Jan 282020

Non-Executive Director - Learning without Limits Academy Trust

Branding/Marketing, Corporate Governance, Legal/Compliance, Non-executive/Trustee
Deadline date: 14th February 2020

Learning without Limits Academy Trust (LwLAT) seeks two new non-executive directors, one with skills in legal and compliance and another with marketing skills. The trust also seeks a new member, with previous board experience. This is a multi-academy trust that formed in 2016, to serve the communities of Leicester City and the surrounding areas. Originally born out of Babington Academy in the North-West of Leicester, the trust now supports five schools across both primary and secondary phase, with a brand new sixth school opening in Leicester City in September 2021. Board meetings are held in Leicester.

About the trust

The trust currently has two primary and two secondary schools, with Leicester Metropolitan Academy (LMA), a new free school, which will open in new accommodation in 2021 when it admits Year 7 pupils for the first time. LMA will then grow each year admitting new Year 7 pupils as the previous cohort move through over time to Year 11. The trust also supports South Wigston High School which legally sits separate to LwLAT. Discussions are underway with a view for South Wigston High School to possibly join LwLAT at some stage in the future.

The trust believes that a collaborative approach to school improvement gives its schools the tools necessary to improve, and sustain this improvement over time. Those within the trust are committed to meet the trust’s ambition for its 3000 students and the diverse communities that it serves.

The majority of the students served by the trust are from disadvantaged backgrounds, they are also from families with a range of ethnicities. Some of the academies within the trust have a strong track record of helping disadvantaged students to perform well; these strategies are shared across the trust in order to narrow performance gaps.

The schools within Learning without Limits Academy Trust work closely with one another and benefit greatly from these relationships. Their close geographical location means that the trust can easily share opportunities and experiences that greatly improve the life chances of students.

Lancaster Academy joined the trust after a very difficult period and the team are working hard to drive improvements. This academy has undergone some major changes including moving from an all-boys school to become co-educational. More work is needed to embed new approaches in the academy and return it to being a school of choice for students and parents in the local area.

At this point the trust serves 3,000 pupils; it has 550 staff and a budget of £17m.

Plans for the future

Three key challenges for the trust over the next 12/24 months are:

  • Delivering on plans for a new free school due to open in September 2021, including development of an innovative vocational curriculum and effectively marketing the unique offer of this new school.
  • Improving educational outcomes particularly at secondary school level through a new school improvement strategy and strengthened resources and support to underpin this.
  • Ensuring the longer-term financial sustainability of the trust through development of a longer-term financial strategy and in ensuring all its schools are full.
  • Future plans include the opening of Leicester Metropolitan Academy (the new free school) in 2021, and further consideration of future growth of the trust by adding more schools.

Trust ethos & values

At Learning without Limits, the trust stands for inclusivity, building resilient learners and transforming the life chances of all its students. The trust does not tick boxes and chase league tables but genuinely believes in tackling the barriers that all its students face and achieving the best outcomes possible.

Full mission statement http://www.lwlat.org.uk/221/aims-of-the-trust

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 3

Roles 1&2 – 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.

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.

In the interests of safeguarding, and in accordance with DfE requirements, all trustee appointments will be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

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:


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)
    • Legal/Compliance or
    • Branding/Marketing
    • Corporate Governance
  • Desirable
    • Change Management
    • Growth Management
    • Risk

Role 1: The trust seeks someone who brings a background to support the trust in relation to compliance but who can also bring wider leadership and governance experience.

Whilst previous experience as a trustee may be useful it is not essential.

Role 2: For this role, the trust seeks someone with senior experience in a marketing background, to help strategically guide the trust in further raising its profile and the marketing its new free school which is due to open in 2021. Whilst previous experience as a trustee may be useful it is not essential.

Time commitment

The trust Board meets four times a year (twice in the autumn term and once in the spring and summer terms). Meetings tend to start at 5 or 5:30pm but are not fixed on one particular day. The schedule is planned well in advance. Trustees may be invited to join one of the subcommittees depending on skills, interest and availability. The subcommittees include Audit& Risk which meets three times a year (once per term) and a Pay & Performance Committee which meets once a year. A new subcommittee will be introduced from January 2020 to scrutinise Education Standards more closely. An induction programme will be devised by the CEO and Chair to allow new trustees to gain an understanding of the trust’s current position. In addition, the trusts works collaboratively with another trust in the area to provide additional training as necessary and which new trustees may access.

Role 3 – Member

A member is able to alter the trust’s Articles of Association and appoint (or remove) trustees/directors where necessary. They provide independent oversight to the work of the board of trustees in order to ensure suitable accountability for its decision making and strategy. At Learning without Limits Academy Trust the members are expected to be signatories for the academy trust, to attend up to three meetings per year, and to broaden the skillset within the existing team of members.

Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:

  • Essential
    • Non-executive/ Trustee
    • Corporate Governance
  • Desirable
    • CFO/Finance
    • Corporate Governance
    • Strategic

The trust seeks individuals with an extensive and demonstrable background in a senior leadership role, with strategic vision and knowledge of the role of a non-executive director.

A good communicator and a ‘team player’, committed to attending Members’ meetings is essential. An individual with good business acumen is advantageous, as well as experience of working within a commercial environment, preferably at board level.

Time commitment

The demands on a Member are relatively light and time commitment is likely to be around 12 hours over the year.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Babington Academy, Strasbourg Drive, Beaumont Leys, Leicester, LE4 0SZ.


Governance structure


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.

“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

Deadline for applications: Friday 14th February 2020

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.

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