Non-Executive Director X 4

Job Title: Non-Executive Director X 4
Contract Type: Contract
Location: Bristol
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: CLF
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: April 09, 2019 14:04

Job Description

Cabot Learning Federation (CLF)


The Cabot Learning Federation is a multi-academy trust sponsored by Rolls Royce

PLC and The University of the West of England (UWE). The federation seeks three new trustees/non-executive directors and two members to strengthen its board and strategic oversight through a period of managed growth. Board meetings are held at CLF Institute, City Academy Bristol, Redfield, Bristol.


About the trust

The Cabot Learning Federation (CLF) is one of the most mature multi-academy trusts in the South West. The CLF was initially formed as a soft federation between John Cabot Academy and Bristol Brunel Academy in 2007. This went on to become a multi-academy trust in 2009 when Bristol Metropolitan Academy joined. Since 2011 the federation has grown to its current size of 17 academies, separated into three hubs across East Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Weston-super-Mare. The academies comprise eight primary schools, six mainstream secondaries, an all-through academy, a studio school and most recently, an alternative provision (AP) free school.


The CLF has a track record of taking on schools that require turnaround support. All the schools in the federation are located in challenging areas and it is the trust’s ambition to reach those most in need. Together, the 17 academies educate 9000 children between the ages of 3 and 19. There are plans for further growth with an additional academy due to join imminently.


The CLF became a Teaching School in 2011 and a Maths Hub in 2014, enabling the formation of the CLF Institute, an overarching hub for training and research. In September 2016 the CLF Institute opened the School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) provision to provide training and professional development for staff and support for school improvement within and beyond the federation.


Plans for the future

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

  1. Growth: To grow the trust into identified areas in line with the geographical cluster model whilst maintaining the leadership capacity required to ensure existing academies within the federation continue to improve.
  2. School Improvement: The educational performance of the federation has improved in recent years to come into line with national benchmarks, but has ambitions to be one of the most successful multi-academy trusts in the country in terms of pupil outcomes.
  3. Financial sustainability: to develop a strategy to generate increased revenue streams.

The CLF launched a 5-year plan, ‘Empowering Learning’, in October 2018. Details of the plan can be found on the Cabot Learning Federation website.

Trust ethos & values

The core purpose of the CLF is at the HEART of all they do (see image below).  The CLF vision is simple: “we believe that by working together rather than in isolation, we can accelerate school improvement and embed excellence in our academies. In doing so, together we can create more opportunities for the lifelong success for our students s they become young adults.”

See the CLF website for more details:



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.


Person specification

The CLF seeks two ambitious and enthusiastic individuals with the skills and experience to support and challenge the Board through a period of balanced and sustained growth. Ideal candidates will have a successful track record of managing growth and risk within a large, complex organisation and be comfortable driving change. The federation is looking for an experienced HR Director with a proven background in organisational design and development to provide strategic oversight to the Board, as well as a skilled auditor with an expert understanding of internal audit and managing financial controls. Directors will be expected to be a member of the relevant sub-committees.


Successful candidates will be committed to the vision and ethos. They will operate with integrity having an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of being a company director and charitable trustee. Directors will have a willingness to speak their mind exercising independent judgement to take decisions for the good of the Federation.


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)

  • HR
  • Audit
  • CFO/Finance



  • Change Management
  • Growth Management
  • Risk




Time commitment

5-8 hours per month minimum. The Board meets every six weeks, two meetings a year are held remotely. These meetings are held on weekdays between 4-6pm.


HR committee meetings are held three times a year and the Audit and Risk committee meetings 4-5 times a year.


Roles 3-4 – Member

Members sit above the trust board and meet only once or twice per year. The members are able to alter the federation’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.


Person specification

Members should have a good understanding of the role of governance in public life. This may have been gained in a wide range of senior leadership roles. They are likely to have previous experience in a non-executive director or trustee role. As Members are responsible for receiving the accounts of the trust, a strong financial understanding is important for at least one of the appointees.


The competencies required for this role include:



  • Corporate Governance
  • CFO/Finance



  • Risk
  • Legal/Compliance
  • Succession Planning
  • Change Management


Time commitment

0.5 hours per month minimum. Members only meet once or twice per year.


Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Cabot Learning Federation, CLF Institute, City Academy Bristol, Russell Town Avenue, Bristol, BS5 9JH.


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 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: 16th May 2019