Feb 072018

Non-Executive Director x 2 - Cirrus Primary Academy Trust

South East England and South London | Sutton
Change Management Corporate Governance Human Resources Legal/Compliance
Deadline date: 12th January 2018

Cirrus Primary Academy Trust seeks two experienced board members to help this strong trust grow from a three school into eight schools and beyond. Board meetings are held in Sutton.

About the trust

The Cirrus Primary Academy Trust is a three-school academy trust established in June 2015 with around 2,400 pupils. Avenue Primary Academy, the trust’s lead/sponsor school, is an outstanding primary of 1,000 pupils, as well as a Teaching School and National Support School. The trust was established in order to allow Avenue Primary Academy to support underperforming local schools located within areas of high deprivation. Kingsley Primary Academy joined the trust in February 2017 and Rushy Meadow joined shorty after in September 2017, both as sponsored schools.

Kingsley Primary Academy is a large school of 945 pupils in Croydon with two additional Nursery classes. Rushy Meadow is a two-form primary of 440 pupils in Sutton. All three academies have provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs provision. Avenue has a base for children with autism and Kingsley and Rushy Meadow both have bases for hearing impaired children.

The trust has ambitious plans for expansion over the next few years. Three further schools are set to join the trust in 2017/18 - one infant school and two primary schools. There are also plans for a further primary school and a nursery school to join in 2018/19.

Plans for the Future

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

  1. Improving standards in the two sponsored academies and in the third sponsored academy joining in March 2018, and writing across the trust.
  2. Teacher recruitment. This is a national issue and the trust needs to attract the best teachers.
  3. Supporting leaders in academies across the trust and ensuring succession planning for key roles.
  4. Ensure that the trust board has the necessary skills and structure to manage a MAT of up to 12 academies over the next three years.

Trust ethos & values

The core purpose of the trust is to develop the very best organisations to ensure that children do exceptionally well and are prepared for the future. By working together, we are committed to developing teaching, creating opportunities for leadership and developing the best leaders, developing the curriculum.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 2

Role 1 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

The trust board has legal powers and responsibilities and is accountable to the Department for Education. As a trustee, you help set the overall strategic direction of the trust. Together, you scrutinise, challenge and support the performance and operations of the trust and ensure stability, whilst managing risk and opportunities. The trust is looking for someone with a HR background.

The competencies required for this role include:


  1. HR
  2. Change Management


  • Growth Management
  • Chair
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Legal/ Compliance
  • Succession Planning

Person specification

Cirrus Primary Academy Trust is keen to recruit a trustee with HR experience. The trustee will be expected to chair the trust's HR Committee and any staff discipline panels that come to trust board level. It would be helpful to have more strategic experience of organisational design and change management.

Time commitment

2 hours /month minimum. Number of board meetings/year: eight, comprising four main board and three/four committee meetings.

Role 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees are responsible for overseeing growth and providing support to the trust board. The trust seeks individuals able to challenge and support through a phase of active growth as it seeks to build capacity and develop an ambitious business plan.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Governance
  • Legal/ Compliance


  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Branding/ Marketing
  • Real estate/ Property
  • Succession Planning
  • Charity Governance

Person specification

The trust would welcome applicants with experience in ensuring compliance with a legal or governance background. The role of the non-executive director is to ensure that the trust structure is appropriate to meet future demands and that it is compliant with all of its obligations. They should also work with other trustees to grow and develop the trust. It would be helpful if the person had experience of the structures and systems of charity governance.

Time commitment

2 hours /month minimum. Number of board meetings/year: eight, comprising four main board and three/four committee meetings.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Board meetings will be held at: Sutton SM2 6JE and nearby schools

The trust’s website can be found at: www.cirrustrust.uk

Governance Structure

Please see: http://cirrustrust.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 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 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.

Deadline for applications: Friday 12th January 2017

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