Non-Executive Director x 5

South Gloucestershire
Unpaid, voluntary
05 Oct 2017
03 Nov 2017
The Enable Trust
Specialist Area
HR function

The Enable Trust

Up to five non-executive directors are being sought by an innovative school partnership in South Gloucestershire, to help set-up and join a new multi academy trust that will focus on supporting young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The proposed Enable Trust aims to open in autumn 2018. The non-executive directors will help guide the start-up and growth plans of the new trust as well as support the trust to protect, improve and sustain the educational provision for all pupils in their care. Board meetings will be held at partnership school locations.

About the trust

New Siblands School in Thornbury and Culverhill School in Yate have been working together collaboratively for a number of years, benefiting from each other and their support networks. They now propose to strengthen and formalise their partnership by forming a new multi academy trust (MAT) - The Enable Trust, which is for children and young people with complex, severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, including children with autism.

Starting with the two special schools their aim is to grow to include a further four special schools across South Gloucestershire and Bristol and to bid for and open the much needed new special school for S. Gloucestershire (bid underway), reaching 7 schools by c.2020. A core aspect of the new trust will be to work outwardly with neighbouring mainstream schools offering support to their needs in special educational provision, and in the longer term the trust would be open to welcoming mainstream schools into the trust.

The founding schools are:

  • New Siblands School in Thornbury, north of Bristol, with just over 100 children aged between 2 and 19 with severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD)
  • Culverhill School in Yate has 135 pupils aged between 7 and 16. All pupils all have Statements of SEN or Education, Health and Care Plans. The school caters for CLD (complex learning difficulties) which reflect moderate to severe learning difficulties plus a range of additional needs.

Trust ethos & values

A core belief in the shared responsibility for the entitlement of all pupils – the trust’s focus is to be operationally excellent, holding our vision to meet all pupils’ needs at the very heart of all our work. The aims of the trust are to:

  • provide exceptional holistic learning experiences for each and every pupil;
  • enable all pupils to achieve their full potential by developing the skills they need to succeed and enjoy life;
  • ensure that all pupils feel happy and safe; and to
  • secure principled, inspirational and sustainable leadership, in order to ensure high quality provision and improve standards that in turn ensure high quality outcomes and drive improvements in the field of SEN

Our grounding principles are:- to meet more needs, more fully, more of the time; to share best practice in a more efficient, structured and sustainable way; to embed professional development opportunities and succession planning in a distributed leadership model that enables us to grow more talent and leaders across the trust; and to strengthen the special education voice in the system. We hold a core belief that strong leaders are key to sustainable outcomes for pupils in the long term.

Plans for the Future

The key challenges for the trust over the next 12-24 months will be:

  1. Securing multi-academy trust status approval by the Department for Education and ensuring the successful set up of the trust.
  2. Ensuring sustainable growth of the MAT to strengthen and deliver effective provision and a stronger pupil voice for SEN.  
  3. To address the current gaps in provision for young people in partnership with the local authority and neighbouring authorities, including addressing the need for sufficient commissioned places for pupils with complex needs, plus post 16 and post 19 college placements.
  4. Secure effective capacity that supports the local authority primary school alliance and local MATs in meeting their own SEN provision needs.
  5. Manage change and transition – including HR and developing leadership for the future

and all in parallel to ensuring the continued successful provision to our existing young learners.

Governance of the trust

In line with the structural requirements of multi academy trusts The Enable Trust is proposing to have a Members board of c.5 non-executives and an accountable Board of Trustees/Non-executive Directors) of c.9-12; and they have appointed a CEO designate who is an experienced SEN headteacher and Ofsted inspector.

A number of key local individuals have agreed to take up Member or Trustee roles, these include: the current chairs of the founding schools, who bring strategic operations management and banking expertise; a lead DFE advisor and member of the Rochford Review board; a retired Headteacher and local education leader with SEN expertise; and a specialist in vulnerable groups and SEN. Additionally the trust is in discussion with a local business director, a clinical psychiatrist and a professor and international leader and DFE advisor on SEN.

The trust is now looking to find the right individuals that can bring a wealth of corporate business and governance expertise to the trust to ensure the trust establishes and sustains robust and effective governance, policy and processes that support the aims of the trust.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised:  5

Roles 1-5 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

The role of a non-executive director is to provide strategic oversight, setting vision and policies, ensuring appropriate governance, decision-making, compliance with regulations, setting appropriate targets, and holding the executive and local leadership to account, reviewing, scrutinising and challenging performance across the trust and its academies. For these five non-executive roles, all of whom will sit on the trust board, the trust is looking for individuals with the following competencies:  



  • CEO/General Management
  • Change Management
  • Growth Management
  • HR / Strategic organisation development
  • Non-executive / Trustee



  • Corporate governance
  • CFO/Finance
  • Legal/Compliance
  • Branding/Marketing
  • IT/Technology
  • Succession Planning
  • Risk

Additionally, and depending on the design of the resulting governance structure, one non-executive may also be recruited to sit on the Members board.   Person specification

The trust is keen to recruit non-executive directors who will help guide the start-up of the trust, helping shape the leadership and governance structures and supporting the development of the business financial and growth plans; and who will go on to supporting the trust to protect, improve and sustain the educational provision for all pupils. Candidates should be committed to support the MAT in developing system leadership and ensuring financial capacity for the MAT to meet its’ aims. Above all, the trust welcomes applicants who are positive and proactive, who will have a commitment to ensuring children and young people with complex needs have maximized opportunities and can thrive educationally. Candidates must want to make a strategic impact on the lives of children.

To meet the needs of the trust, they would welcome applicants with skills, experience or a background in the following areas:

  1. HR – experience of HR and operations in a business capacity
  2. Marketing and communications – able to support the trust as it grows
  3. Health and Social care – individual familiar with the systems and processes of health and social care including mental health
  4. Finance – experience of operating at a CFO/FD level in a medium to large public sector, charitable or corporate organisation
  5. Legal – experience in compliance related areas of HR, safeguarding, property and estates

Time commitment

During the start-up phase (2018) the trust envisages non-executives will attend monthly meetings and provide ad-hoc guidance and support to the trust development areas relevant to their expertise.

Once open the trust envisages 6 trust board meetings and up to 6 sub-committee meetings per year equating to around 6 to 10 hours /month.

Trust Website  

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 71% of secondary schools and 26% 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.

 “Academy boards must be ambitious for all children and young people and infused with a passion for education and a commitment to continuous school improvement that enables the best possible outcomes. Governance must be grounded in reality as defined by both high-quality objective data and a full understanding of the views and needs of pupils/students, staff, parents, carers and local communities. It should be driven by inquisitive, independent minds and through conversations focussed on the key strategic issues which are conducted with humility, good judgement, resilience and determination.”  Source: Governance Handbook, Department for Education (2017)

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 and the expertise and contributions that you can bring to the trust 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 3rd November 2017

Interviews: Following an initial discussion with Academy Ambassadors, candidates who meet the requirements of the trust will be put forward the lead representatives of the founding schools and joint committee to be shortlisted for interviews that will take place during November / early December. 

Similar jobs

Similar jobs