Feb 242020
 

Non-Executive Directors - The Dover Federation for the Arts Multi Academy Trust (DFAMAT)

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND AND SOUTH LONDON | DOVER
Audit, Branding/Marketing, Chair, Change Management, Corporate Governance, Education Leadership, Human Resources, Non-Executive/Trustee, Restructuring, Risk
Deadline date: 25th March 2020

The Dover Federation for the Arts Multi Academy Trust is based across Dover. The trust seeks four new trustees, two of whom will ideally have previous experience as competent chairs at committee or board level. One new member is also required to support and challenge the executive in respect of the key challenges facing the trust. The trust works to make a positive contribution to the communities it serves, creating strong citizens now and for the future. Trust board meetings are held at the trust office which is based on one of the academy sites in Dover CT170AS.

About the Trust

The Dover Federation for the Arts Multi Academy Trust (MAT) has 4 academies located in south-east Kent with 1,400 pupils in total on roll and 240 staff. The trust receives revenue income of 9.7 million pounds across all key stages. Trust schools include Nursery, Infant, Junior and Secondary. This includes a range of Ofsted results: Astor College, Requires Improvement; Barton Junior School, Good; Shatterlocks Infant School, Outstanding; White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts, Good which also runs Pebbles Nursery which is graded Outstanding.

The trust has a high percentage of English as another language and free school meal students and high social deprivation levels. The secondary school operates within an area where there are selective grammar schools, which makes hitting national targets for standards very challenging. However, the trust often exceeds these targets and believes fervently that all children deserve excellence in teaching and learning, regardless of ability, aptitude and background.

All schools in the trust serve disadvantaged communities with a significantly higher percentage of children eligible for pupil premium. (Astor 48%, Barton 44%, Shatterlocks 24% and White Cliffs 52%). This funding is used to support individuals to achieve the best outcomes possible.

Many of our families are second or third-generation unemployed and we focus on instilling in pupils a positive attitude and the belief that they can succeed. In the most recent data, every student who left Astor College went into further education, employment or training.

The trust aims to increase the cultural capital of its students by engendering confidence and a love of learning that will persist throughout their lives. The trust believes in the importance and value of the Arts as a key pathway to opening minds at all Key Stages.

Teachers believe in constantly reviewing their professional methodology through the sharing of good practice in order to enhance progress amongst students. Trustees and Governors must encourage and lead the consistency of this process alongside the CEO and the executive leadership team.

The trust is looking to continue to build its budgets to a healthy surplus in the next few years and to ensure that the financial controls which have led to healthy surpluses in the primary schools are replicated across the trust.

To support the vision and core values the trust prides itself on through the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum. This enables the students to develop, not only the core academic knowledge and understanding but important life skills for their future.

Plans for the future

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

  1. Returning the trust budgets to a healthy in-year surplus
  2. Building a strong team for succession planning to sustain robust and engaged governance. Strengthening capacity in governance, leadership, school improvement and central services.
  3. Raising the intake for each of the Trust schools.

The trust’s plans include re-branding and raising the trust's profile through engaging in the community. Trustees are already developing the trust assets; these improvements are taking place over phased building and maintenance programmes. The outcome is expected to enhance the trust’s school improvement capacity in order for it to be deployed more widely in the community.

Trust ethos & values

As a family of schools, the trust works collaboratively to celebrate and nurture the uniqueness of all pupils. Through outstanding leadership, pastoral care, academic challenge and inspirational teaching all children are enabled to flourish, succeed and make a positive contribution to the communities they serve, creating strong citizens now and for the future.

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 5

Role 1 – Member

The members are a collective whose responsibilities include making alterations to the trust’s Articles of Association and appointing (or removing) trustees 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. The members hold the trustees to account to ensure the charitable objects of the trust are upheld and that the trust remains a going concern. Members also appoint the external auditors on the recommendation by the Chairman of trustees. At the Dover Federation for the Arts MAT members are expected to be signatories for the academy trust, to attend one meeting per year, and to add to the skillset within the existing team of members.

Person specification

A new independent member is required. The trust would welcome application from individuals experienced in MAT governance, chairing and ability to follow the remit of a member by holding the chairman of the trust to account within the limits of the members’ remit. This is an urgent appointment after a sudden retirement.

The competencies required for this role include:

  • Essential
    • Corporate Governance
    • Chair
    • Risk Management

Role 2– Trustee/Non-Executive Director with HR/Employment Law experience

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust. The core functions of their role are to ensure 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 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)
    • HR/Employment Law
    • Restructuring
    • Compliance
  • Desirable
    • Corporate Governance
    • Driving Change

Person specification

The trust would welcome applications from qualified solicitors, whether working in legal practice or in a corporate context. Applications from candidates with expertise in either employment law or commercial law would be particularly welcome. Alternatively, applicants may have HR director level experience within a corporate context.

Role 3 Trustee/Non-executive director with finance experience

  • Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
    • Audit
    • Chair
    • CFO/ Finance
  • Desirable
    • Qualified Accountant
    • Risk

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.

NED roles that require financial competency 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.

Role 4– Trustee/Non-Executive Director with Current Education Experience/Knowledge

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust. One of the core functions of their role is to hold executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils and the performance management of staff.

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)
    • Standards
    • Curriculum
    • Intent, Implementation, Impact
    • Compliance
  • Desirable
    • Corporate Governance
    • Primary KS1 and KS2
    • Secondary KS3 and KS4
    • 6th Form KS5

Person specification

The trust would welcome applications from those with current experience working within education at any or all of the Key Stages. Applications from candidates with expertise in driving through change, school improvement and raising attainment levels for vulnerable groups would be particularly welcome.

Role 5– Trustee/Non-Executive Director with Marketing/PR and/or Managing a positive culture for Change

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust. The core functions of their role are to ensure 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 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)
    • Branding
    • Marketing/PR
    • Restructuring
    • Compliance
  • Desirable
    • Corporate Governance

Person specification

The trust would welcome applications from those working in publicity, the community, management or with a proven track record of driving through positive growth and change. Applications from candidates with expertise in either Marketing, Design, project management, commercial law or public relations would be particularly welcome. Alternatively, applicants may have director-level experience within a corporate context.

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: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583733/Competency_framework_for_governance_.pdf

NED/Trustee - any skills relevant to growth and development ideal - must have time to commit and be flexible in their approach. 6 - 8 meetings/year along with training and strategy days/evenings.

Role spec: Any expertise above would be ideal and can be developed into the NED role required for succession planning.

Time commitment

6 hours /month minimum.

Location of board meetings and Trust website

Meetings take place in the Boardroom based at the Trust Office CT170AS

https://www.dfamat.com/

Governance structure

https://www.dfamat.com/model-of-governance/

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.

Applications

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.

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