Non-executive Director at The Rowan Learning Trust

The Rowan Learning Trust

The Rowan Learning Trust seeks to recruit a non-executive director/trustee with legal skills and/or compliance experience onto their board. The trust currently comprises four academies which provide for children up to the age of 16, including an Alternative Provision Academy. The trust has approval from the Department for Education to take on an additional secondary school in Bury, which has been judged to be inadequate by Ofsted.  Board meetings are normally held in Wigan but occasionally take place in other schools within the Trust.

About the trust

The Rowan Learning Trust was established by the governing body and leadership team of Hawkley Hall High School, following successful school-to-school support over a number of years and across a large number of schools in the Greater Manchester area and further afield. The trust includes Marus Bridge Primary School and many of their children transfer to Hawkley Hall High School for their secondary education.  Kirkby High School in Knowsley also joined the trust after a period of working with the Rowan Learning Trust team.  The trust also runs Three Towers Alternative Provision Academy which operates on two sites in Wigan and serves children of primary and secondary ages that struggle to cope in a mainstream setting.  Many of the children have a range of special needs including social, emotional and behavioral challenges and the staff work with the majority for an intensive period or on a part-time basis to help them reintegrate back into mainstream education. Some pupils with more severe needs are able to stay at the academy for an extended period the team are proud of their successes and the fact the provision has been judged outstanding by ‘Ofsted’.

The trust has been approved (by the DfE) to take-on Prestwich Arts College which was judged as inadequate in May last year.  The Rowan Learning Trust Team are already working with the staff and students and it is hoped the official transfer to the trust will be in spring this year.

The trust was established with a core belief that when schools work together, they are able to accelerate school improvement and deliver even better education and outcomes for all members of the community. The trust currently has around 2,600 students and an income of around £19m (the number of students and income will increase further at the point of Prestwich Arts College joining the trust).

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 1

Role – 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/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 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:


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/Compliance
  • Corporate Governance


  • Risk
  • Growth Management

The trust seeks an experienced professional with skills in the legal/compliance field.  The ideal candidate will have a legal qualification, will help scrutinize the various aspects of compliance and provide broader understanding on the board of information given by its legal advisers when necessary.

The suitable individual should have significant leadership experience and a proven track-record of strategic planning and/or oversight. They must be able to interpret data in all its forms and will have the ability to question and provide challenge.

Time commitment

The Board meets twice in each term;  This equates to 6 full board meetings per year.  Board meetings are always held on Friday mornings starting at 8 am and runs for up to two hours.  This practice has found to be most effective in meeting the work demands of current trustees. The trust also has an Audit Committee which meets three times a year. These meetings can be moved to other times of the week but occasionally coincide to run concurrently with the trust board meetings.  Overall, trustees are expected to allocate, on average, up to six hours per month which would include reading/preparing for meetings (at a time to suit individuals) and for any routine training and follow-up actions.

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