Non executive director X 3

Job Title: Non executive director X 3
Contract Type: Contract
Location: London
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: Challenger Multi Academy Trust
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: December 14, 2018 16:53

Job Description

Challenger Multi Academy Trust (CMAT)

Challenger Multi Academy Trust seeks three new Trustees/ Non-Executive Directors with a range of experience, in particular but not exclusive to Finance, Real Estate/Property or HR to strengthen its board. Board meetings are mainly held in central London but occasional meetings are held in Bedford.

About the trust

Challenger Multi Academy Trust (CMAT) was formed in 2014 when Challenger Trust, a charity working to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people, became a sponsor of a group of schools. The trust has since taken on a number of primary and secondary schools and has developed a unique character curriculum, ‘The Challenger Diploma’, that is the basis of all its schools. The Challenger Diploma is in addition to the routine curriculum and focusses on developing the ‘whole person’, therefore better preparing young people for their future lives.

With four primary schools and three secondary schools situated within two regions, Bedfordshire and South East Essex, CMAT’s vision is to build a collaborative partnership of schools that will provide outstanding educational provision both in and outside the classroom through challenge and promoting excellence.

The trust has taken schools that faced many challenges themselves, not least local reorganisation with some moving from a 3-tier (with Lower, Middle and High schools) to a 2-tier system (primary and secondary). Consequently, the trust is facing the financial challenge of managing excess assets and developing and improving existing ones. As a community of schools, the trust also seeks to set a sustainable course for future growth. As a result, CMAT is looking for three creative and enthusiastic individuals to strengthen its board going forward.

Plans for the future

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

  1. To dispose of excess trust assets and develop existing ones appropriately. With small schools and excessive land and buildings to maintain, the upkeep of certain assets is proving financially unsustainable. (Note: the trust is working constructively with the Department for Education on this).
  2. Revising the curriculum and approach to improve outcomes at a faster pace.
  3. To develop a sustainable financial plan, balancing the budgets of all seven schools and maintaining a surplus in future years.

CMAT looks to be in a position to grow either by attracting other schools to join or by merging with another trust. The role of the trust board over the next 12-24 months, will be to provide support, oversight and scrutiny, to ensure the above challenges are completed.

Trust ethos & values

CMAT’s central focus is on ‘character attributes’ in all aspects of its curriculum, giving equal weight to these attributes as to academic learning. The trust celebrates diversity, welcoming pupils from all backgrounds and works to provide them with a comprehensive range of learning opportunities that will be personalised to each individual. CMAT schools do this by drawing on the principles and practice of ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ (LOtC) and models of ‘Engaging Schools’. The trust motto is Embrace Challenge, Expect Excellence.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:3

Roles 1-3 – 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.

Person specification

The trust seeks candidates with Finance, Real Estate/Property or HR experience but welcomes applications from candidates with at least one of the skills listed in the ‘essential’ column below.

  • The successful ‘finance’ candidate will have a strong financial background, preferably a formally qualified accountant with experience of financial modelling, audit processes and an understanding of corporate governance.
  • Ideal candidates with ‘property’ skills are likely to have had previous experience of managing a multi-site organisation. They will have a strong background in property and facilities management, health and safety matters and project management.
  • An ideal candidate with an HR background (preferably at Director level) will oversee the HR operations of the trust providing challenge and insight as necessary. Candidates will have a solid understanding of the legal processes that underpin HR functions; this is essential. With the possibility of growth in the trust, experience of risk and change management are desirable.
  • Experienced business leaders and strategic planners, are encouraged to apply and 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 effecting change.
  • A good understanding of IT systems would also be an advantage.

Candidates will have skills in one or more of the following areas:


  • CFO/ Finance OR
  • Real estate/Property OR
  • HR OR
  • Risk Management OR
  • Corporate Governance OR
  • Legal/Compliance


  • IT
  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Branding/Marketing
  • Entrepreneur/Founder
  • Change Management

Time commitment

The Board meets around 8 times per year (often monthly during term times). Meetings tend to be in central London with occasional meetings in Bedford. Meetings usually start with lunch at noon and run until 3 pm. Finance meetings are held occasionally for invited trustees and run from 10am to noon.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at The Abbey Centre, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BU and Kemptson Challenger Academy, Bedford, MK42 7EB.

Trust website:

Governance structure

For information, 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: 8th February 2019