Non-Executive Director x 2

02 Mar 2017
02 Apr 2017
Salisbury Plain Academies (SPA)
Specialist Area
HR function

Salisbury Plain Academies (SPA)

Salisbury Plain Academies is a new multi-academy trust based in east Wiltshire which brings together an 11-19 secondary school, two primary schools and one infant school; all of which have strong links to both the local villages and military communities that they serve. The trust is looking for two non-executive directors/trustees to join them in this new venture, which will see the trust grow from 1000 pupils to 2000+ in just three years. Board meetings will take place in Durrington, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

About the Trust

The four schools that make up the Salisbury Plain Academies trust (Avon Valley College, Bulford St Leonard’s CoE Primary, Durrington All Saints CoE Infant School and Figheldean St Michael’s CoE Primary) worked closely together for two years in a pre-academy-conversion partnership before formally converting to academy status on 1st July 2016.  The schools are part of a unique community on Salisbury Plain where the students are from both the local villages and from, or associated with, military families.

The unique demographic mix means that each school operates with a high degree of family and pupil mobility, military pupil premium and children with a range of social, support and development needs. As a result, the schools provide a range of local services to the children and their families, including parent support advisors, counselling and educational psychology services, multi-agency forums and transition programmes. Traditionally, the schools have faced challenges with both varied academic performance and financial sustainability and the move into an academy Trust has been taken forward to drive improvements in both of these key areas.

Plans for the Future

Over the next three years, the schools will experience high turbulence and significant growth as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) re-basing programme brings families back into the area. Working closely with the MoD and the local authority, the schools are expecting pupil number growth from local demographic and military re-basing changes of around 100%. To support this growth, the group has just completed a four class extension at Bulford St Leonard’s primary school. The trust is also in the design phase for a six class extension and refurbishment plan at Avon Valley College and a new school build and relocation plan for St Michael’s primary school, required as the school grows from its current 80 pupils to a capacity of 420, and develops a new, integral 60 place nursery school.

In addition to managing the growth requirements, the schools are embarking upon a programme of school transformation and improvement – academically, socially and financially. Multi-academy trust status is recognised as being a key enabler to support the scale of development and improvement required in order to support the rapid growth in pupil numbers, achieve educational transformation, and secure financial sustainability. The pupil number growth also means significant change and increase to the staff headcount, and the revenue budget to around £9m per annum. A key challenge in the short term is managing the high degree of turbulence whilst troops and families relocate, managing challenging budgets during pupil turbulence and developing a MAT that meets the expectations of the returning families as well as those living locally. 

Additionally, the trust is exploring the potential of other local schools joining the group and in developing and strengthening other local partnerships. Managing growth and sustainable development will be critical for the group.

Trust ethos & Values

SPA’s primary objective is to provide an outstanding learning environment for the children and young people of the unique communities of Salisbury Plain – both for the children they have on roll now and for those predicted to join over the next few years. 

The partnership work across the trust allows the schools to work intensively together to enhance learning, raise aspirations and provide many more opportunities for their pupils, but it also makes certain that teachers across their schools work collaboratively to develop and sustain the best practice, explore more and many resources and support each other to ensure excellence in all of the SPA schools.

The trust’s core belief is that their children deserve the very best education, their families deserve to be part of the very best community and Salisbury Plain Academies’ aim is to provide exactly that. "Whole child, whole family." For a trust which comprises community foundation and church foundation schools, maintaining the Christian ethos of the church schools within the trust and the on-going excellent relationship with the Diocese is an important factor.

Over the immediate term, the trust’s leadership must deliver a programme of radical and rapid transformation and growth readiness. They are committed to making the tough decisions as well as the exciting ones, and their approach to partnership reflects this.

