Oct 222019

3 Non-Executive Directors - Eden Academy Trust (SEN Focus)

Location: NW London
Date Posted: 15/10/2019
Closing Date: 22/11/2019

Eden Academy Trust, based in North West London, is a special needs education academy trust consisting of seven schools and enables the learning of over 1000 students. The trust is looking to recruit three non-executive directors/trustees with Human Resources, Branding/Communication and Leadership skills to join the Board of Trustees. Board meetings are held at Grangewood School in Middlesex.

About the trust

Eden Academy Trust is a family of six ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ schools in the London Borough of Harrow (one school), London Borough of Hillingdon (four schools) and the North of England (two schools) educating over 1000 pupils between the ages of 3 and 19. Regrettably, one of the schools was rated RI in its inspection and the trust is now working hard to ensure that it swiftly returns to good or outstanding. They are expecting this to be confirmed before Christmas. The trust has a Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Additional Support Needs (ASN) focus and specialises in meeting the educational needs of children and young people with a range of learning difficulties including those with autism, a visual impairment and physical or sensory needs. The trust works closely with families and carers to identify and meet all the needs of young people.

The trust is a family of schools who are working together under one academy trust, led by the Board of Trustees, to blend the best educational and therapeutic practice.

They are currently seeking to rebuild one school to offer a high quality all-through school as a result of a free-school bid as well as build a brand new primary school. The trust currently has an annual budget in excess of £15m.

Plans for the future

Eden Academy Trust are leaders in special needs education, both nationally and internationally. The trust recently opened a Free School – Pentland Field School – and is actively pursuing other opportunities to consolidate and expand its provision across North West London and beyond.

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

  • Financial – to manage a large budget against the backdrop of government spending cuts.
  • Growth – to project manage the building of a complicated scheme for two new free schools.
  • To grow organically providing the best possible opportunities for young people.

Trust ethos & values

An academy trust that places children at the heart of everything it does, a place where parents and carers can look to the future with optimism and confidence and where staff members feel their skills and their careers are developed like nowhere else.

Although the curriculum and teaching styles vary to meet the individual needs of each learner, all Eden Academy schools follow the same guiding principles:

  • The curriculum is designed to ensure a breadth and balance of learning takes place
  • All staff have high expectations of pupils’ abilities
  • Parents & carers are integral partners in education
  • All pupils require a personalised education plan
  • Lesson plans are developed to suit pupils’ learning ability, their age, and the session’s content
  • Teaching styles vary to meet pupils’ preferred way of learning (incl. play, structured sessions, practical tasks)
  • Therapy programmes are integrated into classrooms
  • Careful monitoring of achievement encourages pupils to achieve their personal best

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 3

Roles 1-3 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees – or non-executive directors – are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust. The core functions of their role are: ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction; holding executive leaders to account for the educational and financial performance of a charitable company funded by the public purse.

The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust in compliance with its charitable objects, company and charity law.

Person specification

Every trustee is expected to abide by the trust’s code of conduct and the seven principles of public life set out by Lord Nolan: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

The Competency Framework for Governance (DfE) 2017 details the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for effective governance: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583733/Competency_framework_for_governance_.pdf

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

  • Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
    • CEO/ General Management OR
    • Human Resources OR
    • Marketing/branding OR
    • Non-executive/ Trustee OR
    • Corporate Governance OR
    • Remuneration committee chair
  • Desirable
    • Growth management
    • Safeguarding
    • An interest in SEND

Role 1 – Human Resources/ Safeguarding:

The trust seeks an applicant with senior-level HR experience. They will have the skills and experience to advise on the trust’s existing recruitment processes, bringing their own ideas and HR expertise.

Role 2 – Marketing and Branding:

The preferred candidate should have expertise of leading marketing and communications and be willing to offer support and challenge to the trust.

Role 3 – Corporate Governance/ Strategic Leadership:

The successful candidates will demonstrate innovative, outside-the-box thinking; focused on improving outcomes for all children and will show an understanding of the vision and mindset of the trust.

The trustees are expected to offer support, constructive advice, a sounding board for ideas, a second opinion on proposals and help where needed, but will also challenge, ask questions, seek information, improve proposals and seek to arrive at the best solution for the trust. Specifically covering Strategy, Performance, Efficiency, Compliance and Communication.

Time commitment

6-8 hours/month minimum. Eden offers an induction to all new board members and aims to offer further training once every two months. The trust meets 6 times a year.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings take place at Grangewood School, Fore Street, Eastcote, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 2JQ.


Governance structure


Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 69% of secondary schools and 33% 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 900 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.

“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 (2019)

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: Friday 22nd November 2019

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