Jun 222020

2 Non-Executive Directors/Trustees - The Pinnacle Learning Trust

Audit | Chair | Committee member | Corporate Governance | Growth Management | Non-Executive/Trustee | Organisational Development | Risk
Deadline date: 3rd July 2020

The Pinnacle Learning Trust seeks to recruit two new Trustees/non-executive directors to their experienced board. The Trust welcomes candidates with a range of skills but is particularly keen to secure someone with a professional understanding of risk with a view to becoming the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee. Both Trustees will play a significant role in further developing the Trust’s strategy and potential growth. Board meetings are held in the Oldham area.

About the Trust

The Pinnacle Learning Trust was developed through the long-standing, strong and effective relationship between The Hathershaw College and Oldham Sixth Form College (OSFC), with Werneth Primary School joining the Trust in February 2019. Going forward the board aims to implement a carefully managed Trust growth strategy in line with its mission, vision and values and strategic improvement plan.

The Trust’s academies serve families from the full spectrum of backgrounds but many are deemed disadvantaged with a high proportion of children from families which speak English as an additional language.

The Trust was established in order to build upon a shared belief that young people in Oldham and the surrounding area should have access to excellent educational provision and to provide new and additional ways in which the community can further improve on its strengths and provide support to other schools, both within and beyond the Trust.

Whilst the Trust may appear small, only having three academies, it provides for around 3,900 pupils from the full 3-18 age range: it employs over 400 staff and has a budget of almost £21m, and thus involves more people and has a larger income than many Trusts with far more academies.

Plans for the future

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

  1. Securing improvement at Werneth Primary School and ensuring ongoing success at Hathershaw and OSFC
  2. Securing the Trust’s growth strategy whilst managing associated risks
  3. Balancing the support and challenge to new senior leaders in the Trust’s academies

Currently the Trust is planning for the re-opening of all three academies after the lock-down during the Covid-19 Pandemic and this is assuming the greatest priority

Trust ethos & values

The Trust’s mission is to improve the lives and life chances of young people in Oldham and the local area. In order to achieve this, it is committed to continuing to raise aspirations and achievement across all of its academies through the development of outstanding practice based on partnership.

URL to full mission statement http://www.pinnaclelearningTrust.org.uk/vision-values/

Please also see the Trust’s latest Annual Report which can be found here: http://www.pinnaclelearningTrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Docs/Company_Info/Annual_Report_2019.pdf

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2

  • Role 1 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director
  • Role 2 - Trustee/Non-Executive Director with potential to become Audit & Risk Committee Chair

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 are 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 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

Role 1: Trustee/Non-Executive Director

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

  • Essential
    • Business Growth
    • Strategic
    • Corporate Governance
  • Desirable
    • Real Estate/Property
    • Branding/Marketing
    • Risk
    • Non-Executive Director

The Trust is keen to speak to senior business leaders that have grown a business over time and with proven success. The board is seeking to develop the range of skills available in property or marketing but whilst these would be desirable they are not essential as generic business skills will be in greater demand.

Role 2: Trustee/Non-Executive Director/Audit & Risk Committee Chair

The strategic expertise required for this role includes:

  • Essential
    • Chair
    • Audit
    • Risk
  • Desirable
    • Corporate Governance
    • Strategic
    • CFO/Finance

The Trust seeks an individual to become a non-executive director with the clear potential to take over as Chair of the Audit and Risk committee This Committee forms a critical part of the overall framework of corporate governance and provides more detailed scrutiny of the risks and approaches and ensures compliance with various regulations set out by the Department for Education and the Education & Skills Funding Agency. In addition to attending the full Trust Board meetings, there are three Audit & Risk sub-committee meetings throughout the academic year providing feedback to the Trust board. The focus will be on ensuring there is an adequate and effective risk management and assurance framework in place. Successful experience of either chairing or operating within a board is desired.

The Trust has recently appointed a new Chief Financial Officer and, historically, the finances have been well managed. The Trust, and all its academies, operate within agreed budgets and there is a comfortable surplus. Nevertheless, the Trusts seeks an individual with the knowledge and experience to provide appropriate challenge with good listening skills and an eye for detail. The successful candidate is likely to have experience of managing/working across multiple sites and be familiar with audit and strategic risk management systems and procedures.

Time commitment

The Trust board meets five times a year (October, December, February, May and July) with an additional AGM in the spring. The Trust has three subcommittees (Audit & Risk; Finance & Resources; Remuneration) which report to the Board and each academy also reports to a local governing body. The Audit & Risk and Finance & Resources committees both have three meetings (autumn, spring and summer) and Remuneration meets as and when required. All Trustees are invited to sit on either Audit & Risk or Finance & Resources. All meetings are planned well in advance and are always scheduled for Tuesdays or Wednesdays and start at 5pm. During the Covid-19 lockdown, the Trust has met over video-conference.

The Trust will devise a bespoke program of induction for new Trustees to support the ongoing routine training provided for the board.

Overall, Trustees will need to be able to devote (on average) around six hours per month for Trust business which will include reading papers, etc ahead of meetings.

Location of board meetings and Trust website

The Hathershaw College, Bellfield Avenue, Oldham, OL8 3EP


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 'register your interest' and send your CV and a short expression of interest detailing which role you are applying for. 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.

Key dates

  • Deadline for applications: Friday 3rd July 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.

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