The Oak Partnership Trust
The Oak Partnership Trust is an outward facing organisation which identifies and develops talent (from apprentice to CEO) and values collaborative working with other education providers to improve the life chances for most disadvantaged in its local community. The trust aims to grow from 4 to 10 schools in the next five years and seeks a new Trustee/ Non-Executive Director with financial, audit, compliance/legal and/or change/restructure expertise to strengthen its board. Board meetings are held at the Hazelbrook Campus of Selworthy Special School in Taunton. The trust welcomes applicants of all faiths or none.
About the trust
The Oak Partnership Multi Academy Trust was formed on 1st January 2019. Its founder member schools are three primary schools (Blackbrook Community Primary School, Ruishton CofE Primary School and West Monkton CofE Primary School) and one all-through special school (Selworthy Special School). All four schools were inspected by Ofsted in 2018 and were rated Good. In total the trust currently accommodates over 1000 learners, over 260 staff and has a combined income in excess of £7m.
The region in which The Oak Partnership is located is at the heart of one of the biggest and fastest growing housing developments in the South West, located along the M5 corridor. There are pockets of high deprivation within these catchments and the trust is facing the challenge of encouraging aspiration amongst all within its community. It hopes to be a catalyst for higher standards and improved outcomes for all its pupils, therefore enhancing life chances and social mobility throughout the region.
Plans for the future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- School Improvement: establishing The Oak Partnership Trust has a clear School Improvement strategy which ensures that high standards are achieved and maintained in all Academy Schools and settings. Trust leaders are proactive in identifying and development talent at all levels within and beyond the trust via the Taunton Learning Partnership and are currently developing programmes underpinned by research. Cross-trust school improvement strategies will look to utilise leaders and specialist staff to build capacity and deliver impact where it’s needed most.
- Finance: Meeting the financial challenges of ensuring that The Oak Partnership not only remains viable but is also in a position to grow sustainably whilst delivering improved standards and outcomes for pupils. In total the trust accommodates over 2000 pupils, 260 staff and has a combined income in excess of £7m
- Growth: To establish a growth strategy to increase the number of schools within the Trust from 4 to 10 in the next five years. In line with its vision, the trust is looking to attract other schools rated good or better by Ofsted but equally to sponsor struggling schools in the region to support the most vulnerable children and families in its local communities.
Trust ethos & values
The Oak Partnership aims to inspire children to be lifelong learners. All that follows is underpinned by the expectation that all trust schools create a rich and varied curriculum that excites and inspires, giving children a love of learning new things. The Oak Partnership provides support to its school leaders and challenges them to consistently reach the highest standards, ensuring that all children make good progress regardless of their starting point. As a community of schools, the trust believes in developing great teaching, sharing best practice and creating stimulating learning environments for all its pupils.
Role summary Trustee/Non-Executive Director
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 directors manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The board of directors also ensures 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.
In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.
The successful applicant must have a commitment to the values of The Oak Partnership. As experienced business leaders and strategic planners, they will have the ability and determination to adapt and transfer their experience to an educational setting. They will have a willingness to devote time, an understanding of the legal duties and liabilities of trusteeship and the ability to challenge, evaluate and interpret information.
All trustees are expected to play a strategic role in successfully affecting change. Successful applicants will have an eagerness to reflect and learn and will uphold the seven principles of public life.
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 (candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below):
- CFO/Finance or Qualified accountant OR
- Audit OR
- Change Management / Restructure
- Growth Management
- Entrepreneur/ Founder
- CEO/General Management
As a newly formed trust with plans to grow, The Oak Partnership seeks experienced individuals with a strong financial background. The successful individuals will bring scrutiny and challenge to the Trust Board, providing strategic oversight of the legal policies and processes of the trust.
6 hours per month minimum.
Location of board meetings
Board meetings are held at West Monkton CE Primary School, Bridgwater Road, Taunton, TA2 8FT.
Trust website and Governance structure
Guardians of the constitution; four Members, including one appointed by the Diocese, with power to appoint or remove directors.
Twelve Directors, accountable to the Members, Secretary of State, Diocese, parents, pupils and wider community; balance of skills, including financial, legal and HR as well as a passion for education.
Local Governing Committee
Clear delegated responsibility and decision making ability; allowing each school to retain individuality within the partnership.
Appointed by and accountable to the Directors; providing leadership and direction, ensuring viability and accountability, overseeing improvement and growth; building networks beyond The Oak Partnership.
Strategic Leadership Team
Consisting of the Heads of the Academy Schools and the Executive Headteacher; providing the collaborative strategic direction for the Multi Academy Trusts development.
Consisting of subject leaders from all Academy Schools; ensuring that Multi Academy Trust developments are driven from the ground up.
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.
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 –
Interview process: An informal interview with the Chair and CEO prior to recommending an appointment to Members.
Deadline for applications: 29 November 2019