Non-Executive Director

Croydon (London Borough), London (Greater)
11 May 2017
30 Jun 2017
The Synaptic Trust
Specialist Area
HR function

The Synaptic Trust

The Synaptic Trust is an innovative multi-academy trust based in Croydon comprising four primary schools and one children’s centre. With plans to grow, the trust seeks one new board member with experience of strategic and business management as well as branding and marketing. Board meetings are held at West Thornton Academy, Rosecourt Road, Croydon, CR0 3BS.


About the trust

The Synaptic Trust is comprised of four primary schools and one children’s centre. All of the current academies in The Synaptic Trust are within Croydon and draw children from areas with some of the highest levels of deprivation. On average our schools have 47% of our pupils entitled to free school meals (the national average is 25%) and 45% of our pupils have English as an Additional Language. Our schools are ethnically very diverse. Schools experience a high degree of pupil turnover as migrant and local families are relocated across London and sometimes beyond.

The trust formed in 2013 when West Thornton Primary Academy converted to academy status and joined with Forest Academy to form a multi-academy trust (MAT). West Thornton Primary Academy is rated outstanding by Ofsted and Forest Academy is now rated good with outstanding leadership and management. This improvement in Forest Academy was achieved within two years of being part of the Trust. The trust gained sponsor status in 2014 and has since sponsored the conversion of The South Norwood Academy. In 2016 the trust was joined by The Woodside Academy and Shirley Children's Centre.

The CEO of the trust is a national leader of education (NLE) and the current Chair is a national leader of governance (NLG). We have 2800 children within the trust. Each academy has its own governing body, Head of School and senior team. We strongly believe in the importance of growing and developing our staff to become future leaders. Continuing Professional Development is a major priority and we are fortunate to have a Teaching School based at West Thornton Academy. The Heads of School meet regularly with the CEO and agree executive decisions enabling consistency in approach and a sharing of good practice. Leadership and management (which includes governance) has been graded as outstanding in both Forest Academy and West Thornton Academy.

The trust encourages innovative and unique teaching methods such as outdoor learning and the effective use of technology. It believes all schools should be free to follow their own approach to learning. The schools’ uniqueness and different strengths ensure that their communities grow and prosper and they have opportunities to support and learn from each other. Small groups of staff from across the trust come together to plan, share good practice and monitor progress in different subject areas. A good example is the Maths Group which has worked to improve pupil’s outcomes this year with the assistance of an external consultant. The CEO and Heads of School monitor teaching and learning regularly providing reports to the board of directors. The board also invites Chairs of Governors and their Heads of School to make a presentation on the progress being made in their academy at least once a year.


Trust ethos & values

The trust is a learning community that creates chances for dreamers, idea makers and innovators to connect, thrive and outperform. It empowers children to use their skills as divergent thinkers, responsible role models and leaders to carve out their own futures and become extraordinary citizens.


Plans for the Future

The trust needs to reconstitute the board of directors and the governing bodies of two of its academies as they come to the end of their first four-year period of office. This has given us the opportunity to look at these boards and strengthen them further. The trust has ambitions to grow to six schools by 2019. The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:

  • Improving children's outcomes so that all of the schools in the trust become at least good to outstanding.
  • Growing the trust and building the skill sets within the trust to give it the capacity to do this effectively.

Developing the governance across the trust so that it is fit for purpose, strategic in its actions and able to provide challenge to the schools to become outstanding.


Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 



Role 1 – Trustee/ Non-executive Director

Non-Executive Director



-        Non-Executive Director/ Trustee

-        Branding/marketing

-        HR


-        Branding/ Marketing

-        Strategic

-        Growth Management


Person specification

The trust would like to recruit someone with experience of strategic and business management including branding and marketing. They do not have a definite skill set requirement but are looking for a person who will be keen and committed to the vision of the trust. The trust is also committed to diversity in its board membership.


Time commitment

Six hours per month. With eight board meetings and two committee meetings a year.


Trust Website


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 23% 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 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 30th June 2017