Non-Executive Director - X 3

Job Title: Non-Executive Director - X 3
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: London
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: Hornbeam Academy Trust
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: December 20, 2018 14:05

Job Description

Hornbeam Academy Trust (HAT)

Hornbeam Academy Trust (HAT) in Walthamstow, London seeks two non-executive directors with Finance and Estates experience and a Member to join its board. The trust is currently made up of three Special Educational Needs (SEN) primary and secondary schools. Board meetings are held at Hornbeam Academy, Walthamstow, E17 5NT.

About the trust

The Hornbeam Academy Trust was formed in 2012 and is comprised of three Special Educational Needs (SEN) academies in Waltham Forest and Havering:

  • Hornbeam Academy (an amalgamation of Brookfield House School and William Morris School);
  • Ravensbourne School; and
  • Dycorts School

All of the schools in the trust at present are specialist provisions for pupils aged 2 to 19 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. There are approximately 450 pupils in total across the trust with each site having between 100 and 150 pupils each. The needs of the pupils vary a great deal but fall into the following broad categories of need:

  • Cognition and Learning
  • Physical and/or Sensory
  • Social, Emotional and/or Mental Health
  • Communication and Interaction

The academy trust is also commissioned to provide Hospital and Home Teaching Services in Waltham Forest. This includes a teaching centre on the site of Whipps Cross Hospital. It is proposed that the Trust submits a business case to the Department for Education to establish this provision as a separate school in the Trust.

In total, the trust now employs more than 350 people in various roles in the schools. It has its own HR department, finance department, administration and site teams. This year the trust will take over the running of its own payroll system, and are well underway with a project to bring catering in-house to improve the quality and value for money of meals for children and staff.

All of the schools have been in categories of concern by Ofsted in the past, but the trust has made systematic and rapid improvements to all of its schools. Hornbeam Academy and Dycorts are now judged good by Ofsted and Ravensbourne awaits its first inspection since becoming sponsored by Hornbeam Academy Trust.

The trust has a proven track record in transformation and ensuring rapid improvement for children, young people and their families. Hornbeam Academy Trust is an approved Department for Education sponsor for all types of schools. For more information, please see

Plans for the future

Hornbeam Academy Trust has ambitious plans for growth; aiming to grow to six schools over the next three years and to 10 schools over the next five years. The trust also has plans to open a free school in Essex for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties by September 2020, and plans to set up a new charitable trust to deliver high-quality adult provision for 19-25 year olds.

The trust is not restricting themselves exclusively to opening special schools and instead aims to build capacity to consider other options including mainstream schools. Similarly, they are keen to work with schools in other areas of the country and are exploring how to develop a sustainable hub model to allow them to do this safely and effectively.

As such, the priorities for Hornbeam Academy Trust will be to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of its board of trustees and for all its schools to be Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’. 

Trust ethos & values

The trust’s mission is to create a strong and reputable family of outstanding schools, which enables each child to reach his or her potential, and prepares them for the next steps in their life as independent and happy adults.

The trust’s vision includes establishing outstanding schools across the whole trust and maintaining strong, confident leadership at all levels - including governance and upholding a strong financial base to support their ambitious strategy. The trust’s values are:

  • Children and young people first
  • Excellence in all they do
  • Prioritising what happens in the classroom
  • No learner left behind
  • Staff are the trust’s most important and valuable resource

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:3

Roles 1 & 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Hornbeam Academy Trust non-executive directors are expected:

  • to work as a team;
  • to attend meetings and be prepared to contribute to discussions and commit to agreed actions;
  • to be respectful of the views of others and to be open to new ideas and thoughts;
  • to treat all confidential information confidentially;
  • to act with integrity, avoiding any personal conflicts of interest and complying with the trust’s Conflict of Interest policy
  • to develop a deep understanding of the vision and ethos of the trust and its academies and the roles played by all individuals in fulfilment of the trust’s mission;
  • understand the policies and procedures of the trust and how these flow down to the academies;
  • to support the trust in public and act as an ambassador of the trust and the academies;
  • to commit to training and skills development;
  • to be ready to ask questions;
  • to be focused on problem-solving and be ready to learn from past experiences.

Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Property / Estates or
  • Finance                                               


  • Risk
  • Change Management
  • Growth Management
  • IT/Technology

Finance: Whilst the Trust has an experienced and effective Chief Financial Officer (Director of Finance), the Trust wishes to strengthen its ability to be able to challenge and support the Executive Team. This is particularly important in the current financial climate, when costs are rising but budgets are cash flat. The ideal candidate will understand the need to develop and execute a clear growth strategy, and be able to offer an objective analysis of opportunities and risks. An ability to understand and promote new opportunities for income generation is strongly desired.

Property/Estates: The ideal candidate for this role will have experience of estates/property management across several sites.  An understanding of issues regarding land, property assets and related physical resources is advantageous as well as the ability to support the strategic and operational development of the property portfolio.

Time commitment

6-10 hours per month. There are four board meeting each year.

Role 3 – Member

The role of the Member is to provide independent oversight to the work of the main trust board to ensure accountability for decision-making and strategy. Members have a less ‘hands-on’ approach than trustees and meet less frequently. The members can alter the trust’s Articles of Association and appoint (or remove) trustees/directors where necessary. The competencies required for this role include:


  • Non-executive/Trustee


  • CEO/General Management
  • CFO/Finance
  • Corporate Governance

Person specification

The trust would welcome a range of business expertise in their Members.

Time commitment

1-2 meetings per year

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Hornbeam Academy, Walthamstow, E17 5NT.

Governance structure

Information on the board’s current structure can be found on the trust’s website -

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 70% of secondary schools and 25% of primaries – and their number is growing all the time.

Many of these schools are grouped together as multi-academy trusts.  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.

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 don’t need to have any specialist knowledge of education. 


Academy Ambassadors is a non-profit organisation 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: