Apr 072020

Non-Executive Director - Vision Multi Academy Trust

CEO/ General Management | Corporate Governance | Growth Management | Human Resources | IT/Technology | Legal/Compliance | Non-executive/Trustee
Deadline date: 10th April 2020

Vision Multi Academy Trust, in the Bury area of Greater Manchester, is made up of three Primary Schools, with a history of collaborative working. As the trust embarks on a period of potential growth, it seeks to add experienced professionals from the business world to help steer and oversee its progress. Board meetings are held at each of their three schools which are close together (within a 2.5 mile radius of each other) in Bury.

About the trust

Vision Multi Academy Trust (MAT), formed in July 2017, is a trust with a cluster of three primary schools working in close partnership. Among the trust academies East Ward Primary School, which has nursery provision and 450 children on role, Higher Lane Primary School and Sunny Bank Primary do not have nursey provision and have 460 and 250 children respectively.

The trust celebrates a history of collaboration and challenge. The schools in the trust have experience of working together on joint curriculum projects, shared CPD, moderation, challenge partners and developing senior and middle leaders. The trust benefits from experienced Headteachers across its academies, who have worked in other Local Authorities and have the capacity within schools to provide school-to-school support.

Each of the trust academies is very different in make-up and each academy faces its own challenges; pupils in the trust come from a number of different backgrounds.

Trust ethos & values

Vision MAT is a community of schools in which the children come first; the trust is proud of each and every young person and strives to create an environment in which they can thrive, flourish and achieve their full potential within a supportive, caring, inclusive environment. In addition, Vision MAT is seeking to be the employer of choice for education professionals in the area.

Plans for the Future

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

  1. Ensuring that there is a strategic vision with a high level of challenge and accountability on its board
  2. Continuing to build capacity throughout the trust so that it can have a strong focus on teaching and learning.
  3. Managing changes, and their implications, to the Ofsted Inspection Framework.
  4. Succession planning - ensuring sufficient recruitment and retention of the very best staff to continue to provide a high level of delivery for the children.

The trust is seeking to develop and grow as a multi academy trust in order to ultimately attract other schools to join it, from different phases and different local authorities.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 4

Role 1 & 2 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

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 to account.

In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

Person Specification

The competencies required for this role include any of below:

  • Desirable (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
    • Growth Management
    • IT
    • HR
    • Succession Planning
    • Legal/Compliance
    • Branding/Marketing
    • Health and Safety
    • General Business Skills

The ideal candidate will be able to draw on their experience of having a senior role in business, commerce, industry or the public sector and apply their skills in the context of education. They should be able to synthesise information from a range of sources and question/ constructively critique various solutions to inform the decision-making process. The strongest candidates will be able to contribute to the trusts strategic planning and will have a keen eye on the strategic goals and challenge and support the executives to ensure individual academies and thus the MAT overall performs well.

Time Commitment

Trust meetings are held THREE times each year (autumn, spring and summer) and are generally held on Tuesdays starting at 6pm with each meeting lasting up to 2 hours. The trust also has two sub-committees (HR & Standards and Finance, Audit & Risk) and trustees may be invited to join one of the two sub-committees. The sub-committees are each held THREE times a year and are scheduled to precede a full trust board meeting (possibly a week or two before). Sub-committee meeting times are flexible to suit the attendees.

The trust is introducing a ‘link trustee’ system where certain trustees are linked to a particular academy and they may be invited to occasional events and to visit the academy to see it working in the normal day. This will allow the Board to see how its polices and decisions impact teachers and children on a daily basis.

There is the potential for trustees to access training as necessary, some of which can be done online. An induction programme will be arranged to meet individual needs and ensure that new trustees are able to grasp the key issues in the trust quickly.

Overall trustee will be expected to devote (on average) up to 6 hours per month to trust business. This would include reading papers etc ahead of meetings and all training and visits.

Role 3 & 4 – Member

A member is able to alter the trust’s Articles of Association and appoint (or remove) trustees/directors 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 strategic expertise required for this role includes:

  • Desirable
    • CEO/General Management
    • Corporate Governance
    • Legal/ Compliance

Time commitment

Members meet three times a year, the main purpose of which is to take updates on progress etc and for members to affirm the trusts’ approaches. Meetings tend to last up to an hour. One meeting runs straight into the Annual General Meeting. Members may also periodically receive papers from other trust meetings which need to be read to keep abreast of the trust’s actions. Altogether a Member may need to allocate up to 5-6 hours per YEAR in total.

Trust Website and location of board meetings

The Trust website is www.visionmat.com

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 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, 10th April, 2020

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.