Non-Executive Director - The Danes Educational Trust

The Danes Educational Trust in Hertfordshire currently comprises four secondary schools, with plans to grow to six schools by the end of the 2019/20 academic year. It has proven expertise in school improvement, with its founding school, St Clement Danes, leading the Herts and Bucks Teaching School Alliance and Regional Science Learning Partnership. The trust now seeks to recruit additional trustees with expertise in Estates/Property and Senior Leadership in business to join the experienced trust board.  Board meetings are held in one of the schools of the trust in Hertfordshire.

About the trust

The Danes Educational Trust was established as a multi-academy trust in June 2016, with St Clement Danes School, rated Outstanding by Ofsted, and Croxley Danes School a new school established by St Clement Danes in response to a need for extra school places in south west Hertfordshire. Croxley Danes School, 11 to 18 secondary school, was opened in September 2017 with Year 7 students and will grow year on year. It is a popular and oversubscribed and it will move to its new permanent accommodation in Croxley Green, Hertfordshire in spring 2020. In 2019 Chancellor's School in Brookmans Park, near Potters Bar and Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield also joined the Trust. The Trust has clear strategic growth plans, with two more schools planned to join in 2020.

The trust’s reputation in supporting and turning schools round is widely acknowledged to be exemplary. The CEO is a National Leader of Education and an acclaimed educationalist who has pioneered education innovation and school improvement.

The trust is fortunate to have a highly effective and talented Central Services Team which covers the areas of School Improvement, Finance, Resources, HR, IT, Comms & Marketing. The Central Services has been intelligently built and provides an efficient, value for money, service for the schools and the trust.

The vision and ethos of the trust has been well thought out and has involved stakeholders in its synthesis. In addition the trust’s Strategic Plan is ambitious and achievable and it is known and owned by those who work in the trust. A great deal of thought has been given to the levels of delegation, policies, procedures and the all-important school improvement process.

Plans for the future

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

  1. Managing growth to ensure a consistent educational approach across all the schools as they join
  2. Effective communication so as to ensure all schools feel part of the trust and stakeholder relationships are managed effectively.
  3. Maintaining financial strength and growing the central services team at the right pace to ensure adequate service delivery without excessive expenditure.
  4. Further growth – further expansion is planned after a period of consolidation.
     

Trust ethos & values

Core principles

  • We value joy in working, teaching and learning together
  • We encourage everyone within our Trust to feel optimistic about the future and how they can shape it
  • We support all individuals in developing resilience to enable them to respond to change and grow as a result
  • We value and support the wellbeing of all individuals who learn and work in our schools
  • We provide equality of opportunity and experience for all
  • We provide a safe and secure learning environment for all

 

Core Behaviours

We are unified in our Core Behaviours. We display transparency, kindness and respect in all our interactions with others, and support each other in all our endeavours.  We are tenacious in our desire to make the difference together.

Pledges to our Learners

  • We will know you, listen to you and help you to know yourselves
  • We will support you to become successful, active, and independent
  • We want you to be curious, adaptable, creative and courageous
  • We will give you opportunities to reach your potential through taking risks and applying your learning beyond the classroom

Pledges to our Staff

  • We will maintain a face-to-face culture where you are known, valued and supported
  • We will nurture your talent, know your aspirations and provide you with rich, diverse and personalised CPD
  • We will encourage you to develop new initiatives and empower you to take these forward

Pledges to our Community

  • We will work closely with parents/carers, listen to you and take account of your views
  • We will work with governors and the local community to develop strong partnerships that support our families
  • We will work through regional, national and global partnerships to learn from others and share best practice

 

Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 3

Trustees – or non-executive directors - are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; the role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. 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 supporting the CEO whilst holding the CEO/CFO to account.

In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would 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: 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 include:

Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)

  • Corporate Governance
  • Strategic thinking
  • Estates and Property
  • HR
  • Finance

Desirable

  • Growth Management
  • Multi-site operations familiarity
  • Education system experience
  • Chairing experience

Trustee 1 - Business Committee Chair

The trust are seeking an experienced NED to chair our Business Committee which has responsibility for areas including finance and HR.

Trustee 2 - Real Estate and Property

The ideal candidate for this role will have an understanding of issues regarding land, property assets and the ability to support the strategic and operational development of the property portfolio. With the Trust looking to grow, experience of estates/property management across several sites is essential.

Trustee 3 – Senior Leadership

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.

The trust welcomes candidates from any background that have the relevant skills and experience.

Time commitment

6-8 hours per month.

Location of board meetings and trust website

https://www.daneseducationaltrust.org.uk/ 

St Clement Danes School, Chenies Road, Chorleywood, WD3 6EW.

 

Governance structure

https://www.daneseducationaltrust.org.uk/280/governance

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.

Applications

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.

 

 

 


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