Non-executive director

Kings Cross, London (Greater)
11 Sep 2019
11 Oct 2019
Olive Academies (OA)
Job role
Contract type
Part time
Experience level

Olive Academies (OA)

Olive Academies is a three-academy alternative provision trust and seeks two non-executive directors and between two and four members. The trust supports children and young people who have experienced difficulty in learning in mainstream schools, are at risk of exclusion or have been premanently excluded and those who have special medical needs. Board meetings are held at The Gridiron Building 1 Pancras Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AG.

  About the trust

Olive Academies (OA) is a not-for-profit multi-academy trust, approved by the Department for Education. Established in 2013, it is one of the first academy sponsors specialising in alternative provision (AP) in England. OA's focus is on supporting young people who face challenges in mainstream education.

In June 2018, the trust has three academies in Thurrock, Havering and Suffolk. OA’s AP academies support children and young people aged between 7 and 16 who have experienced difficulty in learning for a variety of reasons: they may be permanently excluded from a mainstream school; have complex needs that prevent them from attending schools; or have been placed at one of the trust’s academies for a period of intervention work. OA also offer outreach support to pupils in mainstream schools who are at risk of exclusion, particularly children in primary settings.

Due to the transient nature of our pupil population, student numbers and pupil premium eligibility can vary throughout the year.  On average, there are 240 students accessing OA provision, 50-60% of which are eligible for pupil premium.  Around 70 FTE staff work within the trust and the overall budget in 2018/19 was £5.8m.

The trust has gained recognition for supporting schools in challenging circumstances and working towards sustainable improvement for the long term by focusing on delivering high quality teaching and learning to best support its pupils.  The academy in Thurrock has moved from special measures to a “good” OFSTED category.  The first OFSTED inspection in Havering judged the academy to be ‘requires improvement’ with leadership and management being recognised as ‘good’. The academy in Suffolk has not yet been inspected.

Plans for the future

The trust is planning to expand and needs the help of members and non-executive directors to plan strategically for the future. The trust is in discussion with the DfE about expansion in geographical areas close to current provisions and where the Trust has access to beneficial partners. The trust will consider potential opportunities that will add capacity and quality of delivery for the whole school community.  This may include mainstream schools.

The OA board recently articulated its strategic direction:

  • OA will continue to develop its academies to be centres of excellence where young people receive the best possible education and a curriculum that transforms their attitudes to learning and planning for their future
  • OA will use these centres of excellence to continue to share good practice and further develop academy-based programmes and projects 
  • OA will identify and develop sustainable ways in which it can grow, retain and develop OA leaders - this is a key priority for the trust
  • OA will be open to new opportunities, be that expanding current provision, working with new partners or exploring new provision in targeted areas.
  • Trust ethos & values

    Olive Academies supports children and young people who have experienced difficulty in learning in mainstream schools. The trust works with pupils who are at risk of exclusion, those who have been permanently excluded and those who have medical needs. The trust encourages partnership working with local mainstream schools and other local educational provision. Olive Academies’ values are articulated here -

    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 core functions of their role are: ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction; holding executive leaders to account for the educational and financial performance of a charitable company funded by the public purse.

    The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust in compliance with its charitable objects, company and charity law.

    In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

    Person specification

    Every trustee is expected to abide by the trust’s code of conduct and the seven principles of public life set out by Lord Nolan: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

    The Competency Framework for Governance (DfE) 2017 details the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for effective governance:

    The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

    Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)


    • Corporate Governance
    • Growth Management
    • Change Management
    • HR


    • Change Management
    • CEO/ General Management
    • Risk
    • Succession Planning
    • Growth Management

    Role 1 spec: Corporate governance and strategic leadership: an individual who can bring expertise in shaping the culture and governance within an organisation. Someone who can help focus the board’s capacity to strategically manage a complex trust such as OA as it expands and plans for the future.

    Role 2 spec: Change management/strategic HR: the trust seeks individuals with significant management experience to bring depth of knowledge, critical challenge and scrutiny to its board. Particular interest in individuals with a proven track record in the field of human resources and/or business growth.

    General HR skills are required to inform and guide the trust - a growing organisation where the academies are part of a group and not separate entities.

    Time commitment

    6 hours per month (minimum).

    Roles 3-5 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.

    Person specification

    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)


    • Corporate Governance
    • Legal/ Compliance
    • CFO/ Finance


    • CFO/ Finance
    • Qualified Accountant
    • Risk
    • Corporate Governance
    • IT/ Technology
    • Legal/ Compliance
    • Community Engagement Experience

    Candidates may have experience as a non-executive chair of a board, as a governance professional and of audits in a corporate or charity context linked to compliance and regulatory audits. They should be in senior legal practice, particularly at partner level with an expertise in corporate, charity and regulatory compliance.

    Time commitment

    1 hour per month (minimum).

    Location of board meetings and trust website

    Board meetings are currently held quarterly at 10.30am to 12.30 pm in The Gridiron Building, 1 St Pancras Square , London N1C 4AG.  There is an annual away day and an expectation to sit on either the Finance and Accounting or the Education Performance and Standards Committees which meet also quarterly. Trustees are encouraged to visit the academies.

    Governance structure

    Background on academy trusts

    Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 69% of secondary schools and 33% 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 900 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.

    “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 (2019)

    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 18th October 2019

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