Non-executive director X 5
Forward Education Trust (FET)
Forward Education Trust currently comprises three schools in Birmingham and surrounding areas. The trust seeks a chair and four trustees, one of whom will also be chair of Finance and Risk, in order to drive the trusts vision of ‘moving forward together’. Board meetings are held in the Birmingham area.
About the trust
Forward Education Trust is currently a three school multi-academy trust consisting of two primary day special schools, Brays School and The Bridge School, and a 4 - 18 special school, Hallmoor School. In addition to this, two further schools are approved to join the trust in the near future, it has been approved to open a special free school and also is relocating an additional school to a new build in Sandwell. Other schools may well be joining the trust over the short to medium term.
The trust places emphasis on the collaboration of its schools, aiming to operate and perform as a united team. Consistency across educational approaches within the trust aims to ensure support throughout its schools and maintain a focus on the challenges ahead.
The trust also provides improvement support beyond its schools; Forward Education Services consists of advisers with substantial experience and qualifications, such as serving Ofsted inspectors and National Leaders of Education. Through school improvement contracts the trust supports non-trust schools locally, regionally and nationally to improve educational performance. The trust works with Local Authorities on quality assurance projects for special provision and alternative education. The trust can be contracted to offer other services, including school and pupil premium reviews.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- To secure a board with a wide variety of business skills, and substantial financial acumen, in order to ensure the trust has the capacity needed to expand over the next eighteen months.
- To secure business functions within the trust through successful recruitment to the trust.
- To secure financial stability of the trust, as in the longer term the trust anticipates growing and expanding further and therefore wishes to ensure it has the sustainable financial foundations to do so.
- To improve upon the quality of education offered to vulnerable children with special education needs (SEN).
Trust ethos & values
The trust works to educate, nurture and empower through dynamic and robust leadership and governance. The trust ethos is focused on ‘moving forward together’, striving for opportunities to improve outcomes and providing stability and success for all. Improving both the personal and academic achievements of children drives the trust’s work.
Further information on ethos and values can be found on the trust website:
Role summary Number of positions advertised:
Roles 1 – 4 – 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.
Non-executive directors will be responsible for maintaining stability and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and potential growth, and holding the CEO/CFO to account.
The competencies required for these roles include:
Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
- Specialist HR/ ER employment law
- Real estate/Property
- Change Management
- Succession Planning
- Entrepreneur/ Founder
Chair of Finance and Risk: The chair of finance provides additional financial and corporate management to the board. The successful candidate will ensure that the trust maintains financial compliance and has the capacity to meet the needs of future growth and acquisitions. Experience of corporate finance and governance is sought to ensure the trust has the ability to sustain growth.
HR Trustee: The appointee will provide technical and legal expertise and process acumen to the board. Candidates with experience of employment contracts within the education sector are sought. Demonstrable knowledge and a track-record of HR compliance and change management is required in order to ensure adherence to policies, procedures and practices.
Property and Estates Trustee: The appointee will have considerable technical and strategic knowledge of the procurement, delivery and compliance of estates and an appreciation of how to manage multiple projects at various stages of design and build.
Trustee/ Non-executive director: An individual possessing a proven track record in change and risk management is highly sought. The successful candidate will utilise these skills through supporting the changing environment that is inherent in the expected growth of the trust. Experience of leadership and an appreciation of the challenges to the education sector is desired, to ensure that the trust complies with all legislation.
Role 5 – Chair The trust seeks to appoint a Chair in order to set the strategic course and lead the trustees in holding the executive team to account, providing effective board leadership and ensuring each director fulfils their duties and responsibilities in accordance with the Nolan Principles of Public Life. Person specification
The competencies required for this role include:
- CEO/ General Management
- Succession Planning
Chair: The successful candidate will exhibit strong interpersonal and relationship-building abilities, as well as the presence and personality to successfully manage myriad stakeholders and demonstrate leadership throughout. This individual will possess the ability to undertake an ambassadorial role, including skills in tact and diplomacy, with the ability to listen and engage effectively. The chair of the board line manages the CEO and provides managerial support throughout the trust. The successful candidate will provide steerage to the board and recognise the skills and experience of other board members when making decisions at board level. Demonstrable chair experience is essential.
All trustees - 6 hours per half term.
Chairs – 12 hours per half term.
Location of board meetings and trust website
Board meetings are in the Birmingham area.
Background on academy trusts
Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 74% of secondary schools and 31% 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 832 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 www.academyambassadors.org.
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, 15th February 2019.