Non-Executive Director X 2

Job Title: Non-Executive Director X 2
Contract Type: Temporary
Location: Ashton-under-Lyne
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: Great Academies Education Trust Jan 2020
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: January 06, 2020 15:22

Job Description

Great Academies Education Trust (GAET) is a multi-academy trust (MAT) based across Tameside and Rochdale in Greater Manchester, comprising three secondary academies – Copley Academy, Middleton Technology School and Great Academy Ashton - and one primary academy, Silver Springs Primary Academy.

The trust was originally sponsored by New Charter Group, a housing association that provides nearly 20,000 homes, mainly in Greater Manchester. The Group was part of a merger in 2018 and it was at the point that the MAT became a stand-alone trust.

The newly appointed Trust CEO is proving highly effective and a number of aspects of trust development has already been undertaken. The new Chair and Trustee will come into a fully supported role with systems and processes already in place.

The GAET Board comprises representatives with significant expertise in senior roles in business, finance and education, who have the capacity to hold the executive leaders and the academies of the trust to account for educational achievement and for a range of other measures that enable it to uphold the ethos of GAET. The trust has exercised prudent financial management and currently has a comfortable reserve on which to draw if necessary.

The Board of Directors holds overall and ultimate responsibility, not only for legislative compliance but also for attainment and progress. The central team comprises a school improvement arm, governance, finance and estates, ICT, HR support, payroll and legal.

Plans for the Future

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

Improving pupil outcomes at all of our schools. The trust is already seeing significant and sustained improvements in two academies, since the last inspections.
Improving the quality of leadership and management at all levels in order to build overall and sustainable capacity for further improvement. One school in particular has an entirely new senior leadership team; where the trust seeks to provide a sustained focus.
The MAT has decided to withhold any further growth/expansion until the desired improvements in its focus schools are realised. However the board and executive team intend that the trust has the capacity to expand within the next two years.

Trust Ethos & Values

Great Academies Education Trust will be a truly outstanding, outward facing multi-academy trust supporting its academies, from their starting points, to become outstanding schools. All students will make exceptional academic progress in all subjects and, regardless of age or stage, will be work and college ready.

For further information visit:

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 2

Role 1 – Chair

The Chair leads the board of non-executive directors, or trustees, managing its business while providing an element of leadership for the organisation as a whole. The role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team, most specifically the CEO. The Chair needs to ensure that the board is able to deal with problems and related proposals professionally, both in terms of the skills of the trustees and the way in which it conducts its business. S/he will have a key role to play in recruiting and inducting new trustees.

The Chair also provides strategic leadership and governance for the trust. They are responsible for the safeguarding and education of pupils, as well as for setting and monitoring performance benchmarks.

Person specification

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
  • CEO/Chair
  • Ability to build chemistry with the Exec and Board
  • Growth/Change Management
  • Time and ability to engage with the schools and management
  • Represent the organisation externally
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance
  • Financial Control and Risk Management
Role 2 – Trustee

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the multi-academy trust. Sitting as a trustee / non-executive director, the board works collectively with the trustees and CEO to:

  • Set strategic direction, oversee governance and scrutinise plans for growth;
  • Ensure financial stewardship and risk mitigation;
  • Improve the performance of the schools including the progress of their pupils;
  • Hold the CEO and executive team to account;

For this role the trust is seeking someone with significant experience of senior leadership/executive work and a proven track record in developing strong professional relationships whilst holding senior leaders to account.  Previous experience of working with a trust and a knowledge of corporate governance would be a distinct advantage, along with evidence of experience in strategic thinking and change management.knowledge of the current finance reporting and regulatory framework.

Person Specification

The competencies required for this role include:

  • CEO/General Management
  • Risk
  • Strategic
  • CFO/Finance - knowledge of financial reporting
  • Legal/ Compliance
  • Succession Planning
  • Growth Management
  • Corporate Governance

The ideal candidate will have a proven record in corporate governance and senior level experience from a medium/large organisation, such as CEO/MD.

The trust seeks an individual with a focus on sustainable growth and development of business support. The candidate should demonstrate a strong grasp of risk, the ability to deliver strategically, and make a significant contribution to strategy and organisational objectives.

Time Commitment

The Board currently meets 4 times per year and meetings tend to be held on Wednesdays at 6pm for up to 2 hours.  The Board also has subcommittees to oversee more detail on finance and educational outcomes and trustees are invited to join one of the subcommittees. Subcommittees tend to meet ahead of the Board meetings. A trustee taking the role of chair would also be expected to have regular contact with the CEO.

The trust will provide a programme of induction and there is an existing programme of regular training which can be accessed depending on need.

Trustees are expected to commit 4-6 hours per month on average.  A trustee taking the chair role might expect to spend 5-7 hours per month on average. 

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Board meetings are generally held at Cavendish 249, Cavendish Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 7AT or at one of the academies close by.

Governance Structure

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 74% of secondary schools and 31% 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 832 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.

“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 (2019)

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.