Feb 232018

Non-Executive Director x 2 - The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT)

South West England | Weston Super Mare
Change Management Corporate Governance Growth Management Human Resources Legal/Compliance
Deadline date: 9th March 2018

The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT) is seeking up to two non-executive directors with expertise in HR/Organisation design, or legal skills and with experience of growth and/or change management to join this growing trust. Board meetings are held in Weston super Mare (BS22 6BP).

About the trust

The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT) is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) which supports primary and secondary schools in the North Somerset area of the South West of England. The trust started in August 2016 and currently comprises of two secondary schools:

  • Priory Community School (PCSA) is an Academy in Worle, a suburb of Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset. Students are aged 11 to 16. OfSTED rated Priory 'outstanding' in all categories in November 2014. Currently, there are 1,275 students on roll. First choice applications went up by 9% for 2018 entry with a new PAN set at 1,500.
  • Worle Community School is a coeducational foundation secondary school located in Worle, a suburb of Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset for ages 11 to 16. There are currently 1,490 students at the school. First choice applications went up by 14% for the 2018 entry.

Two primary schools in Weston-super-Mare that have close connections with the existing secondary schools and intend to join the trust in April 2018. This will bring the trust up to around 3800 students with an annual revenue of c. £16.6m and 529 staff.

There are plans for a further secondary school (11-19) and a further primary school to join the rust in the next academic year (October 2018). This will bring the number of students up to around 5,000. Further conversations with other potential schools that may explore joining TPLT are also taking place, and there may be opportunities to explore mergers with other trusts locally.

Plans for the Future

With fast moving plans for growth – the need for capacity is everything in academy trusts. The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. Managing effective growth: The trust will need to consider developing and or bringing in additional leaders and school improvement capacity, developing trust services and ‘scaling up’. This will also require re-educating staff at all levels from ‘school’ level thinking to trust/multi-school thinking, attracting other ‘good’ schools to join the trust to support capacity development. The trust will also review the governance and wider trust operations, this may well also include opportunities to develop a hub model as the growth plans move forward.
  2. Improvement: TPLT has ‘turned around’ one school that was in ‘Special Measures’ with a 14% improvement in the ‘basics’ outcome this year. They are two schools joining the trust where educational standards need to be addressed and must ensure the outstanding school remains highly effective.
  3. Succession: The trust have had good outcomes by ‘growing its own’ but need to consider succession planning further and avoid relying on key figures. They have a Teaching School Alliance. In 2018-19 they will have 33 School Direct places.

Trust Ethos & Values

"STUDENTS FIRST" underpins all TPLT does. Its’ mission is to develop happy, confident and successful young people. It focuses on respect for each other, fair access and opportunity, maximizing potential for students and staff. Please see http://www.priorylearningtrust.org.uk/our-values.php for more information.

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. Trustees are decision makers and are responsible for advising and holding the Executive Principal and COO to account.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • HR / Organisation Development OR
  • Legal / Compliance
  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance
  • Change Management
  • Growth Management


  • Chair
  • IT/Technology
  • Risk
  • Estates planning / H&S

Person specification

This is an exciting and dynamic time for the trust. TPLT welcomes applicants with experience of operating at scale from the commercial, charity and public sectors (rather than education) world that can support the trust as it grows. The Priory Learning Trust is seeking candidates with strategic planning skills, who have the ability to take on large amounts of data and quickly cut to the key issues.

  • For the HR/OD experienced skill set – candidates should have experience of managing teams of employees, experience of change management and growth management.
  • For the Legal experienced skill set – candidates should be able to advise and guide the trust on all matters of compliance.

The trust would also welcome candidates with knowledge of safeguarding. There will be opportunities for successful candidates to explore succession planning towards the Chair of trustee role, as well as for leading the trust board in particular areas of focus – such as strategic estate planning to support growth, or possible future board committee chair roles.

Successful candidates are not required to be practicing Christians or to attend church regularly but, in light of the trust’s plans to include Church schools within the trust, all Directors are required to support the Christian ethos of Church schools. The trust would also be interested in meeting candidates who may meet the Foundation Trustee criteria.

Time commitment

6 hours /month minimum.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Board meetings are held at Priory Community School, Queensway, Worle, Weston super Mare BS22 6BP

Please find out more at the trust’s website: http://www.priorylearningtrust.org.uk/

Governance Structure

The current structure of governance is available on the website: http://www.priorylearningtrust.org.uk/members.php.

The trust board currently meets formally 3 times per year and additionally as required for ‘special’ requirements, such as the due diligence review of a school proposing to join the trust. There is one Resources (Finance and Estates) committee of the main board and a Pay and Remuneration sub-committee. Going forward the governance model is being reviewed to both adjust its model to enable it to support Church schools that will join the trust, and to ensure its continued effectiveness as the trust grows.

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 72% of secondary schools and 27% 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 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 9th March 2018

Interviews: following shortlisting, interviews are likely to be held in mid-late April

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