The current schools in the trust are located within a mile of one another and serve areas of high socio-economic deprivation. The trust believes that every child has potential and that all should be given the chance to succeed. It therefore seeks individuals with a commitment to the education of children from disadvantaged communities and a strong moral purpose; an understanding of the barriers faced by these children and the communities they come from and a willingness to champion them; and a desire to put children at the heart of decisions. Board meetings are held in the Castleford area.


About the trust

Northern Ambition Academies Trust was originally established when Airedale Academy converted to an Academy in April 2011. In August 2014 it became a multi-academy trust and took-on responsibility for operating Oyster Park Primary School.


Airedale Infants School and Airedale Junior School joined the trust in November 2014 and January 2015, respectively. The trust then changed its name to become Northern Ambition Academies trust and reflect its desire to raise the ambitions of children across the North of England.


The trust now comprises four schools - one secondary, one primary (which caters for children aged 3-11), one infant and one junior school. The trust has a budget of around £12 million.


The trust serves an area of extremely high socio-economic deprivation. Higher than average numbers of pupils are in receipt of Free School Meals. The vast majority of pupils are of White British heritage, although there are some pupils from other ethnic groups.


Plans for the future

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


  1. To ensure that all schools within the trust are at least good and working towards outstanding
  2. To increase the number of schools in the trust
  3. To continue to review governance to ensure the trust is learning from best practice


Northern Ambition Trust would like to steadily increase the number of schools within the trust over the next 2 years in order to seek greater economies of scale.  An alternative would be to seek strategic partners and engage in closer working for children and staff to make best use of resources and further increase impact.


Trust ethos & values

The trust’s mission is for every child to leave its schools equipped with the essential skills they need to contribute effectively to society and to become well-rounded, confident, happy adults. The values of the trust are those of ambition, bravery and respect.


Role summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 3


Roles 1 to 3 – Non-executive director

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust. The core functions of their role are: ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction; holding executive leaders to account for the educational and financial performance of a charitable company funded by the public purse.


The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust in compliance with its charitable objects, company and charity law.


Non-executive directors are responsible for maintaining stability and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and potential growth, and holding the CEO and CFO to account.


In the interests of safeguarding, and in accordance with DfE requirements, all trustee appointments will be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.


Person specification

Every trustee is expected to abide by the trust’s code of conduct and the seven principles of public life set out by Lord Nolan: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.


The Competency Framework for Governance (DfE) 2017 details the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for effective governance:


The competencies required for this role include:


Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below):

  • Branding/Marketing OR
  • Audit or Qualified Accountant experience OR
  • Risk/ Corporate Governance



  • Corporate Governance
  • Non-executive director/Trustee

Person specification

The trust seeks individuals with demonstrable experience in their field, at senior/board level in a medium or large organization.


Suitable candidates will understand the importance of building strong working relationships and will form a critical friendship with the executive team, which enables both challenge and support.


Ideally, candidates will understand the impact of governance on the quality of education and outcomes.


Time commitment

The trust board meets six times per year and meetings are held on Wednesdays starting at 6.00 p.m.  Meetings normally last up to 2 hours. The Board has two key subcommittees (Resources and Risk & Audit). These tend to meet on Wednesdays (Resources) and Mondays (Risk and Audit) at 6.00 p.m.  Resources Committee tend to meet roughly 2 weeks before the main board meeting; the Risk & Audit Committee meets less frequently – once per term. Trustees are invited to join a sub-committee depending on skills, interests and availability. Overall trustees are expected to dedicate up to 6 hours per month, on average.


Location of board meetings and trust website

Airedale Academy, Crewe Road, Airedale, WF10 3JU.


Governance structure


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. 


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: 10th January 2020