Non-Executive Director at Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST)

Job Title: Non-Executive Director at Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST)
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: Shefford
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: best
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: September 07, 2020 16:28

Job Description

Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST)

Bedfordshire Schools Trust seeks two non-executive directors to support the expansion and continual improvement of teaching and learning of over 4,500 pupils. Candidates with finance or change management and real estate/property experience are encouraged to apply. Board meetings are held in Shefford.

About the trust

Established in 2016, Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST) includes seven flourishing academies and two nurseries. Its mission is to 'grow the best in everyone', providing all-through education for children of 0-19 years old in the rural communities of Central Bedfordshire. Central Bedfordshire operates a three-tier education structure of lower (4-9 years old), middle (9-13 years old) and upper schools (13-18 years old). This system is not aligned to the national assessment framework and is not supported by BEST.

The BEST academies are: Samuel Whitbread Academy (upper), Robert Bloomfield Academy (middle), Etonbury Academy (extended secondary), St Christophers Academy (primary), Gothic Mede Academy (lower), Langford Village Academy (lower) and Gravenhurst Academy (lower). Of the seven schools in the trust, two are rated Outstanding by Ofsted, four are rated Good by Ofsted and one is rated Requires Improvement by Ofsted. On average, the trust experiences a relatively low level of deprivation with 5.5% of pupils eligible for free school meals.

The trust’s nurseries include BEST Nursery Shefford and BEST Nursery Arlesey. Additionally, the trust’s education provision comprises a teaching school: the BEST Teaching School. The trust aims to grow, with Lawnside Lower School joining this term and plans to build a new Free School – Pix Brook – as of September 2019.


Plans for the Future

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

  1. Continue to improve outcomes: Ofsted ratings for all BEST’s academies are borderline and need to be secured in order for pupil outcomes, progress and attainment to score consistently in the top 20% of the nation.
  2. Nurture positive community relationships: BEST aims to be regarded as a community enabler; a powerful force for school improvement and systematic change within the community.
  3. Deliver structural change: replacing the three-tier system in Central Bedfordshire will remove a significant barrier to school improvement. BEST aims to champion all-through (0-19 years old) education and the benefits of aligning with the national assessment framework.

Over the next five years, BEST aims to improve leadership at all levels, including governance and accountability. The trust aims to place greater emphasis on school Improvement and value added within centralised team and services. Additionally, the trust will deliver a considered, measured and effective growth strategy that overcomes current structural barriers to raising student outcomes.

Trust Ethos & Values

BEST’s mission is to grow the best in everyone. The trust believes in the importance of high expectations, hard work and the development of a community of schools where everyone strives to ‘be the best that they

can be’.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:



Roles 1-2 – 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 during a period of rapid growth and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and growth, and holding the CEO/CFO to account.

Person Specification

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)

  • CFO/ Finance
  • Growth Management
  • Real estate/Property

It is important to the trust that candidates are able to demonstrate a commitment to the role and are willing to approach this as a three year commitment. Candidates relatively local to the schools are encouraged.

Finance: the trust is interested in a candidate who is currently working or has recently worked in a banking, accountancy or finance office context and has a record of accomplishment of financial responsibility.

Growth Management & Real Estate/Property: the trust seeks a candidate with senior experience in sustainable growth management of multi-site organisations. Candidates must have expertise of infrastructure, estates and construction to support the expansion of the trust.

All candidates must be aware of a non-executive director’s legal, statutory and moral responsibilities. Once appointed, individuals must be able to attend regular meetings located at any of the BEST academies, including both evening and daytime meetings. The challenge of safeguarding our pupils is of great importance to BEST, therefore, all candidates must have a clear DBS check.

Time Commitment

6 meetings per academic year for the Full Board.  3 meeting per year held in Committee.  Board and Committee meetings are likely to be held on the same day.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

For more information on the trust, please see their website:

Board meetings are held at BEST House, Shefford Road, Shefford, SG17 5QS.

Governance Structure

For more information in regard to the board’s governance structure, please see:

Background on Academy Trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 73% of secondary schools and 29% 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 760 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: Friday 9 November 2018