Non-Executive Director x 1, Chair x 1

Salisbury, Wiltshire
14 Feb 2017
31 Mar 2017
Magna Learning Partnership
Specialist Area
HR function

Magna Learning Partnership (MLP)

Opening in April 2017, Magna Learning Partnership is a new multi-academy trust of three secondary schools in Salisbury. Anticipating immediate growth, the trust seeks to recruit two additional non-executive directors to its trust board, one of whom could be Chair of the Board. Joining at the start of the trust’s journey, both roles will provide strategic guidance direction and challenge as the trust sets out on its aims to achieve its ambitious development plans. Board meetings will be held in Salisbury.

About the trust Magna Learning Partnership (MLP) will formally open as a multi academy trust on 1st April 2017 with the three founding schools: - St Edmund’s Girls’ School, an existing 11-16 CofE academy for girls; and Wyvern College, an 11-16 voluntary aided CofE school for boys, who share a site in Laverstock, Salisbury; together with The Trafalgar School at Downton, a co-ed 11-16 foundation school, based about 8 miles south of Salisbury.




Performance at the schools is strong and improving and the trust’s vision is to improve and further develop the quality of educational provision across Salisbury and the surrounding villages for the benefit of all young people in the area. The vision is to become a cross-phase family of schools and to create a sustainable education partnership that through the achievements of its young people enhances the reputation of education across Salisbury.




Recently approved to become an academy sponsor, MLP is expecting that new schools will begin to join the trust from as early as September 2017, with a forecast growth rate of c.3-5 schools per year to 2020, to include primary phase, further secondary schools, post 16 and alternative provision units. Additionally, all three schools are experiencing rising numbers which is set to continue over the next 5 years.




Trust ethos & values Magna Learning Partnership has a common aim of working together and taking collective accountability for continuous school improvement through challenge, collaboration and support. MLP has an ethos built around compassion, commitment, respect and resilience, set against high ambitions and expectations for every learner to achieve their best. MLP values and remains committed to their comprehensive, inclusive and non-selective education. Valuing the distinctiveness in their partner schools, MLP will retain the mix of same-sex and co-ed school provision, with both faith and non-faith. schools


MLP seeks to become a network of schools in which every individual, staff member or student is developed to be the best they can possibly be, reaching out locally, nationally and globally to improve and share practice in order to create world class opportunities for its children, staff and community.




Plans for the Future Awarded academy sponsor status in January 2017, MLP anticipates welcoming both sponsored and converter schools to the trust in the next academic year from September 2017.  Its growth plans look both horizontally across to other secondary phase schools as well as vertically to both primary schools and post 16. A key challenge for the trust is to strengthen and further develop the capacity to grow at the pace required while maintaining the high standard of outcomes expected of all its students and driving forward a programme of improving the reputation of education across Salisbury.




A particular challenge will be ensuring that as further schools join the trust it is able to manage risk effectively, deliver improved outcomes and maintain compliance as it seeks to develop innovative solutions to further development. In parallel to new school growth, all three schools are experiencing a rise in student numbers which is set to continue for at least 5 years. Estate development projects are underway to support the early phase of this, but further capital development will be essential.




Managing the challenges of start-up and fast growth, against an economic environment of rising costs, and the essential need to ensure all its students achieve and exceed their potential, will necessitate expert planning of front-line curriculum delivery and support services, along with the recruitment and development of talented high calibre leaders. 




Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:  2

Role – Trustee/Non-Executive Director Essential


  • Corporate Governance
  • Change management
  • Strategic
  • Growth management
  • Branding/marketing
  • Restructuring / Mergers & Acquisitions



  • Succession Planning
  • Asset/estates management
  • Multi-academy-trust education leadership

  Person specification MLP seeks individuals with a track record of strategic leadership at a senior management level in business.  Given the size and scope of change, the expertise of change management within the board is essential and all trustees will need good strategic planning and monitoring skills. 




Strategic leadership and effective communication skills with experience of providing constructive challenge and critical insight are also desirable. MLP is also interested to hear from those with proven experience of leading or playing a key role on the board of a multi-academy-trust, or of turning around underperforming schools, that would bring additional educational expertise leadership and challenge to the trust board



In view of MLP’s mix of community and CofE schools, its commitment to a Christian ethos and British Values, the trust board is also interested in candidates who would meet the foundation status criteria – although this is not mandatory.



Time commitment The trust board will meet six or seven times per year according to a schedule which will be published a year in advance. Meetings are anticipated to last no longer than 2 hours.  Trustees are also expected to serve on one of the trust’s committees. Each committee will meet around four times a year, again with meetings lasting no longer than two hours.




Role – Chair of the Board Essential


  • Chair
  • Corporate strategic governance



  • HR/Performance management
  • CFO/Finance

  Person specification The trust requires a Chair with experience of corporate strategic governance and excellent skills in managing a board and a complex organisation. As well as:


  • the experience of chairing a corporate board in the charity, public or private sector, the ability to chair meetings effectively and to participate actively in group decision making; and
  • proven leadership experience to help guide the trust in a business-like manner through the challenges that lie ahead
  • flexibility and willingness to travel to the trust and its schools, attend meetings and support the trust as required.


MLP opens with three schools some 1700 students and a budget of over £11 million, set to grow at pace over the first year. The Chair will line manage the Executive Head Teacher, so will be skilled in performance management and able to hold the executive of a large educational organisation to account.



Trust Website

Governance Structure


Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 68% of secondary schools and 22% of primaries – and their number is growing all the time.

Many of these schools are grouped together as multi-academy trusts.  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.

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 don’t need to have any specialist knowledge of education. 


Academy Ambassadors is a non-profit organisation 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 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: 31st March 2017

Interviews: 26th April 2017