Non-Executive Director X 1

Job Title: Non-Executive Director X 1
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: Swindon
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: The White Horse Federation
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: February 22, 2019 10:52

Job Description

The White Horse Federation (WHF)

The White Horse Federation (WHF) seeks a non-executive director to join the board of the largest multi-academy trust based in the South West Region. It is a diverse trust of 31 schools educating over 12,000 pupils with a £65m budget. WHF would welcome applicants with strategic finance expertise as the trust plans to grow to 40-50 schools within the next three years. Most board meetings are held in Swindon.

About the trust

Established in 2012, The White Horse Federation (WHF) is a multi-academy trust (MAT) which supports primary, secondary and special schools in the South West and South Central England. The trust currently educates in excess of 12,000 children, has over 2300 staff and a budget of more than £65m.

The trust has 31 schools located in three hubs: Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire (the latter reaching into Buckinghamshire and Berkshire). This is comprised of 5 secondary schools and 22 primary schools, plus 4 schools for pupils with special educational needs.

The WHF schools are based in both rural and urban areas across the three hubs and represent a broad and diverse community - socially, economical, ethnically and spiritually. As a result, more than 40 languages are spoken at The WHF academies and the Diocese of Salisbury is a corporate member of the Trust.  The WHF is committed to ensuring that the unique qualities of every school continues by working closely with their local communities, staff, children and parents to achieve their aims.

In October 2018 Ian Mean, Director of Business West Gloucestershire interviewed Dr Nick Capstick, CEO of The WHF and titled the published article: “Educational innovator working wonders in Swindon and Wiltshire.” To provide additional school improvement capacity The WHF works with the Swindon Teaching School Alliance which offers a range of professional development training courses for teachers and leaders as well as school-to-school support. Please see for more details.


Plans for the future

The key challenges for the board over the next 3 years are:

  1. To consolidate the multi academy trust (MAT) over the next 12 months then look to grow over the following 24-36 months to 40-50 schools across 3 hubs, with over 3,000 staff, 20,000 children and £90m budget.
  2. To make the organisation fit for future growth by restructuring to increase capacity to drive school improvement, over-turn an in-year deficit and secure long-term financial sustainability.
  3. To enhance the trust’s reputation by engaging with key stakeholders to:
  • Demonstrate a track record of turning around under-performing schools and sponsor additional schools in future
  • Make The WHF schools the first-choice preference for parents and fill capacity in each school
  • Become the employer of choice to attract and retain high quality staff.


Trust ethos & values

The White Horse Federation has the Little Green Book - a set of promises that as colleagues, they make to each other and to the organisation, for the ultimate benefit of the children and families that the schools serve. Please see the trust website:


Role summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 1

Role 1 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

The role of the non-executive director will be to drive school improvement by working in partnership with the Chair of Trustees, other trustees and the Executive Leadership Team to provide clarity of vision and strategic direction for the Federation. This can be broken down into three main areas: strategy, financial stewardship and educational performance. The trust also seeks an additional Member.

The competencies required for NED role 1 include:


  • CFO/Finance
  • Chartered Accountant


  • Change Management
  • Audit
  • Restructuring
  • Fundraising

Person specification

The Federation is looking for trustees who have strategic skills and experience as a chartered accountant or Finance Director. The trust is committed to developing a diverse board that represents the communities they serve and encourage applicants from all backgrounds.

Time commitment and location of board meetings

10 hours per month minimum with four board meetings a year. Most Board meetings are held on Mondays at 3.30pm in The White Horse Federation, Plymouth Street, Swindon, SN1 2LB but some travel around the hubs may be required.

Non-executive directors will also be expected to sit on one or more of the committees which also meet 4 times per year - please see governance structure below.

Governance structure

The governance structure is adapting to support the needs of the trust as it grows and a diagram can be found on P12 of the trustee pack provided by The WHF. For more information on 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 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 855 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:

Deadline for applications: Tuesday, 2nd April 2019.