Non executive director X 5

Job Title: Non executive director X 5
Location: Unknown
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: HEART Academies Trust
Contact Name: Academy Ambassadors
Contact Email:
Job Published: December 18, 2018 16:38

Job Description

HEART Academies Trust

HEART Academies Trust in Bedford seeks non-executive directors with expertise in either MAT governance, PR/external relations, change management or finance to join the board. Board meetings are held in Bedford.

About the trust

HEART Academies Trust currently includes one secondary school, Bedford Academy, and three partner primary schools, Cauldwell, Shackleton and Shortstown. Together they serve more than 2,500 pupils aged from 2 to 18 years. The local area has high levels of deprivation and a key aspect of the trust’s work is raising the aspirations of all the children and their families. The trust serves an ethnically, culturally and economically, diverse community with a high proportion of students having English as an additional language

The school system for this cluster of schools changed from three tier (Lower, Middle, Upper) to two tier (Primary and Secondary) in 2014 and as a result the schools faced significant growth at this time. Prior to 2014, when they were lower schools, the three primary schools were rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. The secondary school was last inspected in October 2015 and was also rated ‘good’.

HEART Academies Trust (the Multi Academy Trust, MAT) is sponsored by the Harpur Trust. Founded in 1566, the Harpur Trust owns four independent schools in Bedford, 25 sheltered housing apartments and provides more than £1m of grants to community projects in Bedford. Prior to the formation of the HEART Academies Trust, the Harpur Trust sponsored Bedford Academy. The Harpur Trust can nominate people to sit on the MAT trust board but these nominees should be in a minority. 

An attempt to restructure aspects of the MAT encountered a range of challenges and attracted some adverse media attention. Some leaders have chosen to leave and thus the MAT is going through a period of change. The MAT board is seeking people with skills and experience to resolve the remaining issues and help to make a real difference to the lives of the pupils and staff across the trust and fulfil the trust’s vision of developing strong schools at the heart of their communities.

Trust ethos & values

MOTTO: Value the dreams and aspirations of everyone in the community.

VALUES: High Expectations, Achievement, Respect and Trust

VISION: To create a family of academies who are at the heart of their community improving life chances for all, through challenge and support. 

Key Strategic Priorities

The key strategic priorities for the board over the next 12-24 months will be to achieve:

1.    Greater financial stability through the growth of the trust and the consequential benefits of attracting and retaining talent; sharing and pooling of common resources; and working more efficiently with greater amounts of expertise.

2.    Year on year improvement in student outcomes across all stages but in particular at primary (Key Stage 2)

3.    Greater educational consistency by providing a high-quality learning experience for all the trust’s students, irrespective of the school they attend, through enhanced curriculum development, values based leadership and increased collaboration.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: up to 5

Role of Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees/non-executive directors are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust and are all accountable for ensuring compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law. Trustees/non-executive directors set the strategic direction of the trust and are responsible for ensuring that the trust’s vision and values are being lived-out throughout the organisation, including in the classrooms. In managing the business of the trust, a key function of trustees/non-executive directors is to hold the executive team to account.

Role 1 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director – MAT Governance

Person specification

The trust seeks a non-executive director/trustee who will have understanding and knowledge of MAT governance best practice, process and expectations and be able to support the MAT in achieving its key objectives. 


-       MAT Governance experience

-       Organisational development/Change Management

-       Chair/Non-executive director

-       CEO/General Management


-       Growth management

The trust welcomes applicants who have experience of MAT governance, organisational development and community outreach, particularly in areas of deprivation. They will have a track record of successful Chair or CEO experience, bringing strong inter-personal skills, with an adaptive approach and strategic mindset. Additionally, they will be committed to the trust’s aim, vision and values.

Time commitment

Ordinarily 6 hours /month minimum. Termly sub-committee meetings and board meetings.  Additional meetings and school visits may be called where necessary based on the availability of the board members. 

Role 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director – PR / External Relations Background

Person specification

The trust seeks a non-executive director/trustee who understands PR and media relations and will oversee/advise on strategies to support the trust’s reputation and external relationship management. This role will be key in overseeing the trust’s community outreach in relation to the current period of change.  The competencies required for this role include:


-       PR / External Relations

-       Change Management

-       Branding


-       Chair/ Non-executive/ Trustee

-       Growth Management

The trust welcomes candidates with a strategic vision, ability to think creatively and have good, independent judgement. Drawing on the trust’s strategic objectives, candidates with PR expertise will support/advise trust staff to promote active management of issues and enhance the engagement with all stakeholders.

 Time commitment

Ordinarily 6 hours /month minimum. Termly sub-committee meetings and board meetings.  Additional meetings and school visits may be called where necessary based on the availability of the board members. 

Role 3 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director – Education Committee member

Person specification

The trust seeks a non-executive director/trustee who will join the main board and the Education Committee. They should have an understanding and knowledge of Ofsted process and expectations and be able to support the MAT in its growth plans, centralisation of services and the need for consistency of experience.


-       Education Leadership

-       Corporate governance

-       Change Management

-       Turnaround/School Improvement 


-       Non-executive/ Trustee

-       Growth Management

The trust welcomes an individual with strong background knowledge and experience particularly in Primary Education, education planning and delivery, particularly in areas of deprivation. The individual will be able to understand and challenge education outcomes and guide and inform decision-making at a strategic level. Knowledge of school performance at the secondary level is of interest.

Time commitment

Ordinarily 6 hours /month minimum. Termly sub-committee meetings and board meetings.  Additional meetings and school visits may be called where necessary based on the availability of the board members. 

Role 4 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director – Chair of Audit Committee

Person specification

The appointed non-executive director will take on the role of Chair of Audit Committee. They will need to understand and interpret risk management in all areas and will be confident in linking this into the trust’s strategic and operational planning. The Chair of the Audit Committee will need to have or develop knowledge of multi-academy trusts and academy finance and an understanding of risk within the context of MATs. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and potential growth, and holding the CEO/CFO to account.

The competencies required for this role include:


-       CFO/ Finance

-       Risk

-       Corporate Governance


-       Audit Committee Chair

-       Change Management

-       Growth Management 

The trust welcomes applicants who have strong experience of managing substantial risk registers across multiple sites, preferably with relevant professional qualifications. Individuals with a proven track record in influencing decision making are essential.

Time commitment

Ordinarily - 6 hours /month minimum. Termly sub-committee meetings and board meetings. Additional meetings and school visits may be called where necessary based on the availability of the board members.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at The Bedford Academy, Mile Road, Bedford, MK42 9TR.

Please see for more information

Governance structure

Please see for information on the trust’s governance. 

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 CVs and a short expression of interest detailing which role you are applying should be sent 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

Potential candidates are strongly recommended to express interest in this trust as early possible. Suitable candidates are likely to be interviewed before the deadline and may be appointed early. Consequently, the advert may close early if appointments are made ahead of the advertised closing date below.  Applicants should be aware of the following key dates in the recruitment process –

Deadline for applications: Friday 25th January 2019

Interviews – as soon as possible by mutual agreemen