Non-Executive Director at Ponteland Academy Trust
Ponteland Academy Trust
Ponteland Academy Trust is a multi-academy trust with aspirations to grow and develop its offering over the next 12-18 months. With this in mind, it seeks to recruit to its board, bringing particular skills, knowledge and experience from the finance sector, as well as a track record in change management. Board meetings are held at Ponteland Community Middle School, Northumberland.
About the trust
The trust currently comprises a single school – the 600-pupil Ponteland Community Middle School (PCMS) - in a multi-academy trust, formed in September 2017.
The school was given an academy order by the Department for Education in March 2016 after the Local Authority earmarked it for closure during a consultation to move from a three- to two-tier system of education.
PCMS is a Teaching School and has alliances with a number of schools across the north-east. The school has regularly topped performance league tables and in 2018 was named 25th in the country in The Times School League Tables of top primary schools, having moved from 111th the previous year. The school also has one of the largest cohorts entering the SATS tests in the country, with 150 pupils sitting the tests each year.
Ofsted rated PCMS as ‘Outstanding’ in 2008 and again in 2013. The school is a Platinum Sportsmark School and offers an exceptional range of extracurricular activities, including sports clubs, school trips/visits, languages and peripatetic music lessons. The trust has freehold of a large site with spacious buildings including a Sports Hall, fully fitted Design Technology room, science labs, art room and food technology room.
Currently a Middle School, PCMS is at the beginning of a transition to become a primary school. This will be a one-form entry primary with attached nursery. The current years 7 and 8 are to be phased out and the full age range of primary admissions will commence in 2020. The school is looking to join a MAT and is developing partnerships with surrounding schools with this objective firmly in mind.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- Managing transition - the trust will be undertaking a period of transition as it becomes a primary-focused organisation. Inherent in this will be a period of fluctuating pupil numbers in mixed year groups, raising issues of uncertain finance, staff retention and marketing;
- Model delivery - the trust will strive to deliver a successful primary model, based on best practice and retaining the current school's ethos, values and culture whilst delivering for a lower age group of children; this process will be carefully managed to ensure the outcomes of students are not unduly or negatively impacted;
- Expansion - the trust will be required to develop and grow as a multi-academy trust, including potentially joining another, pre-existing MAT, in order to provide the benefits that come from being part of a larger organisation. This prospective expansion is an area of focus for the trust’s board of directors.
Over the medium-term, the trust recognises the importance of fitting in with the local two-tier education system and its vision incorporates this, with the move to primary-focused education ensuring the long term success and stability of the school, and that of any other schools that join the trust in due course.
Trust ethos & values
The trust takes as its vision the following paraphrasing from St. John’s Gospel:
‘… in order that they may have life and have it abundantly.’ (John 10:10)
More information about the trust’s ethos and values is available here: http://ponteland.academy/about/
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. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with 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.
The competencies required for this role include:
Essential (candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)
- CFO/Finance or
- HR or
- Change Management
- Real estate/Property
- Corporate Governance
- Legal/ Compliance
- Growth Management
Awareness of, and willingness to adhere to, the Nolan Principles of Public Life are essential.
8 hours per month minimum.
Location of board meetings and trust website
Board meetings are held at Ponteland Community Middle School, Callerton Lane, Ponteland, NE20 9EY.
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.
“Academy 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 by clicking on Apply. 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: Friday, 9th August 2019