Aug 022018

Non-Executive Director - Conyers Trust

Conyers Trust is seeking two new non-executive directors to join its board during an exciting period of development, growth and expansion. Conyers Trust is a small, but growing, outward facing multi-academy trust (MAT), in Teesside. After consolidating as an academy, the trust now seeks to expand, from three to up to six schools in the locality. It will be changing its name to The 1590 Trust, to better reflect its expanded membership. Board meetings are held at Conyers School, Yarm.

About the Trust

Conyers Trust is an outward facing, small and growing multi-academy trust (MAT) in Teesside. Conyers School was founded in 1590, making it one of the oldest schools in England. The school became an academy in February 2013 and a MAT in November 2016. It serves the communities of Yarm, Ingleby Barwick, Thornaby, Kirklevington and Central Stockton. Although situated on the edge of Yarm, the trust’s intake spans from inner-city Stockton out to the North Yorkshire rural villages to its south. It is therefore a true comprehensive, with a diverse student body and just under a quarter of the students are eligible for free school meals.

Conyers School has joined with Bader Primary school in Thornaby, a large school catering to pupils from ages two to 11 years, drawing from a more deprived community. Conyers Trust has worked closely with Bader over the last year until conversion in September 2017. Kirklevington Primary joined the Trust in June 2018 and a further three primary schools are in the process of joining the trust. All the schools are Ofsted rated ‘Good’.

The trust has a strong track record of supporting other local schools and engaging with the wider educational community.

The trust is launching its new vision, three-year plan, brand and name – The 1590 Trust - in September 2018.

Conyers Secondary School and Sixth Form College has 1,300 students, Bader Primary School (early years, nursery and primary) has 400 and Kirklevington 120. The three applicant primary schools are expected to join the trust over the next year; between them, these schools have approximately 800 pupils.

Plans for the Future

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

  1. The successful integration of four primary schools into the trust, following a robust and tailored due diligence process. Inherent in this is establishing governance arrangements to ensure this works smoothly, as well as providing a greater primary education focus. The trust will be looking to assess its support services to ensure best value.
  2. Building up the trust to deliver sustainable strategic direction and oversight, over the next three years. The trust needs additional capacity to maintain effective governance arrangements during a period of change.
  3. Address specific financial challenges over the coming three years in order to ensure financial sustainability of the schools within the trust.

Trust Ethos & Values

Perseverando – ‘Through Perseverance’

The trust is a group of like-minded schools that share common values. All schools:

  • are safe, secure, happy and caring
  • promote inclusion and tolerance, and celebrate diversity
  • develop independent, resilient, motivated learners
  • foster enthusiasm, positivity and mutual respect
  • work collaboratively and sit at the heart of their communities
  • set high expectations and challenge all to achieve their potential

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 2

Roles 1 & 2 – 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 during a period of rapid growth and the management of a dynamic structure. The role also includes contributing to financial planning for sustainability and growth, and holding the CEO/CFO to account.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Growth Management OR
  • Change Management OR
  • HR


  • Branding/ Marketing
  • Risk
  • Succession Planning
  • CFO/ Finance
  • IT/ Technology
  • Legal/ Compliance
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance

Person Specification

As the trust seeks to grow, with numerous local schools joining in the near future, it is seeking to recruit two individuals to help to provide oversight, support and challenge to the officers of the trust through this process of change and expansion, as well as ensuring the trust remains fully compliant with the requirements of being an academy. For one individual in particular, this involves issues around Human Resource management.

While it is acknowledged that not all candidates will possess essential and desirable skills, it would be advantageous to identify an individual with experience of managing change and sustaining quality across a number of establishments, including underperforming organisations.

Experience of a non-executive, or trustee, role is preferable although not a prerequisite, while skills from any of the desirable areas listed are sought to help the trust board navigate this period of change.

Time Commitment

Circa 22 hours per year.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Board meetings are held at Conyers School, Green Lane, Yarm, TS15 9ET.

Governance Structure

Background on Academy Trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 73% of secondary schools and 29% 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 760 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

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, 7th September 2018

Please note, the trust will be holding a launch event on Wednesday, 19th September at 6.30pm at Conyers School and shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend.

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