Role specification

Number of Positions Advertised:  2

Role Title(s):

  • Trustee/ Non-executive director- The potential exists for the right candidate(s) to lead one or more of the SPA trust board central committees

Role Summary:

The key purpose of the SPA trust board is to enable the CEO and the Senior Management Team to manage the trust and its schools in such a way as to achieve its core vision and objectives. They will help transform the education and well-being of students at the schools, support the Chief Executive and Principals to drive through a programme of educational improvement and services transformation, as well as managing extremely challenging budgets. 

For the SPA Trust board, this is achieved through:

  • Appointing and managing the performance of the CEO, and holding the CEO and sub-committees to account for the performance of the trust against the vision, strategic plan, academy improvement plan and the annual budget
  • Approving, scrutinising and monitoring the progress and impact of the SPA strategic plan, the annual budget; and determining, through advice from the CEO, the staff structure for SPA
  • Approve trust policies and procedures, establish sub-committees, including academy advisory boards, appointing their members and setting their terms of reference
  • Oversee the mitigation and resolution of business and finance risks of the trust and ensure that the Trust has a business interruption/continuity plan
  • Play an active role in supporting the CEO in growth planning and development of the trust and in supporting the strategic and local improvement of outcomes and community partnerships of the trust and at the schools

Person Specification

Salisbury Plain Academies is looking for two non-executive directors with exceptional business skills, to join its board and support the trust leadership in delivering improvement, growth and transformation across the schools.

The candidates are expected to have a strong interest in improving education outcomes and be able to support the Interim CEO and the schools to take forward the vision, school improvement plan and growth strategies to successful outcomes. Successful experience in managing a new or growing business, and/or driving sustainable efficiency and change programmes, and/or transforming outcomes of organisations, with an annual budget in excess of £10m, is highly desirable.

The board is keen for the new non-executive directors to join the board for the start of the new academic year in September 2017 at the latest. This is to ensure non-executive directors are part of the immediate growth planning, estates development and educational improvement plans.

The trust is keen to hear from business individuals from/with any of the following disciplines although is specifically looking for skills in project management and estates, construction or allied professions at this time, although applications from all interested candidates are welcome.   Candidates who would be keen to consider taking on the role of a Chair of one of the board committees would be particularly welcome.

Core Competencies:

  • CEO/ Strategic 
  • CFO/ Finance 
  • Entrepreneur/ Founder 
  • Change Management/ Business Turnaround 
  • Growth Management 
  • HR/ Restructuring  
  • Legal/ Compliance 
  • Real estate/ Property 
  • Risk / Audit

As a trust that includes church schools, a number of the board places are required to meet church foundation status. The trust is also interested in candidates who would meet such criteria, but this is not essential.

Time commitment

Board meetings are held six times a year. Additionally, the new non-executive director will be expected to sit on one of the board committees, which are required to meet at least three times a year.

Trust Website

Governance Structure

There are five Members of SPA. 

  • The Diocese of Salisbury is a corporate member
  • the Chair of the trust board
  • one member is required to have a military background or connection
  • one member is required to come from the local NHS
  • one member is required to meet foundation criteria

There are up to 10 Trustees/non-executive directors of SPA, of which

  • one is the CEO
  • at least one is required to have, or have been, a serving member of the British Armed Forces
  • 50% are required to meet foundation criteria
  • together they should bring strong experience of key business disciplines in the areas: - health, business, finance, HR, estates and legal, as well as in education

Each academy has an Academy Advisory Board, made up of up to seven academy representatives from the local community with the required skills and experience to support the individual academy. Each will include at least one parent, the academy principal, the CEO and be in keeping with the required foundation status of the respective school. The core function is to:-

  • enable strong leadership in teaching and learning
  • promote individual ethos of the academy
  • act as a conduit for concerns, recommendations and sharing success between local community and the trust

Background on academy Trusts

Academy schools are charities which run independently of local authority control and 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 fulfill 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: 7th April 2017  
Interviews: Will be arranged in discussion with candidates. Prior to the closing date, the Trust would welcome visits from interested candidates via an agreement with Academy Ambassadors.