Dec 122019

Non-Executive Director - The Bay Learning Trust

Recruiter: Academy Ambassadors
Location: Lancaster, Lancashire (GB)
Salary: unpaid/ voluntary
Posted: 28 Nov 2019
Closes: 12 Dec 2019
Position/Level: Board
Responsibilities: Executive Management, Finance, HR
Sector: Education
Contract Type: Voluntary / Trustee
Language: English

The Bay Learning Trust, established in 2016, seeks to appoint a new board member with significant skills and experience in the fields of HR and law or compliance.

The trust comprises four schools and is at an exciting stage of planned growth. Board meetings are held at The Lodge, Ripley St Thomas, Lancaster. Applicants of all faiths or none are welcome to apply.

About the trust

The Bay Learning Trust was set up by Ripley St Thomas CE Academy in 2016 to provide a local solution for primary and secondary schools in the geographical area of Morecambe Bay.

Ripley St Thomas Academy is a large school with over 1700 students, 400 of whom are in the Sixth Form. The Academy has been graded "Outstanding" in its last two Ofsted inspections. Ripley is a Teaching School and has its own SCITT (School Centred Initial Teaching Training), which was also graded "Outstanding" in 2017. It is also a National Support School.

In 2018 the trust expanded to include Carnforth High School and then Morecambe Bay Academy and Central Lancaster High School in 2019. These further schools account for 2300 students. The trust operates with a budget of approximately £20m and employs 500 members of staff in order to provide an education to a total of 4200 pupils.

The proportion of students receiving free school meals within the trust varies between 12% and 50% across the four schools. Special education needs provision is provided within the schools and the proportion of students receiving this is in line with the national average. Due to the location of the schools, the number of students with English as an additional language is lower than the national average.

Plans for the future

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

  • Educational achievement – to continue to raise standards and results across the trust
  • Financial stability – to remain financially stable under tight budgetary constraints whilst also developing sustainable processes
  • Growth – managing the growth of the trust at a rate that ensures even greater economies of scale without compromising the quality of education provided
  • In the longer term, the trust aims to continue its growth whilst building up the skills needed to do so within the central team.

Trust ethos & values

The trust believes that as a group of local schools, there are many benefits of working together due to the strength of collaboration. The trust values honesty, openness, humility and generosity. Young people come first for the trust and are all able to succeed, given high quality education and opportunity.

Role summary

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, all trustee appointments would 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 (candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below):
    • HR
    • Legal/ Compliance
  • Desirable:
    • Risk
    • Growth Management

Time Commitment

Board meetings are planned well in advanced and adjusted to suit availability. Meetings are bring moved to better suit the current board and will now start at 1730 or 1800 and run for 90-120 minutes. The trust has three subcommittees (Audit, Finance & Resources, Quality and Standards); trustees may be invited to attend one of these groups. The Board generally has three full board meetings a year and each subcommittee tends to meet once each term (i.e. 3 times a year). At critical times an additional (extra-ordinary) meeting is added. This would not normally happen more than once or twice a year. Trustees are expected to set-aside (on average) 4-6 hours per month.

Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at The Lodge, Ripley St Thomas, LA1 4RR

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 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, 1st February 2019

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