Non-Executive Director X 2

Job Title: Non-Executive Director X 2
Contract Type: Temporary
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Salary: Unpaid/Voluntary
Reference: SMART Multi-Academy Trust
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: October 04, 2018 15:55

Job Description

SMART Multi Academy Trust seeks two new Members and trustees as it progresses and maintains its mission of delivering the best educational opportunities and experiences for all its children, regardless of background or disadvantage. Board meetings are held at Wyndham Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne.

About the trust

SMART Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) has been in operation since 2016; as a group of eight primary schools in the North West of Newcastle, it comprises Cheviot, Farne, Kenton Bar, Kingston Park, Mountfield, North Fawdon, Stocksfield Avenue, and Wyndham.

These schools were formerly in a federated trust, sharing their collective vision for excellence in education. The schools decided to deepen its partnership by forming a multi-academy trust from the 1st November 2016.

The SMART MAT’s pupils come from a very wide range of social and economic backgrounds and cultural heritage. The trust sees this as its strength and celebrates diversity while striving to ensure that it meets the academic and personal development needs of every child.

The schools within the SMART MAT work collaboratively sharing expertise, developing innovative approaches to a curriculum that are stimulating and motivating children to love learning. It is enabling the children to develop together within its safe, vibrant and nurturing school communities. The partnership working goes beyond the SMART MAT – as an outward-looking organisation, it seeks to learn from others as well as share its own good practice and expertise.

SMART MAT is planning to grow and support other schools that share its vision to develop practices and to benefit from the wide range of expertise across the MAT.

Plans for the future

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

  1. To ensure that teaching is consistently Good and Outstanding in all of its schools so that all pupils reach their full potential from their individual starting points, including those who are disadvantaged or who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.
  2. To ensure that the systems and structures already successfully in place for effective governance, finance and accounting functions continue working successfully and are easily transferable to other schools who may join SMART MAT.

The SMART MAT plans to expand within the next three years, bringing its pupil numbers beyond 3,000 and accessing capital funding. It plans to incorporate secondary provision to the trust in the future.

Trust ethos & values

The SMART’s vision is to provide the best educational opportunities and experiences for all its children. It knows that education provides the gateway for children to become valued, caring and responsible citizens within democratic British society. More information on the trust’s ethos and mission statement is available here: 

Role summary

Number of positions advertised:


Roles 1 & 2 – 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 SMART MAT the members are expected to be signatories for the academy trust, to attend three meetings 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:


  • Corporate Governance
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Strategic


  • CEO/ General Management
  • Entrepreneur/ Founder

The trust seeks individuals with an extensive and demonstrable background in corporate governance, with strategic vision and knowledge of the role of a non-executive director.  

A good communicator committed to attending Members’ meetings, the ideal candidate will be an individual with good business acumen, as well as experience of working within a charity or non-profit environment, preferably at board level. An interest in education and an awareness of current educational priorities would also be advantageous but not essential.

Time commitment

Three meeting per year/ minimum

Roles 3 & 4 – 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 during a period of rapid growth and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and growth and holding the CEO/CFO to account.

Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Corporate Governance
  • Change Management
  • Risk
  • Strategic


  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Legal compliance
  • Finance
  • CEO/ General Management

The SMART MAT is looking for non-executive directors (‘trustees’) to further develop the board’s capacity in general governance and setting the strategic vision of the trust as a successful business enterprise. Candidates will be required to demonstrate a willingness to challenge school leaders and local school governance as the SMART MAT continues to manage change in the interests of the pupils in the schools to secure the best possible outcomes for all. Developing links with the wider business community will be an important aspect of the board moving forward.

Candidates with a proven track record in corporate governance and managing change is essential. Skills in developing links with the wider business community would be welcome.

Time commitment

Six board meetings per year with a further three meetings per year as part of a sub-committee involvement: either the Finance and Audit Committee or Performance and Curriculum Committee. 

Location of board meetings and trust website

Trust board meetings are held at Wyndham Primary School, Montagu Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 4SB. 

Governance structure 

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 73% of secondary schools and 30% 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: Friday, November 9th  2018