Non-Executive Director X 3
Aspire Academies Trust (AAT)
Aspire Academies Trust is a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) of six primary schools based in Hertfordshire.
Aspire seeks three non-executive directors with backgrounds in legal, marketing and communications, or founding or leading a business (including with mergers and acquisitions expertise), to support its vision and the development of its future strategy.
Board meetings rotate between all six schools with the trust registered in Bovingdon, Hertfordshire.
About the trust
Aspire Academies Trust was established as a multi-academy trust (MAT) in September 2014 to bring together three primary schools in Hertfordshire. Prior to becoming Aspire, Bovingdon Primary Academy (Hemel area) and Hammond Academy (Hemel) had established the West Herts Trust in order to sponsor the Grove Academy (Watford), an underperforming local provision. Since then it has taken on a further three primary schools.
The trust has a collaborative ethos and aims to share best practice, expertise and resources across its schools. Each school retains its own individual identity, however, in order that they can best serve their own, distinct groups of students and communities. The Trust is open to taking on additional schools in the future but is currently working to build its capacity in order to ensure standards are maintained and continuously improving in each of its member schools. The Trust runs a highly successful Teaching School offering outstanding practice to all schools locally.
Bovingdon and Hammond Academies both achieved ‘Outstanding’ ratings at their last Ofsted inspections and are designated National Support Schools. The Grove Academy moved from the category of ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’ in June 2016. Bedmond Academy is a sponsored academy, as it is in a special Ofsted category and Broadfield Academy and Knutsford Primary Academy are ‘Requires Improvement’.
Vicky Parsey is the CEO of the trust. She is a National Leader of Education (NLE) with 20 years’ experience as a head teacher and is also an Ofsted inspector and a qualified Executive Coach.
Alumni of the trust schools include Anthony Joshua.
Plans for the future
1. Build the capacity for further expansion. The trust is currently building up its capacity to grow by further developing its back office functions. It already has a CFO/COO, a Senior Finance Officer and two additional finance officers, a Senior HR Officer, a Catering Manager, a Senior Operations and Compliance Officer and a Premises Officer. In the future they expect to recruit a Senior Marketing and Communications Officer.
Within the education sector of the trust an Executive Principal was appointed in September 2018 to support the CEO and the academies within the Trust.
2. Managed Expansion. Aspire is currently in conversation with local schools and hopes to be able to share its model and vision by having other local schools join the trust in the near future. The trust aims to grow sustainably by collaborating with local good and outstanding schools and raising standards within its academies before it takes on any more underperforming schools.
The trust is open to adding further schools of any kind (e.g. secondary, special etc) but will ensure it only grows by schools who feel Aspire can offer what their pupils, staff and community need. The trust is currently working on their MAT ‘offer’ in order to guarantee that any school joining the trust is aligned in terms of their ethos, values and vision for the future.
Trust ethos & values
The trust is based on a collaborative ethos with individual autonomy in each school. All schools work in partnership, sharing best practice, resources and expertise with the aim of delivering a first class education to all pupils. However, it is strongly understood that each school has its own individual identity and work in different community settings.
Both Hammond, Broadfield, Bedmond and The Grove Academies serve areas of social deprivation. Nevertheless, Aspire believes that with strong leadership and a sharing of expertise, all children can be offered the best possible education. The trust aims to improve the life chances of all pupils within the Trust’s schools as well as of children and parents within the wider community.
Number of positions advertised:
Roles 1-3 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director
Aspire is currently looking to recruit three non-executive directors to sit on their central MAT board. One NED should have a background in legal, one in marketing and communications and finally one should have experience of leading a business and managing change.
All three non-executives will be expected to offer support and independent challenge to the CEO and senior leadership team. The best candidate will be someone who thinks outside the box and who is open-minded about how the education landscape is changing and the possibilities this brings. The non-executive directors will be expected to play a proactive role and take responsibility for decisions and actions taken by the the whole board.
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.
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
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)
- Legal OR
- Marketing OR
- Entrepreneur/ Founder
- Growth management
- Change management
- Corporate Governance
- CEO/General Management
Role 1 - Legal background: Aspire has a COO/CFO and a Senior HR Officer who both deal with legal issues. The Trust uses the professional services of Stone King. The NED will be expected to offer support and challenge to the CFO/COO and Senior HR Officer.
Role 2 - Marketing and Communications: The preferred candidate should have expertise of leading marketing and communications and be willing to offer support and challenge to the Trust.
Role 3 - Experience of founding or leading a business: The preferred candidate should have expertise of building a strategy and managing change to support Aspire to develop its future plan. Experience of procurement and operating across multiple sites would be advantageous, as would experience of
4-8 Hours/month minimum. Aspire offers an induction to all new board members and aims to offer further training once every two months. The Trust meets 6 times a year one of which is a whole day strategic meeting.
Location of board meetings and trust website
Board meetings rotate around the 6 schools to allow trustees to send time in each of the schools.
High Street, Bovingdon, Hertfordshire, HP3 0HL
- Chair of the board – Works in finance
- Vice chair of the board – HR background, previously with BT
- CEO - Vicky Parsey
- Non-executive: Solicitor
- Non-executive: Works in premises related role
- Non-executive: Education background
- Non-executive: Experience in Local Parish and the local community
Education Board - CEO meets fortnightly with the Principals of each school
School Business Managers meeting – CFO/COO, Senior Finance and HR Officers with SBM
Chair’s meeting – Chairs of Local Advisory Bodies of each school.
In the future, Aspire plans to set up a staff representation body.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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: 29th November 2019