Non-executive director X 3
Wade Deacon Trust
Wade Deacon Trust seeks to appoint three new non-executive directors to the board. There is an additional opportunity for a suitable candidate to work closely with the current chair with the potential to take the chair role at some stage.
The trust was created in 2013 with one school Wade Deacon High School, it has now evolved to eight schools, five of which have joined the trust in the past two years. The schools within the trust cover a tight geographical area and areas of high deprivation - Halton (three schools), Knowlsey (four schools) and Sefton (one school). Generally, outcomes across schools are improving but the trust has significant work to do to ensure further, rapid improvement. The trust is therefore undertaking curriculum and finance reviews to ensure that robust systems and sustainability is in place. Board meetings are held in the Widnes area.
About the trust
The trust serves a student population of over 5000. It comprises three high schools, one an all-through, three primaries. Yew Tree Primary includes a ‘specialist designated provision’ for 28 children with a range of complex needs including those with Autism and The Grange (a 3-16 all-through academy) includes specialist provision for children with speech and language difficulties. The rust also includes teaching school which provides support to a range of schools and academies in the area.
The ethos of the trust is total commitment to excellence with exceptional teaching and learning at the heart of everything it does. Every individual school has a voice - through the trust’s open and transparent governance - in the key decisions that affect each school. The trust acknowledges that each school that joins will be at a different stage on its journey and encourages applications from schools in all phases.
Wade Deacon Trust is focused upon improving life chances and social mobility for students and communities; schools joining the trust do so with the primary aim of improving each other through peer support, so that all can become excellent schools. The majority of its schools are at capacity or growing numbers however two schools need to increase admissions.
The CEO and trust board has high expectations to deliver the best quality educational experiences and outcomes for pupils at both primary and secondary level.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- Efficient and effective management of MAT/school finances, in challenging financial climate, whilst delivering a high quality offer of education provision for all pupils.
- Review and evolution of effective governance arrangements across trust and trust schools ensuring clear, strategic leadership, creating robust accountability, oversight and assurance for educational and financial performance. Ensuring the trust has a high-calibre board in place to provide independent scrutiny, support and challenge alongside suitable local governance structures.
- Ensuring it operate as an effective MAT, where schools work together to drive forward school improvement priorities so that the trust’s vision and values are delivered.
The trust has grown rapidly to eight schools and will go through a period of consolidation to ensure each school is improving and/or maintaining excellent standards for all its pupils. The trust is also reviewing the structures in all areas to ensure that its financial future is secure. Fresh challenge and support is required from the Board through a period of change with whilst maintaining a strong desire to provide an excellent offer of education for all.
Trust ethos & values
All children are entitled to an educational environment where individual abilities and talents are fully developed. The trust has made a commitment to develop personalised learning that engages every child, to achieve their full potential, attaining the highest possible standards. Its pupils will also develop an attitude of care, responsibility and respect towards others.
Role summary Number of positions advertised: 3 Roles 1-3 – Trustees/Non-Executive Directors
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 are 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.
There is the opportunity for one of the successful candidates to work alongside the current chair initially, with a view to potentially taking the chair role in the future. For this role the trust is seeking someone with significant experience of senior leadership/executive work and a proven track record in developing strong professional relationships whilst holding senior leaders to account. Previous expereince of working with a trust and a knowledge of corporate governance would be a distinct advantage, along with evidence of experience in strategic thinking and change management.
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)
- Change Management
- Corporate Governance
- CEO/General Management
- CFO/ Finance
- Growth Management
- Succession Planning
The trust seeks individuals to strategically guide effective change management to improve financial sustainability and education performance. The board will lead the effective evolution of trust and school governance.
Ideal candidates will be able to ‘see the bigger picture’ and guide the board in reviewing and setting clear objectives and outcomes that are monitored effectively and to this end will work closely with the newly appointed CEO to move the trust forward.
Experience and knowledge of corporate governance and expertise in the operations of board-level working are advantageous, along with a focus on sustainable growth and development of business support.
The full trust board meets four times a year (September (to review the previous summer’s exam results and then in December, March and July). The Audit Committee meets termly (normally, shortly before the standard Board meetings). There are plans to introduce a strategy/planning day for trustees, local governors and senior leaders which will be in the autumn term. Meetings generally run on Thursday mornings beginning at around 8-8:30 am but there may be some flexibility with new trustees joining the board: meetings tend to last up to 2 hours. With time to read papers and prepare for the meetings, occasional training and the potential for invitation to occasional special meetings (e.g. executive leaders performance management), trustees should be able to commit an average of 4-6 hours per month on average. This may be 5-7 hours per month (on average) for a candidate who is interested in taking the chair role at some stage.
Location of board meetings and trust website
Wade Deacon High School, Birchfield Road, Widnes, WA8 7TD
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 www.academyambassadors.org.
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: 29th March 2019