Non-Executive Director x 3

Portishead, Backwell and Chew Valley
Unpaid, voluntary
19 Oct 2017
24 Nov 2017
Lighthouse Schools Partnership
Specialist Area
HR function

Lighthouse Schools Partnership

The Lighthouse Schools Partnership, a trust of successful schools in North Somerset, seeks three non-executive directors to join their board. The number of schools in the trust is set to double in January with further growth expected during 2018 and board members will play a crucial role in supporting the trust through this period of organisational restructuring and development. Board meetings will be held across the schools, primarily in Portishead, Backwell and the Chew Valley.

About the trust

The Lighthouse Schools Partnership (LSP) was founded in 2016 with two schools in Portishead and Portbury.  Since 2016, the trust has expanded and now includes schools through North Somerset and into Bath and North East Somerset. Central to their success is the trust’s commitment to working in partnership, believing that by working together they can deliver more fully the aims to which they were committed as individual schools. An integral part of this is a desire to invest in the training and excellence of staff.

There are currently six schools in the trust; Gordano Secondary School, three primaries including St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Portishead Primary, St Mary’s Church of England Primary and the federation of High Down Infant and Junior Schools. In September 2017, in readiness for the imminent growth of a further cluster of schools the trust created their central team including the Chief Exec, HR Manager and a Chief Finance and Operating Officer.

Growth is immediate with a further nine schools joining the trust in December; Backwell Secondary School, two primaries, three junior and three infant schools. The schools are a mix of current academies and local authority maintained schools which will be converting to academy status. Across the 15 school sites the trust will have approx. 8,000 pupils, 1,100 staff and a revenue of £30m, making it one of the largest trusts in the Bristol, Bath and North Somerset area. 

Gordano School is a Training School and National Teaching School, which has been a great foundation on which to build for excellence. St Peter's Primary School was designated as a National Teaching School in June 2017 and the trust is working closely with Backwell Secondary School and the North Somerset Teaching Alliance and hope that this key focus on staff development will deliver exciting and effective learning to their children and young people.

Plans for the Future

The trust plans to expand further in their existing cluster areas and in the Chew Valley and the Mendip areas, where they have just been approved to take on another secondary school. Operationally LSP plan on establishing four geographical hubs with business managers, HR and local support functions available to the schools in the hub area, alongside education standards collaboration and support across a Headteachers group led by National Leaders of Education.

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

  1. To manage the rapid growth of the trust, ensuring benefits of collaborative working are shared and improvements are delivered, without jeopardizing the success of all schools.
  2. To appoint new CFOO who will improve systems and processes for finance, business and HR in a way that will enable the trust to run more effectively and efficiently; building robust and sustainable financial and business approaches to allow the trust to meet its objectives for children’s development.
  3. Raise standards in Key Stage 2 in junior schools and ensure effective school improvement across all schools, in particular to support the challenging requirements of Attainment8 & Progress8 in secondary education.
  4. Embed new schools into the trust and manage the future growth developing four geographical operational hubs.
  5. Review and monitor the model of governance to support the growing trust.

Trust ethos & values

The core aim of LSP is to achieve excellence of learning and care for children and young people rooted in collaboration between their schools. They believe that by working together they can deliver more fully the aims to which each school is committed, and central to this is a desire to invest in the training and excellence of their staff. As a mix of both community and Church of England schools the distinctive ethos and character of each school is core aspect of the trusts approach.

Each of the founding schools and all of the schools joining the trust are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted and the trust has established a culture of equal partnership from a position of strength. However, some of the judgements are now quite old and the trust recognises and is focused on ensuring that standards and improved across all schools.

For more information, please see:

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 


Roles 1 – 3: Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees/Non-executive directors use their skills to hold the CEO and officers of the trust to account for the success and standards of all of the schools in the trust. Trustees also set and review the strategic direction of the trust. As well as attending the board meetings and supporting the trust, trustees/non-executive directors will be required to be part of a board committee and to engage in board level panels for areas such as recruitment, admissions and remuneration.  Succession planning will form an important factor of the development of governance for the trust, and candidates will have the opportunity to consider committee chair roles in the future.

The competencies required for these roles include:


  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Change Management
  • HR
  • Legal/Compliance
  • Education Leadership


  • Risk
  • Restructuring
  • Branding/Marketing
  • Succession Planning
  • Property/Estates
  • Audit

Person specification

The trust is seeking candidates that can be responsive and flexible to the needs of the board, with a background and experience in one of the following areas:

Corporate Governance and Compliance: the trust is keen to appoint an individual who has experience in corporate governance. Their current professional role may be within a legal setting or a senior management role in a compliance related environment. The trust is looking for a candidate with the skills and experience to support the trust during this period of growth.

HR and People Management: the trust welcomes applicants with experience of working in a medium to large organisation. They should have a background in functional HR, people management, staffing, succession planning to enable them to challenge and scrutinise all matters of HR across the trust. Experience of people change,organisational development and strategic growth and development would be an advantage.

Education: the trust is keen to appoint an individual with experience and leadership in the education sector. They would welcome those who understand the secondary school arena to complement existing skills on the board. 

Given the rapid growth and change facing the trust, they are also keen to hear from individuals who are familiar with strategic growth and change management.   The trust would also welcome applicants who have skills and experience specified under the Desirable category.

The trust contains both community and church schools. Successful candidates are not required to be practicing Christians or to attend church regularly but all Directors are required to support the trust’s ethos and mission including those of Christian distinctiveness.

Time commitment

1-2 days per month minimum. There are six main board meetings per year with up to three subcommittee meetings per year.

Trust Website

Governance Structure

The trust board is growing from 7 to 10 members and potentially to 12 to support the changing needs of the trust as the number of schools increases.

The trust currently has two subcommittees – Staffing & Pay committee and Risk & Audit committee. This may change in the future as governance develops to support the growth of the trust. Candidates will be expected to sit on one or more subcommittees.

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 focused 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 your specific interest in 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: 24th November 2017

Interviews: Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a formal interview panel following the closing date.  Where interest is high an earlier interview panel may be convened.

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