Feb 062018

Acorn Academy Cornwall - Non-Executive Director

South West England | Truro
CEO/ General Management CFO/Financial Change Management Corporate Governance Human Resources Legal/Compliance Non-executive/Trustee
Deadline date: 28th February 2018

Acorn Academy Cornwall seeks up to four non-executive directors and one member to support its trust of seven Alternative Provision Academies across Cornwall. Board meetings are held at Carrick AP Academy, Truro TR4 9NH.

About the trust

Acorn Academy Cornwall (AAC), opened in 2013 and sponsored by Acorn Care and Education Ltd, is an established and successful multi-academy trust (MAT) made up of seven Alternative Provision Academies (APAs) offering education for pupils aged 4-16 in Cornwall. The trust has a national reputation for the delivery of outstanding outcomes. They provide support to enable pupils to reintegrate into mainstream or special schools; or for students in year 11 and the last four terms of secondary education, integration into the world of work or further education. The schools -

  • 2 secondary phase APAs – Carrick APA and Restormel APA
  • 4 primary and secondary APAs – Penwith APA, Nine Maidens APA, Caradon APA and North Cornwall APA
  • I primary and secondary medical needs APA – Community and Hospital Education Service (CHES) APA

The trust has plans to open a further free school based in Cornwall to meet growing demand for APAs in the region. Their proposal will be submitted when the next wave of free school applications is open.

The trust recognises that pupils may have experienced a range of situations resulting in behaviour patterns, including trauma, separation, anxiety and loss, leading to students being placed at one of the schools. Consequently, the trust aims to provide an academic, emotional, social and behavioural development curriculum that enables pupils to succeed in their learning and positively improve their communication skills for life. The objective is to enable pupils to return to a longer term, and more mainstream, educational provision.

For more details see the attached Trustee role profile Dec 2017.pdf.

Plans for the Future

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

  1. Updating the Articles of Association and recruitment of robust trustees (non-executive directors) and members to provide robust leadership and challenge to APAs, whilst supporting the MAT in its vision for the future.
  2. Expansion, either by way of starting a free school or by taking on provision in other areas of the South West. The trust is keen to grow to take advantage of economies of scale but wants to grow in the right way.
  3. Continuing to provide an outstanding offer to very challenging pupils for whom there is a consistently high demand for places in the APAs.

Trust ethos & values

Striving for excellence putting the learner first, to support the Academy in its priorities:

  • improve attainment/progress in all subjects
  • improve educational opportunities in all subjects
  • improve quality of learning experience in all subjects
  • improve students’ spiritual, moral, social, cultural development

“Those pupils who are hardest to reach are often the pupils who require the most love yet seek it in the most unloving of ways. Their behaviour is the key. It’s their way of communicating and we as professionals working with them have the responsibility to try and understand it, help them to understand it and build a relationship with them to try and help them to move forward.”

At Acorn Academy Cornwall, they actively promote positive, inclusive values. These include democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. They believe British values are those values expected of anyone living in Britain, regardless of their nationality, culture or religious belief; and their ethos reflects these values. They place great emphasis on building positive relationships in school, amongst the students themselves and between staff and students. They strongly believe students should not merely be taught such values but that they are embedded into school life and how things are done. They strive to support their students to develop into confident, happy, successful young adults who have empathy towards and an understanding of those less fortunate than themselves.

Please see http://www.acornacademycornwall.org.uk/about-us/ to find out more.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 5+

Role 1-4 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Acorn Academy Cornwall seek to recruit up to four non-executive directors to support the MAT in its ethos/values and development. Trustees are responsible for overseeing growth and providing support to the trust board. As a trustee/non-executive director, individuals are expected to provide scrutiny and challenge to the board. The competencies required for this role include:


  • Change Management
  • CFO/ Finance OR
  • HR/ Organisation Development OR
  • Legal/Compliance OR
  • CEO/General Management


  • Non-executive/Trustee
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management / M&A
  • IT/Technology
  • Risk
  • Property/Estate Management
  • PR/Marketing

Person specification

The trust welcomes applicants who support the ethos and values of the trust, with either a financial, legal, HR or business management experience and who possesses an entrepreneurial and creative way of thinking. They would also be interested in candidates who have a background involving young people who could be the “parent champion” trustee. Candidates should also have:

  • Critical listening skills, ability to ask effective questions;
  • Strategic thinking;
  • Excellent communication;
  • Problem solving and analysis;
  • Financial management/accounting knowledge;
  • Knowledge and understanding of local requirements and issues (eg community, business)

Time commitment

6 to 10 hours /month minimum. Minimum of 3 trust board meetings/year plus at least one strategic away day.

Trustees will also be expected to be part of one of the boards committees.

Role 5 – Member

Members are akin to the shareholders of a company. They have ultimate control over the trust, with the ability to appoint trustees and the right to amend the trust’s articles of association. Members meet bi-annually in the course of normal operations but may be called on more frequently.

Candidates should have an ability to develop an objective view of the trust’s financial and corporate health and form a strategy to support the long-term vision of the trust.

The competencies required for this role include:


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


  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Chair
  • Strategic thinking

Person specification

The trust would welcome candidates with a business background – ideally within the finance, legal or HR sector. The member role is a promotional one in support of the trust and AAC is keen to hear from candidates that can support the trust to open the right doors for their young people.

Time commitment

1 board meeting/year plus ad hoc support of a strategic promotional nature

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

The trust’s website is: http://www.acornacademycornwall.org.uk

Board meetings are held at Carrick AP Academy, Cormorant House, Truro Business Park, Threemilestone, Truro, TR4 9NH.

Governance Structure

The trust has a Members board of five of which at least three are appointed by the sponsor Acorn Care, and one is the Chair of Trustees. The trust board is between seven and ten including the CEO. The trust operates four main board committees - Finance / Audit / Remuneration / Quality, Standards & Safeguarding. Each academy has a local governing board or a standards committee which receives its delegation from the trust board.

For more information please see http://www.acornacademycornwall.org.uk/governance/

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 (MATs). There are currently 980 multi academy trusts of 2+ 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 academyambassadors@newschoolsnetwork.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.

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: Wednesday 28th February 2018

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