Non-Executive Director - The Howard Academy Trust (THAT)

Job Title: Non-Executive Director - The Howard Academy Trust (THAT)
Location: Kent
Salary: Volunteer
Reference: The Howard Academy Trust (THAT)
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: August 23, 2018 16:15

Job Description

The Howard Academy Trust (THAT)

The Howard Academy Trust is comprised of five academies and seeks three non-executive directors and two members to oversee the trust’s continual teaching and learning improvement. Board meetings are held in Rainham, Kent.

About the Trust

The Howard Academy Trust (THAT) currently consists of one secondary and four primary academies with nearly 2,670 pupils on roll aged 3 to 18 years and 410 staff. THAT was formed in 2015 and consisted of The Howard School, a large all boys 11-18 nonselective school in Medway judged Good by Ofsted. THAT was asked to sponsor Temple Mill Primary School, as it had been judged Inadequate by Ofsted. Subsequently, Deanwood, Thames View and Miers Court Primary Schools chose to convert and join the trust – all of which are judged as Good by Ofsted. 

The Howard Academy Trust’s key purpose is to provide targeted support to its academies and to achieve positive outcomes with high-quality teaching. The trust has extensive experience of school-to-school support and in school leadership. THAT is in the advanced stages of an application for conversion of a local secondary school in Medway and has applied to open a new secondary school in Thanet.

The Howard Academy Trust model for school improvement is based on gathering empirical evidence about a school’s attainment, achievement, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and the quality of leadership and behaviour. They use this as the starting point with Leaders and Governors to decide what needs to be improved, adapted and changed, to successfully deliver an improved quality and standard of education in all the schools. THAT reviews the quality of strategic planning that is in place to move a school on and what still needs to be addressed. They work with leaders to ensure that highly effective strategic planning is actioned, and that impact is measurable and rapid. The effectiveness of leadership is evaluated to acquire an accurate picture of where a school is currently.

THAT ensures that schools have accurate Self-Evaluation and a robust effective School Development Plan. They provide support in the construction of said documents.  Action plans are time-limited, detailed and have explicit measurable milestones. Information that is available relating to externally assessed outcomes is reviewed and informs the focus of school improvement. Previously held data on all pupils and groups is scrutinised, as is the current progress. THAT drills down by performance of groups such as disadvantaged, pupil premium, gender, prior attainment and SEND. They review how robust school data systems are in monitoring pupil performance and identifying gaps.  They also review the interventions and teaching strategies that are in place to close these gaps and evaluate their impact.

THAT has a holistic approach to school improvement and one of the trust schools leads on Research Learning Communities. It is the hub school for the South East area of the Chartered College of Teaching. THAT offers Leadership Coaching and facilitates leadership courses for its own trust schools and schools across Medway.  Overall, while the trust currently consists of one open secondary academy and four open primary academies, they have plans to expand with two secondary academies in the pipeline.

Plans for the Future

Three key challenges for your trust over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. Managing Growth – the overarching aim of the trust is to have 10-15 academies within the group.  Managing future growth requires the board to have the expertise to manage the vast expansion.
  2. Corporate Governance – a restructure of the Board of Directors has recently taken place.  The aim of the restructure was to ensure that all non-executive directors are impartial and can provide constructive challenge to the trust senior executive team. 
  3. Finances – the trust is currently operating a balanced budget, however there are significant challenges within the academy sector due to funding pressures. 

Future plans

The Howard Academy Trust has received approval from the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) to open a new secondary academy in Margate in 2020.  This will be a new purpose-built academy accommodating 180 students in each year group. This will be opened as part of a basic need project for the area. In addition, Medway University Technical College (UTC) will be sponsored by The Howard Academy Trust from October 2018.

Medway UTC requires significant support to improve outcomes, quality of teaching and learning and also faces significant pupil recruitment issues.  The trust has made strides in improving the school which has been recognized in recent monitoring visits.  A future challenge is to improve student numbers via effective and targeted marketing.

Trust Ethos & Values

The Howard Academy Trust strive for progress, excellence and positive change. The trust aims to create a close-knit family of Good and Outstanding schools through partnership, challenge, accountability and support within a cooperative framework.

The trust is truly inclusive and aims to establish the highest expectations for young people and all those who work with them. It is committed to enhancing the life chances of young people by improving their educational achievement.

THAT strives for excellence and aims to bring about transformational change where necessary in schools, while individual schools within the trust retain their unique and individual character.                                                                                                                                    

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:


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.

Person Specification

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential (either)

  • CFO/ Finance OR
  • Legal/Compliance OR
  • Education


  • HR
  • Strategic
  • Risk

Finance: the trust seeks an ACA qualified candidate with senior experience in finance and audit to oversee budgets across the multi-site organisation.  Experience can come from private practice or a corporate setting.

Legal/Compliance: the ideal candidate will have extensive experience in a legal setting – preferably a practising lawyer.  It would be advantageous for legal experience to be in property.

Education: the ideal candidate will have extensive experience in school improvement within a primary or secondary setting. The candidate will need to have a good understanding of school data.

As multiple non-executive directors are being recruited, each candidate will not necessarily have all of these competencies specified. Ideally, candidates will have board level experience within a not for profit organisation.

Time Commitment

10 hours per annum

Roles 4 & 5 – Member

A member is able to alter the trusts Articles of Association and appoint (or remove) trustees/directors where necessary. They provide independent oversight to the work of the board of trustees in order to ensure suitable accountability for its decision making and strategy. At THAT the members are expected to be signatories for the academy trust, to attend 2 meetings per year, and to add to the already broad skillset within the existing team of members.

Person Specification

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Strategic
  • Risk


  • Growth Management
  • Finance
  • HR

Individuals should possess a good understanding of one or more of the essential skills listed above. As two Members are being recruited, each candidate will not necessarily have all of these competencies. Ideally, they will have board level experience within a not for profit organisation.

Time Commitment

8 hours per annum.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

For more information on the trust please see their website:

Board meetings are held at The Howard Academy Trust, Derwent Way, Rainham, Kent, ME8 0BX. 

Governance Structure

For more information in regard to the trust’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 28th September 2018