Non-Executive Director X 2
St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust (SMCCAT)
SMCCAT seeks new non-executive directors and a Chair of Audit to join its Board of Trustees. With a particular emphasis on organisational growth, change management and restructuring as part of a broad leadership skill set, the trust invites applications from those who with skills in strategy development. Additionally, an individual with extensive past experience in an Audit role is sought – ideally a qualified accountant with risk and corporate governance expertise. Board meetings are held in the York. Applicants of all faiths and of none are welcomed.
About the Trust
The Diocese of Middlesbrough has moved all 54 Diocesan schools into one of three large regional Catholic Multi Academy Trusts (MATs). Two trusts, Nicholas Postgate in the north of the Diocese and St Cuthbert’s in the south, have been formed and are fully operational.
The final trust, St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust (SMCCAT), was formed in June 2019 and by September 2019 will be home to 17 of the 18 schools scheduled to enter the trust. The 17 schools are spread across the Local Authority areas of North Yorkshire, East Riding and York respectively.
The trust has employed a CEO, COO, HR Manager and Education & Catholic Life Standards Directors. Eight of the planned board of twelve directors (trustees) have been appointed. Diocesan trusts must have a ‘plus two’ majority voting position of ‘Foundation Directors’ - practising Catholics appointed by the Bishop, and as seven of the current eight directors in place are foundation appointments, the remaining directors can be non-foundation appointments.
Once operational, the trust will be one of the largest in the North of England and has aspirations to be an outstanding system-leading trust, ensuring the quality of all Catholic education and outcomes provided for children and young people is of the highest possible standard. In addition, the trust will support and help to improve education right across the local authority areas it serves.
Plans for the Future
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- Clarity of vision and strategy planning - to ensure clarity in relation to strategic planning, with the aim of bringing the trust’s ambitions to reality. As a large, diverse and geographically spread trust, this strategy setting requires clarity on short-, medium- and long-term goals in securing and further developing the provision of Catholic education in this part of the Diocese. There are major organisational, strategic and operational matters to address that will require careful and considered planning.
- Restructuring for sustainability – there exists a challenge for the trust to respond to the increasing funding pressures and challenges faced by its schools. There is therefore a need for significant restructuring and remodeling of SMCCAT’s current individual school operations to form a sustainable and effective trust for the future
- Performance management – while all schools within the trust are currently judged by Ofsted to be ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’, SMCCAT is aiming to create the challenge and support mechanisms, plans and success criteria to tackle immediately some underperformance in a small number of schools. A specific challenge will be to enhance and share the practice of its current highest performing schools to benefit those needing support.
Trust Ethos & Values
Provided by the Catholic Church, the trust aims to support the Church’s mission of making God known to all though the provision of outstanding Catholic education. In line with the principles of the Church, the trust’s aim must be to provide an opportunity for the most deprived young people in society to improve their life chances by accessing and benefitting from a high quality Catholic education.
While the trust’s ethos and values are taken from the Church, applicants are not necessarily required to be of the Catholic faith. However, an appreciation for, understanding of and sympathetic approach to this ethos is sought.
Role Summary Number of Positions Advertised: 2 Role 1 – 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.
In the interests of safeguarding, all trustee appointments would be subject to an enhanced disclosure and barring service check.
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 includes:
- Change Management
- Growth Management
- Legal/ Compliance
- CFO/ Financial
This individual must have experience of organizational development, leadership and management across a multi-faceted organisation with a range of departments or subsidiary companies. They will have the ability to review structures and operations to secure best value whilst protecting front line performance.
Experience of business mergers and acquisitions, legal and financial working would be ideal. The trust seeks a non-executive director who can work with the board to realise value for money savings and put together restructuring plans needed to deliver the trust’s ambitions.
6 hours per month (minimum).
Role 2 – Chair of Audit
The Chair of Audit will handle the audit committee’s agenda and oversee its communications with management and the board. They have a responsibility to ensure that the right members are on the board, to manage relationships within the audit committee and to ensure that the appropriate information is presented to the committee.
The trust has some financial professionals on its board, however the addition of an individual with experience of audit and of the operation of company and charity accounts would be of great value.
The competencies required for this role include:
- Audit Committee Chair
- Corporate Governance
- Qualified Accountant
- Change Management
- Legal/ Compliance
This role requires a qualified accountant / finance professional with analytical skills and experience. The Chair of Audit will lead the development and analysis of the trust’s executive plans and financial models, and will work with the board to ensure corporate compliance against Department for Education (DfE) and Charity Commission. Due to the nature of the role, an understanding of academies frameworks and guidance would be beneficial.
6 hours per month (minimum).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 4th October 2019