Non-Executive Director

18 May 2017
20 Jun 2017
GEP (Guilford Education Partnership)
Specialist Area
HR function

Guildford Education Partnership (GEP)

With ambitious plans for growth, Guildford Education Partnership seeks to recruit a non-executive director who will have the business acumen to drive the board forward during this period of expansion. Trust board meetings will be held at George Abbot School, Woodruff Ave, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 1XX.  

About the trust

Based in South West Surrey, Guildford Education Partnership (GEP) is a multi-academy trust (MAT) comprised of seven schools - three secondary phase and four primary phase. Six of the seven academies have had positive Ofsted inspections with one school classed Outstanding. The one remaining school is currently rated as Inadequate by Ofsted and is a priority area for the trust. The partnership has established a Teaching School Alliance based at its lead academy; the George Abbot School. The trust maintains good links with the local authority which supports the trust and its schools.

Trust ethos & values

All of GEP’s academies are unique and serve unique communities. However, collaboration is a key value of the trust. Each academy within the trust is encouraged to share best practice and excellence. Whilst based in an affluent area, there are pockets of deprivation that are accentuated by the surrounding affluence. This presents a challenge for a small number of the trust’s academies, but the trust is firm in the belief that every child deserves the best opportunity and preparation for their future lives, regardless of ability or background.

Plans for the Future

Guildford Educational Partnership has ambitious plans for growth and aspires to grow to about 25 schools, all within the local area. The trust aims to expand to 12 schools within the next 18 months. Long term financial stability is a key goal for the trust and increasing the number of schools and pupils on roll will be a key driver in achieving this goal.

As a business, GEP’s challenge for the future is to introduce significant changes to its systems and processes, in order to benefit from economies of scale. Other plans include developing the trust’s governance structure and central organisation to support a rapidly growing MAT.

Role specification

Number of Positions Advertised:  1

Role Title(s): Non-executive Director

Role Summary:

Over the past year the trust has been restructuring the trust board to bring a balanced skill set and to better reflect an SME. Guildford Educational Partnership is particularly looking for candidates who can add strength and depth to the business side of the trust board and in particular the HR/people strategy. 

Person Specification

The trust is looking for an individual who is highly experienced and proficient at developing and executing a people strategy in a large and complex organisation. GEP recognise, as a trust, that its success will be due in large part to its ability to attract, develop and retain a cadre of highly effective teachers and support staff across 10-20 schools. The trust will also have to develop its own leaders, for the most part, rather than expect to recruit all of them from outside the trust.

Potential candidates should be able to demonstrate experience of growing a business. New NEDs joining the trust will be required to provide guidance, support and challenge to the board.

GEP needs guidance from this board member as to how it can build a long term strategy that will make teaching at the GEP trust highly attractive, where teachers will want to craft their art over several decades. The trust wants to think about, for example, an idea for each teacher starting their career with the trust by doing a 3-year rotation made up of a year in 3 different schools, perhaps as part of 5-year career plans. In other words, GEP might borrow ideas from other professions (such as law and medicine). The person appointed will be highly strategic and innovative and want to make a significant impact on how our schools are run more effectively.  

  Core Competencies:

   - Non-executive/ Trustee

   - HR/people strategy

   - Change Management

   - Corporate Governance

   - Growth Management

   - Risk

   - Succession Planning

Time commitment

The trust expects non-executive directors to attend up to eight board meetings a year. GEP would also like appointees to devote some time to reviewing the current governance and business plan in order to provide feedback to the Chair of the board.

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: 20th June 2017

Interviews: TBC