Non-Executive Director X 3

Job Title: Non-Executive Director X 3
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: North Yorkshire
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: Northern Star Academies Trust (NSAT)
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: February 22, 2019 11:03

Job Description

Northern Star Academies Trust (NSAT)

Northern Star Academies Trust is a six-school multi-academy trust (MAT) located in North Yorkshire. A seventh school will soon join the trust and the board seeks to recruit a Member and two trustees to its respective bodies as it looks to strengthen governance arrangements. Board meetings are held at multiple locations in North Yorkshire.

About the trust

Northern Star Academies Trust (NSAT) is a ‘mission driven’ organisation, focused on inspiring and supporting learners of all ages to fulfil their potential and better the world.

The multi-academy trust (MAT) was formed in April 2015 by two ‘founder’ schools working together to form the trust structure. The Northern Star approach is to develop strong schools, able to serve the local communities by setting high expectations and standards of excellence.

NSAT is cross-phase multi-academy trust educating c.3,000 children and young people from two years to 18 years. It currently comprises c.300 teachers and associate staff across the six NSAT schools and also lead a Teaching School Alliance and School Centred Initial Teacher Training (for both secondary and primary).

Each school in the trust is unique and differences are celebrated, as the trust seeks to encourage the special qualities that each school offers.

The trust operates around a geographical hub model that shares collective responsibility for the educational outcomes of children across the regions of Skipton/Craven, Harrogate and Keighley. At the same time, the trust recognises that the important ‘operational service’ functions of its schools can be effectively delivered centrally.

The trust has additionally worked hard to develop a school improvement central function that acts to both support and challenge its schools.

One of NSAT’s secondary schools is a co-ed Comprehensive and one is a selective girls Grammar

School; both have Sixth Form provision. All four primary schools are community schools and three of the

four have Nursery school provision; one of the four provides two year old provision.

The trust is furthermore sponsoring its first primary school (Ofsted-assessed as ‘Special Measures’), which will convert to become an academy and join NSAT by Easter 2019.


Plans for the future

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

  1. Growth – ensuring safeguards and monitoring are in place to allow the trust to grow at an appropriate pace, allowing for development of services and effective delivery;
  2. Financial efficiency – managing the challenges of changes in funding, including the impact of the loss of services to support Child Protection and Safeguarding, Special Educational Needs (SEN), counselling and pastoral support.
  3. Educational outcomes – ensuring continuing high performance across all schools in the trust.

The trust operates a rigorous and challenging MAT development plan, containing focused strategic priorities. Over the longer term, the trust has future plans around the development of its growth strategy through the ‘hub’ mechanism, allowing for the building of leadership capacity across the organisation as a whole.


Trust ethos & values

The trust’s mission is ‘to inspire and support learners of all ages to fulfil their potential and better the



More information is available on the NSAT website, under the ‘Vision and Values’ section:


Role summary

Number of positions advertised:


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 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.

Non-executive directors will be responsible for maintaining stability and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and potential growth, and holding the CEO/CFO to account.

Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:


  • CFO/ Finance
  • Audit
  • Legal/ Compliance
  • Risk
  • Corporate Governance


  • Change Management
  • Entrepreneur/ Founder

NSAT seeks up to two individuals with proven track records in managing growth and the risks inherent in this, with particular reference to a medium or large organisation. Experience in helping to lead, and deliver, an organisation’s strategic vision, including holding senior executives to account, is vital. The trust would welcome an application from at least one candidate possessing a financial qualification to help bring additional scrutiny to its accounting. While it is recognised that candidates may possess skills from a breadth of key business areas, it is also acknowledged that not all candidates will possess all of the ‘essential’ skills.

Knowledge of, and willingness to adhere to the Nolan Principles of Public Life is essential.

Time commitment

The NSAT trust board meets once per half term, typically on Fridays, from 12noon – 4.30pm. Trustees are requested to attend up to two additional meetings beyond this schedule.

Role 3 – Member

A Member is able to alter the trust’s 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 Northern Star Academies Trust the members are expected to be signatories for the academy trust, to attend one meeting 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:


  • Chair
  • Corporate Governance
  • Non-executive/ Trustee


  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Change Management
  • CFO/ Finance
  • Risk
  • Legal/ Compliance

Members are required to hold the trustees to account and as such, experience of trustee/non-executive directorship is essential. Additionally, strong grasp of corporate governance is required to allow the successful candidate to execute duties fully.

An individual with some legal experience is highly desirable – ideally, a candidate with experience of the corporate world, with a demonstrable track record of effective leadership in business will be appointed.

Time commitment

One meeting per year – lasting approximately two hours. Currently meetings are held in Harrogate, Skipton or Keighley.

Trust website

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.

“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, 12th April 2018