Mar 072018

Non-Executive Director x 3 - South Suffolk Learning Trust

Human Resources Legal/Compliance Property/Estate management
Deadline date: 16th March 2018

South Suffolk Learning Trust, a newly established partnership of three high schools based in South Suffolk, seeks three new board members. Board meetings are held at multiple locations in Claydon, East Bergholt and Hadleigh.

About the trust

The South Suffolk Learning Trust (SSLT) was formed in June 2017, incorporating three Ofsted Good high schools that aspire to be Outstanding. The trust was established in the belief that by working together all the schools in the multi-academy trust will support each other to improve yet further by sharing best practice in teaching and learning. The schools currently work closely together with the head teachers, leading collaborative work based on school improvement.

The trust is made up of a group of three semi-rural, 11-16 schools:

  • Claydon High School – Roll 709
  • East Bergholt High School – Roll 924
  • Hadleigh High School – Roll 730

All three of the schools have low English as an additional language, special educational needs and disadvantaged pupil numbers but the semi-rural locations bring their own challenges to overcome.

The trust’s board is currently made up of three local governors and four independent individuals. The trust wishes to recruit additional trustees to broaden and deepen the skill sets on their board to bring a new perspective to their work.

The trust plans to grow by forming a primary hub based on feeder primary schools. The governors of Claydon Primary School have agreed to join the trust during the summer term 2018. It is anticipated that other primary schools will join the trust during the academic year 2018 – 2019.

As the trust CEO has experience of moving schools from Ofsted Requires Improvement to Good, the trust is currently applying to the DfE for sponsorship rights to enable it to support schools that require improvement.

Plans for the Future

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

  1. Establishing accountability frameworks and new ways of working;
  2. Growing organically and extracting economies of scale through growth;
  3. Moving Good schools to Outstanding;
  4. Developing governance structures that support a multi-academy trust that grows in a sustainable fashion.

Trust ethos & values

The South Suffolk Learning Trust’s vision is to provide an excellent education for the young people in their learning community through highly effective collaboration, based upon mutual challenge and support. All learners in their trust will be challenged and supported to be the best that they can with a passion for lifelong learning.

The trust believes that developing the attributes below in all members of their learning community is essential in achieving their vision:

  • Resilience
  • Creativity
  • Integrity
  • Respect, tolerance and empathy
  • A positive attitude and passion for learning
  • Excellent communication skills
  • The expertise to collaborate

The confidence to learn independently

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 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.

The trust seeks trustees who have board experience and an understanding of change management in supporting individuals and groups to remain empowered whilst working within a new system of accountability. Key responsibilities would be supporting the chair, committee chairs and CEOto take the trust forward to be highly effective. Trustees will also be expected to be a key player on the trust's Resources or Standards Committee.

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential – either:

  • HR OR
  • Legal/ Compliance OR
  • Real estate/ Property


  • Change Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Growth Management
  • Risk

Person specification

  • HR: the trust is keen to appoint a non-executive director with a background in Human Resources, preferably with experience in change management, organisational development, restructuring and turnaround.
  • Legal/ Compliance: the trusts would welcome applicants with legal experience to support them in ensuring they are fully compliant with all legal and regulatory requirements and reflect best practice in doing so.
  • Real estate/ Property: the ideal candidate for this role will have experience of asset management within a property portfolio, or estate/ facilities management expertise.

Time commitment

6-8 hours /month minimum. There are 5/6 board meetings and 6 sub-committee meetings per year. Trustees will sit on either the Resources or Standards sub committees. There will also be opportunities to join sub committees that meet less frequently such as performance management, nominations & governance and appointments committee.

Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Board meetings will be held at:

  • Hadleigh High School, High Lands Road, Hadleigh, Ipswich, IP7 5HU
  • East Bergholt High School, Heath Road, East Bergholt, Colchester, CO7 6RJ
  • Claydon High School, Church Lane, Claydon, Ipswich, IP6 0EG

The trust website can be found at:

Governance Structure

For the governance structure please see:

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 71% of secondary schools and 26% 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 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: 16th March 2018

Interviews: TBC

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