Non- Executive Director x 2

Job Title: Non- Executive Director x 2
Contract Type: Temporary
Location: Woolpit
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: Thedwastre Education Trust
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: November 19, 2018 10:38

Job Description

Thedwastre Education Trust seeks to recruit two new non-executive directors/trustees to strengthen its board and improve education in rural Suffolk. Board meetings are held in Woolpit near Bury St Edmunds.

About the trust

Thedwastre Education Trust is a multi-academy trust (MAT) in Suffolk comprising four small, rural primary academies with approximately 700 pupils on roll. Thedwastre Education Trust is committed to providing a good education in rural communities and would welcome energetic and creative individuals to be part of this important mission. Providing the best education in rural villages is challenging but critical to improving opportunity, life-chances and the broader well-being of village and community life.

The school pupil intakes are stable and the immediate strategy is continued improvement and consolidation. However, there is a clear line of sight for growth in pupil numbers and therefore, this is an opportunity for a director with the vision to help shape the future of the trust and positively impact the opportunities for the pupils within the trust.

Thedwastre aims to grow in the next 12-18 months. The trust recruited three new Head Teachers in 2017, with passion and a desire to concentrate on educational standards, which the board is keen to support. A new CEO was also appointed in September 2018 to strengthen the business management of the trust.

Plans for the future

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

  1. Performance: consistent school improvement across all schools in the trust.
  2. Cross-MAT efficiency: building a more consistent, corporate identity and ways of working across the MAT, including cross-MAT central business systems.
  3. Partnerships: developing the ‘added-value’ of the MAT and improving the offer to schools in the local area.

Trust ethos & values

The trust’s four village primary schools work very closely together to use the talents within all trust schools for the benefit of its pupils. Thedwastre Education Trust’s ethos is one of close collaboration amongst the academies for the benefit of its children, staff and communities whilst retaining the identity of each individual academy within their respective villages.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:2

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 Directors 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

Successful applicants will be experienced business leaders and strategic planners, they will have the ability and determination to adapt and transfer their experience to an educational setting. They will have a willingness to devote time, an understanding of the legal duties and liabilities of trusteeship and the ability to challenge, evaluate and interpret information. All trustees are expected to play a strategic role in successfully affecting change. Successful applicants will have an eagerness to reflect and learn.

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
  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Change Management
  • HR


  • Corporate Governance
  • Strategic

CFO/Finance: Successful applicants will be responsible for budget oversight, scrutiny and challenge within the trust. Ideal candidates will be qualified accountants and will be expected to sit on the Finance and Audit Committee as well as the Trust Board. Previous experience of internal or external audit would be a distinct advantage. The trust works with a budget of £3.2m per annum.

Change Management/ HR: The ideal candidate for this role will have previous experience in business and change management and/or HR at an organizational level. They will support the board priorities outlined above and ensure that personnel are used effectively across the trust.

Time commitment

6-8 hours per month minimum.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at the Woolpit Institute, The Street, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30 9QH.

Trust website:

Governance structure

Please see:

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 775 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: 20th December