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Role

Non-Executive Director & Chair of Finance

  • Location

    Prudhoe

  • Sector:

    Education

  • Contact:

    Academy Ambassadors

  • Contact email:

    academyambassadors@newschoolsnetwork.org

  • Role ref:

    Tyne Community Learning Trust

  • Published:

    28 days ago

  • Expiry date:

    25-10-2018

  • Client:

    Academy Ambassadors

Tyne Community Learning Trust is a new multi-academy trust (MAT) based in the Tyne Valley corridor, with nine schools providing education opportunities for students aged 3-18 years. The trust seeks an individual to Chair its finance committee, along with another individual possessing skill in risk and growth management. Board meetings are to be held at multiple locations, though Prudhoe Community High School will act as the main site for meetings and interviews.

About the trust

Tyne Community Learning Trust will be a new multi-academy trust (MAT) with a group of nine schools providing 3-18 education in a rural community, working together in a formal and recognised way to ensure the very best outcomes for all its learners. As the trust is in its formative stages, this is a wonderful opportunity for candidates to embrace and influence its strategic development and growth from the outset.

As a ‘mixed’ multi-academy trust with a common ethos for all-through education, the trust plans to build on the success and unique identity of each school to greatly enhance pastoral and curriculum transition between all stages.

The schools are the heart of the community and provide education for a significant proportion of learners. The trust believes that, with the current organisation of schools, it can work effectively with the community to provide a service which is highly valued, retains and attracts increasing numbers of learners and is sustainable.

All of the trust’s schools, bar one, are currently judged by Ofsted as ‘Good’ or better, with four schools rated ‘Outstanding’. Three schools have been inspected during the last academic year under the new framework; it is starting from a position of strength and has real ambition to be even better. The trust’s catchment areas take in the small town of Prudhoe with the surrounding semi-rural and rural communities of Ovingham, Stockfield and Wylam. The proportion of disadvantaged and SEN pupils is below average and almost all pupils are from White British backgrounds and speak English as their first language.

The nine schools involved include one Local Authority (LA)-maintained high school (13-18 years), two LA-maintained middle schools (9-13 years), five LA-maintained first schools (2/3-9 years) and one CofE Voluntary Controlled (VC) first school (3-9 years). All the first schools have nursery provision. The schools are all within a small geographical area; the maximum distance between any school being 20 minutes’ drive and ten miles apart. The schools teach approximately 2,200 learners, employ around 280 staff with 100 governors at local school level. The schools are from two neighbouring school pyramids; Hexham and Prudhoe.

Plans for the future

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

  1. Establish and shape the Board of Directors and ensure strong governance;
  2. Appoint the CEO and COO and define the scheme of delegation;
  3. Develop seamless curriculum, assessment and progression across the nine schools to provide an improved offer to all learners in order to increase pupils on roll especially aged 13-18;
  4. Implement centralised financial and business support systems across the trust to capitalise on economies of scale and streamline staffing structures in order to ensure MAT is sustainable;
  5. Develop trust-wide CPD programme and succession planning for all staff, especially teaching staff with the longer term intention of creating a Teaching School within the MAT.

Meeting these challenges will enable growth of the MAT by greater pupil retention and incorporation of more schools within three years, as well as developing a new structure for the governance of the MAT, with less than half the board positions coming from existing school governing bodies. Support and training for the Board of Directors to carry out strategic and corporate responsibilities is in place.

Trust ethos & values

The newly formed board will be instrumental in communicating the trust-wide ethos and values based upon those held by the individual schools with the aim to:

  • Retain and preserve the unique identity of the trust’s individual schools;
  • Ensure all learners in the trust make better-than-expected progress given their starting points;
  • Raise aspirations of all and prepare learners to be successful in a modern world.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:

2

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.

Non-executive directors will be 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/CFO to account.

Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential

  • Growth Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Risk

Desirable

  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Entrepreneur/Founder

The trust seeks an individual with strong working knowledge of corporate governance and growth management, commitment to education and welfare of young people – although prior experience in the education sector is not essential - ability to work as part of a team with independence of thought and sound judgement and experience of monitoring and evaluating performance in commercial or not-for-profit sectors. Experience of successfully growing a business is highly sought.

Time commitment

10 hours per month (minimum).

Role 2 – Chair of Finance

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.

The successful candidate is required to take on the role of Chair of the Finance Committee, including reporting to, and advising, the board on the current and forecast financial position and action required to ensure sustainability. Also have oversight of the implementation of new financial and audit systems across the MAT and development of financial forecasts for the MAT. Significant experience in the financial sector and expertise in financial governance is essential to this role.

The role will involve providing support to the CEO in setting the strategic direction of the trust, bringing experience and influence to the trust and chairing meetings effectively. Experience of corporate governance and leadership is therefore beneficial.

Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential

  • CFO/ Finance AND/OR
  • Audit AND
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance

Desirable

  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Chair
  • Strategic

The trust seeks a qualified accountant and/or auditor with experience of governance at board level. Experience of management of a complex organisation with multiple sites/subsidiaries and delivery of cost savings from economies of scale is essential. This individual should be able to work successfully as part of a team.

Time commitment

10 hours per month (minimum).

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 73% of secondary schools and 30% 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 775 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. 

Applications

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 academyambassadors@newschoolsnetwork.org. 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 www.academyambassadors.org.

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: Friday, 2nd November 2018