Board Member

Great Academies Education Trust (GAET)


Great Academies Education Trust seeks two highly skilled and committed business professionals to join the board as Chair and Trustee. The trust serves communities in which there is considerable deprivation and the percentage of learners eligible for the Pupil Premium Grant is high (up to 50%) There are significant number of learners within the trust for whom English is an additional language, particularly at Great Academy Ashton. Thus, the trust seeks to drive improvement in pupil outcomes and develop the highest quality of leadership across all academies.


Accordingly, the trust vision is to have academies where learners are valued as individuals, have the opportunities to achieve highly, and lead strongly so they may develop into confident, responsible and successful young adults. Board meetings are held in the Ashton-under-Lyne area.


About the Trust

Great Academies Education Trust (GAET) is a multi-academy trust (MAT) based across Tameside and Rochdale in Greater Manchester, comprising three secondary academies – Copley Academy, Middleton Technology School and Great Academy Ashton - and one primary academy, Silver Springs Primary Academy.


The trust was originally sponsored by New Charter Group, a housing association that provides nearly 20,000 homes, mainly in Greater Manchester. The Group was part of a merger in 2018 and it was at the point that the MAT became a stand-alone trust.


The newly appointed Trust CEO is proving highly effective and a number of aspects of trust development has already been undertaken. The new Chair and Trustee will come into a fully supported role with systems and processes already in place.


The GAET Board comprises representatives with significant expertise in senior roles in business, finance and education, who have the capacity to hold the executive leaders and the academies of the trust to account for educational achievement and for a range of other measures that enable it to uphold the ethos of GAET. The trust has exercised prudent financial management and currently has a comfortable reserve on which to draw if necessary.


The Board of Directors holds overall and ultimate responsibility, not only for legislative compliance but also for attainment and progress. The central team comprises a school improvement arm, governance, finance and estates, ICT, HR support, payroll and legal.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 2


Role 1 – 1 x Chair


The Chair leads the board of non-executive directors, or trustees, managing its business while providing an element of leadership for the organisation as a whole. The role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team, most specifically the CEO. The Chair needs to ensure that the board is able to deal with problems and related proposals professionally, both in terms of the skills of the trustees and the way in which it conducts its business. S/he will have a key role to play in recruiting and inducting new trustees.

The Chair also provides strategic leadership and governance for the trust. They are responsible for the safeguarding and education of pupils, as well as for setting and monitoring performance benchmarks.

Person specification

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)

  • Gravitas and ability to guide and lead
  • CEO/Chair
  • Build chemistry with the Exec and Board
  • Growth/Change Management
  • Time and ability to engage with the schools and management
  • Represent the organisation externally


  • Non-executive/ Trustee
  • Corporate Governance
  • Financial Control and Risk Management


Role 2 – 1 x Trustee


Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the multi-academy trust. Sitting as a trustee / non-executive director, the board works collectively with the trustees and CEO to:

  • Set strategic direction, oversee governance and scrutinise plans for growth;
  • Ensure financial stewardship and risk mitigation;
  • Improve the performance of the schools including the progress of their pupils;
  • Hold the CEO and executive team to account;


For this role the trust is seeking someone with significant experience of senior leadership/executive work and a proven track record in developing strong professional relationships whilst holding senior leaders to account.  Previous experience of working with a trust and a knowledge of corporate governance would be a distinct advantage, along with evidence of experience in strategic thinking and change management.knowledge of the current finance reporting and regulatory framework.


The competencies required for this role include:



  • CEO/General Management
  • Risk
  • Strategic
  • Finance / knowledge of finance reporting


  • Legal/ Compliance
  • Succession Planning
  • Growth Management
  • Corporate Governance




Person Specification

The ideal candidate will have a proven record in corporate governance and senior level experience from a medium/large organisation, such as CEO/MD.


The trust seeks an individual with a focus on sustainable growth and development of business support. The candidate should demonstrate a strong grasp of risk, the ability to deliver strategically, and make a significant contribution to strategy and organisational objectives.


Time Commitment

The Board currently meets 4 times per year and meetings tend to be held on Wednesdays at 6pm for up to 2 hours.  The Board also has subcommittees to oversee more detail on finance and educational outcomes and trustees are invited to join one of the subcommittees. Subcommittees tend to meet ahead of the Board meetings. A trustee taking the role of chair would also be expected to have regular contact with the CEO.


The trust will provide a programme of induction and there is an existing programme of regular training which can be accessed depending on need.


Trustees are expected to commit 4-6 hours per month on average.  A trustee taking the chair role might expect to spend 5-7 hours per month on average. 



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