Non-executive director x2

Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset
Unpaid / voluntary
18 Sep 2018
18 Oct 2018
The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT)
Specialist Area
HR function
CIPD Membership
CIPD Member

About the Trust

The PLT began as a secondary school rated Outstanding by Ofsted and expanded in 2016 to become a multi-academy trust (MAT) by taking on a second school. The trust serves diverse schools in coastal and rural hinterland communities within an area that is experiencing rapid and large demographic growth. Currently consisting of four schools; the founding school Priory Community School and Worle Community School, both secondary schools, and two primaries - St. Anne Church Academy and Castle Batch Primary School Academy which joined earlier this year, one school holds an Ofsted rating of Outstanding, two hold Good and one that was previously rated as Inadequate, but which the trust has since turned around. A 5th schools is due to join the trust this October.

The trust is currently responsible for the academic success of over 5000 pupils, employing 500 staff, with a revenue budget of over £23 million. All schools have a planned balanced budget for the next two years and predicted outcomes show improvement. Pupil to Teacher ratios are high and its income and staff costs are below average with the National Funding Formula indicating its secondary schools will achieve financial increases.

The Priory Learning Trust was awarded the prestigious National Teaching School status in 2016 and is a successful teacher-training school.


Plans for the Future

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

  1. To maintain and build upon the great outcomes the trust has already seen by strengthening school improvement and accountability through improved scrutiny, and aligning curriculum, assessment and data more coherently with the intention to narrow attainment gaps and improve outcomes. 
  2. Improve business management functions including financial accuracy and systems. To develop back-office capacity, achieve economies and improve the school estate.
  3. To develop strong and effective governance in keeping with a growing trust. This will be achieved by creating a 2-5year strategic plan, transforming the current accountability structure and scheme of delegation, including the development of a geographic hub model alongside strengthening governance through increased scrutiny and focusing on building effective key relationships between all members of the trust community.  
  4. To achieve ongoing alignment and coordination of different school systems, practices and cultures into one trust operation without compromising creativity and enthusiasm or the unique values and personality of the trust and its individual schools.
  5. Manage effective growth. Our plans are ambitious to grow within our planned geographic hubs whilst ensuring we are seen as a Trust of choice for students and employees.

Trust Ethos & Values The PLT grew from a passion to bring the power of partnership and sharing together and provide a first-class education to a wide range of children, of all abilities and social class groupings, in the Weston-super-Mare area. The ethos of The Priory Learning Trust is inclusive, visionary, aspirational, and one of pursuing excellence across every single area of their work. The trust’s motto ‘Students First’ underpins all they do. Their mission is to develop happy, confident and successful young people. This truly collaborative approach is geared to also develop great staff relationships and improve staff wellbeing. Respect for each other, fair access and opportunity, maximising potential for their students and staff. Role Summary Number of Positions: 1/2 Role – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; the role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law.

Person Specification

The trust is seeking up to two non-executives to replace the skills of trustees that are stepping down and to strengthen succession planning for the trust board.

The competencies required for these roles include:



  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Strategic HR
  • Change Management
  • Growth management



  • Audit Committee Chair
  • IT/Technology
  • Real estate/property

The trust is interested in candidates with experience of working at a strategic level in commercial organisations. Candidates must be able to make decisions, act as an advisor, hold executives to account and be reflective and evaluative whilst able to review large amounts of data and quickly prioritising key issues. Experience of strategic planning, organisational development skills, as well as a strong understanding of managing change and growth is necessary for this role.

Candidates must have a deep interest in the safeguarding, welfare and success of children.


Time Commitment The voluntary role currently asks candidates to commit to around 6-7 hours per month to include attending trust board meetings, reading and preparation time. This may change as the outcomes of the governance review (see below) are understood and governance across the trust is strengthened.




Governance Structure

The trust board currently meets three times a year with a Resources committee, that includes a pay sub-committee, also meeting three times a year. Additionally, there are trust board scrutiny panels for each academy. Non-executives attend the trust board meetings and may be invited to join the Resources committee or a scrutiny panel.

This trust is currently completing a governance review that is due to report later in the Autumn 2018. It is envisaged that the structure and aspects of the board and governance working will change. New non-executives will be able to engage in this process to help shape the changes in governance.

  Background on Academy Trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 73% of secondary schools and 30% of primaries – and their number is growing all the time.

Many of these schools are grouped together as multi-academy trusts (MATs). There are currently 775 multi academy trusts of 3+ schools.  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 do not need to have any specialist knowledge of education. 


Academy Ambassadors is a non-profit programme 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

Deadline for applications: Friday 19th October 2018

Interviews:    Interviews will be held during October and November

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