Non-Executive Director x 1

15 Mar 2017
07 Apr 2017
South Essex Academy Trust
Specialist Area
HR function

South Essex Academy Trust (SEAT)

The South Essex Academy Trust is a family of schools that aims to help children and staff to flourish through partnership and collaboration, building on the strengths of each academy. With plans to grow, the trust seeks to recruit a non-executive director with HR expertise. Board meetings are held at Westwood Academy, Hadleigh, Benfleet, SS7 2SE.

About the trust

Governance for the Trust and all its academies is undertaken by the Board of Directors, chaired by Mike Simmonds, with Simon Harbrow as Executive Headteacher. He is an experienced headteacher who most recently turned around the lead academy from Unsatisfactory to Good in three years.  He is also an Ofsted Inspector.

The Trust currently is constituted of four schools but will grow to at least six during 2016/17. Two schools are one form entry and the others are two form entry. Headteachers meet weekly to enable the development of the preferred model where eventually 80% of academy practices are uniform across the trust.

A Parent Consultative Group is established in each academy rather than having local governing bodies.

From September 2016 the Trust operates a single budget with a Finance Team and HR team providing central services.

Trust ethos & Values

South Essex Academy Trust believes in and is committed to:


Interdependence whenever it will benefit everyone


Embracing new ways of working that benefits everyone


Committed to the best outcomes for everyone


Open to the views and needs of everyone

Plans for the Future

The Trust immediate objectives are to:

  • Grow to six schools
  • Consolidate the central services and budget processes
  • Maintain and improve the ‘good’ Ofsted rating in two academies
  • Improve and achieve a ‘good’ Ofsted rating in the other two academies
  • Develop a CPD programme for all staff Including whole trust INSET
  • Increase the frequency of teacher groups meeting for support and developments

Role specification

Number of Positions Advertised: 


Role Title(s):

Non-Executive director with a HR background

Role Summary:

The HR non-executive Director provides support for and monitoring of the work of the HR team reporting to directors at board meetings (four meetings a year minimum), and contributing to the budget setting process.  These meetings are held at Westwood Academy, Hadleigh).

He or she is also expected to attend and participate in as many board meetings that have a focus on the governance of individual academies (seven meetings) where time commitments are feasible.  The meetings are held at the academies.

All meetings are held in the daytime.

Person Specification

  • working or recently worked in managing a staff team or HR office context
  • successful track record of management responsibility
  • ability to understand and lead on the full range of HR issues,
  • excellent people skills
  • strong maths skills
  • sound IT skills
  • an analytical, enquiring mind
  • good problem solving skills
  • strategic planning
  • commitment to supporting and improving education

Core Competencies:

[* desirable]

  • Chair of committee*
  • General Management
  • Human Resources Management/Expertise
  • Non-executive Trustee
  • Corporate Governance*
  • Legal/ Compliance*
  • Restructuring
  • Risk
  • Strategic
  • Succession Planning

Time commitment

Flexible according to availability and need – approximately two days a month (negotiable).

Governance Structure


Current board/ Non-executives

Mike Simmonds (Chair of Trust)

Governance consultant for Dioceses of St Albans and Chelmsford and two Multi Academy Trusts.  30 years’ experience as CoG at various primaries. Former Chair of teaching & learning committee at a secondary school for four years. IEB chair.

Simon Harbrow

Executive Principal and CEO. Three primary school headships since 2002, taking all to a Good Ofsted rating. Governor for 20 years. Previously seconded to Essex CC at 0.5 FTE to support schools causing concern. Current Lead OFSTED Inspector and Exe Headteacher of the Trust.

Tosca Boothman – HR, SEN and Safeguarding Director

Independent Governance Consultant, working across schools in Southend, Essex and Hertfordshire.  Has been a Governor for 12 years at an Infants School (academy convertor), four of which as COG.  Wealth of experience serving on numerous IEB’s across Essex.  Vice Chair of Essex School Governors’ Association and member of the South Essex Children’s Partnership Board.

Jeffrey Gritzman– (being appointed ) Finance Director

Former managing director of his own publishing company.  Serves as a trustee of Intercountry Adoption Centre.

Vanessa Van Blerk – Health & Safety and Premises Director

Recently Chair of Westwood Academy LGB, Property and facilities management for the past 20 years. Working for high street retailers and corporate investment landlords. Working knowledge of Health and safety. Member of Westwood Academy local governing body for the last 4 years becoming Chair in 2015.

Crystal Wiggs – Education and Standards Director

Qualified teacher since 2003 with experience of teaching nursery to year 6.

Governor at various schools since 2004. Significant leadership experience across Essex, Southend and the London borough of Brent including completing the NPQH, being a Deputy Headteacher, head of school, headteacher and undertaking a secondment for Essex as an advisory headteacher. Strategic experience including a full workforce restructure, reconstitution of governors and budget setting. Governor, Company director and serving leader in and outstanding school with responsibility for teaching and learning, assessment and inclusion. Parent of a pupil at Westwood Academy.

Dominic Carver – Education and Standards Director

Headteacher of South Benfleet Primary Academy. Ofsted inspector. 20 years’ governance experience.

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 66% of secondary schools and 19% 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. 


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.  You will be asked to complete a South Essex Academy Trust Job Application form prior as part of the recruitment process.

Key dates

Applicants should be aware of the following key dates in the recruitment process –

Deadline for applications:  7th April 2017

Interviews:    TBC