Non-Executive Director x 2, Chair of Finance, Chair of Audit

Rye, East Sussex
Unpaid, voluntary
11 Aug 2017
11 Sep 2017
Rye Academy Trust
Specialist Area
HR function

Rye Academy Trust

Rye Academy Trust in East Sussex seeks four non-executive directors to join its board, including a Chair of Audit and a Chair of Finance. The trust is comprised of a varied mix of three schools catering for children and young people aged 2 to 19 years. Board meetings are held at Rye Academy Trust, The Grove, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7NQ.

About the trust

The Rye Academy Trust was established in August 2012. Two of its schools are converter Academies, being one primary school with an adjoining nursery and one secondary comprehensive school. The third is a studio school established by the trust.

Rye Community Primary School opened in 2008 and has become a popular choice for families in Rye and surrounding areas. In 2015 it absorbed Pugwash Nursery and now accommodates children from 2 to 11 years of age. The school became a converter academy in March 2015, joining the Rye Academy Trust. Rye College is a mixed comprehensive school serving children aged 11-16.

Rye Studio School for the Creative Industries (an academy and a free school) is the only studio school in the South East and prepares 14-19 year olds for careers within the creative industries. Rye Studio School recruits from a number of coastal towns where levels of youth unemployment are high.

At present, the three schools are all judged by Ofsted as ‘requires improvement’.

In September 2016, the trust appointed its first Chief Executive Tim Hulme, to drive a programme of transformation aimed at securing and sustaining trust schools and enabling the trust to continue to serve the young people of Rye from 2-18years.  The trust has worked closely with from the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), the Department of Education (DfE) and the Office of the Regional Schools’ Commissioner (RSC) throughout this academic year in order to deliver these changes.

The overall progress the trust has made this year has been commended by the regulators.  In particular, new trustees will pursue a relentless focus on the quality of teaching and learning to drive improved outcomes and ensure all children and young people within the trust are able to fulfil their potential.

The three schools that form the trust are typical coastal town schools

  • The vast majority of pupils are from White British backgrounds
  • The proportion of disadvantaged pupils is greater than the national average
  • The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic groups is half the national average
  • The proportion of pupils receiving support for special educational needs and/or disabilities is over three times the national average

For Rye College and Studio School in particular, the next academic year will see some exciting developments, including:   

  • A new, integrated, curriculum designed around the needs of pupils
  • A new staffing structure focused on supporting the new curriculum and improving pastoral provision
  • Rigorous focus on the quality of teaching and learning to drive rapid improvement in progress and outcomes

Given the trust’s stage of development, it is essential that the board has the right skills and expertise to lead the trust effectively and provide robust support, challenge and accountability for standards and performance.  To this end, a search for new, independent, trustees is underway, to strengthen the capacity of the board and provide fresh leadership from September. An independent, external, review of the governance structure is also underway to ensure that the trust has strong, effective and compliant mechanisms to support and drive rapid improvement.    

Trust ethos & values

The trust places the individual at the heart of its schools and aspires to provide inspiring and exciting academic and vocational opportunities for pupils. Each school challenges pupils to secure a successful future for themselves, for their local area and beyond, making the schools the first choice for local parents.

Plans for the Future

The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. Ensuring all three schools within the trust are judged by Ofsted as “good” or better.
  2. Implementing a financial recovery plan and whole trust restructure to establish strong and effective leadership, management and teaching and learning.
  3. Succession planning for governance and leadership as a new Head Teacher of Rye College and Rye Studio is brought into post and a new Chair of Trustees is appointed.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:  4

Role 1 – Chair of Finance  

The trust is looking for candidates who have the expertise to provide strong, independent challenge and scrutiny on matters relating to budgetary oversight, financial performance, systems, procedures and reporting. The appointed non-executive director will take on the role of Chair of Finance & Resources Committee. An ACA qualification is desirable but not essential.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • CFO/ Finance
  • Chair
  • CEO/General Management


  • Risk
  • Turnaround

Person specification

The successful candidate will be a senior leader with significant experience of strong financial management, able to steer financial strategy and secure financial stability and sustainability.

Time commitment

6 hours per month minimum.

Role 2– Chair of Audit

The trust seeks a trustee to take on the role of Chair of Audit.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • CFO/ Finance
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance


  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Corporate Governance

Person specification

The successful candidate will be an ACA qualified accountant with recent and relevant experience gained at a senior level.

Time commitment

6 hours per month minimum.

Role 3 – Non-Executive Director

A new board member with marketing and branding experience is required. The appointee will enhance the trust’s image and reputation through innovative approaches to engaging parents and stakeholders within the wider community.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Branding/ Marketing
  • Growth Management


  • Change Management

Time commitment

6 hours per month minimum.

Role 4 – Non-Executive Director

The trust seeks one new board member who brings with them strong business and turnaround experience, ideally in compliance or risk management.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Succession Planning
  • Turnaround


  • Change Management
  • HR
  • Restructuring

Time commitment

6 hours per month minimum.

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: 11th September 2017

Interviews:  TBC

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