Nov 112017

5 Non-Executive Directors - The Bury Learning Trust

The Bury Learning Trust is a recently formed Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), ensuring excellence for students of all ability levels, including the most able, and focusing on vulnerable young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The trust consists of one primary school, one secondary school and one secondary special school. The trust seeks up to five non-executive directors and a Member to join its board initially. Board meetings will be held at each school in the Bury area.

About the trust

The Bury Learning Trust is a newly formed trust, comprising three schools in the local area - Unsworth Community Primary School, Woodhey High School and Elms Bank. Elms Bank is a secondary special school, which offers provision for students with autism, speech and language needs, in addition to more complex needs. Unsworth and Woodhey are mainstream schools, which also have specialist provision for pupils with additional needs.

Ofsted rated both Unsworth Primary and Woodhey High School Good in 2013 and Elms Bank was rated Outstanding. The three schools already work closely together with the shared focus of creating better academic and personal outcomes for all students.

Plans for the Future

As a newly-forming MAT, the key challenge at the outset for the board will be successfully integrating the three schools into the trust. In a period of change and transition, it will be imperative that the board includes demonstrable skills and experience in change management, financial leadership and growth management. Developing a strong and robust board will be a key challenge in this period and this is an opportunity for non-executive directors to get ‘on board’ at an exciting time of formative growth.

Trust ethos & values

The three schools’ vision is to provide the best learning opportunities for young people from all backgrounds and abilities, especially those with special educational needs. The schools hope to develop and sustain their strong inclusive policies as a multi-academy trust.

Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: Up to 5

Roles 1-5 – 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 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.

As the trust is seeking to appoint a number of trustees, not all skills listed will apply to all individuals. The competencies required for these roles include:


  • CFO/ Financial
  • Legal/ Compliance
  • HR
  • Restructuring
  • Growth Management
  • CEO/ General Management
  • Change Management


  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Chair
  • Non-executive/ Trustee

Person specification

Due to the newly-established nature of the trust, high-calibre individuals are sought who can bring a broad array of skills, knowledge and expertise to the board in order to establish strategic vision. Especially important will be skills in change management, HR and restructuring, as well as general management and legal expertise.

A demonstrable track record in these areas with experience working in senior positions, responsible for strategy and significant budgets, is essential. The ideal candidates will possess an in-depth understanding of growth and risk and have knowledge of either finance or HR.

In addition, due to the vulnerabilities and special educational needs of some students the trust is seeking individuals with a real passion to improve young people’s life chances. The trust acknowledges the importance of an individual with the skills, knowledge and expertise and the moral purpose to lead a successful trust. Interested individuals who are not familiar with special educational needs will be well supported to understand this important area.

Time commitment

Up to six hours per month.

Role 6 – Member

Members have ultimate control over the direction of The Bury Learning Trust and ensure the trust is working effectively towards meeting its stated aims and outcomes. They are responsible for appointing or removing trustees and for amending the articles of association.

The competencies required for this role include:


  • Chair
  • Non-executive/ Trustee


  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Legal/ Compliance

Person specification

The trust seeks a high-calibre senior business leader to join its Members board. The ideal candidate will have an understanding of growth and risk and have knowledge or either finance or HR, as well as demonstrable experience of working in a non-executive setting.

Time commitment

Up to 2 hours per month.

Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 71% of secondary schools and 26% 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 980 multi academy trusts of 2+ 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 (2017)

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 organisation 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 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

Key dates

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, 22nd December 2017

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