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Orchard Academy Trust is seeking new board members. Two roles are being recruited:
- Chair of Trust,
- Trustee/ Non-Executive Director.
Meetings are alternated between Allington Primary School, Hildenborough Crescent, Maidstone, ME16 0PG and Barming Primary School, Belmont Close, ME16 9DY.
About the trust
Orchard Academy Trust is a multi-academy trust consisting of two primary schools, each catering to 420 pupils. The trust views its schools as beacons of learning, inspiring self- development and nurturing growth whilst also ensuring pupils enjoy their learning experience. The trust have a strong sense of togetherness, where staff, parents, governors, relatives, and members of the local community pull together to nurture a truly creative and supportive learning environment for all children to thrive and succeed. The trust’s key aim is to encourage children to be healthy and happy, with a keen sense of who they are and where they might go in life. The trust’s lead school, Allington Primary School has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and has served the local community since 1970. The second school within the trust, Barming Primary School, achieved a 'Good' rating by Ofsted in May 2019.
Orchard Academy Trust has ambitious plans to grow over the next four years. The trust’s main priority has been to consolidate and realise the full benefits of working in partnership to achieve outstanding performance. At the same time, the trust has been putting their growth plan in place, including attracting other primary schools to join the trust, increasing capacity at their current schools to meet demand from parents seeking places at the schools which are oversubscribed. The trust is also planning to submit a proposal to build a new school and is working to open nursery provision. Whilst the trust is ambitious in their plans for future growth, they have a strong desire to maintain their unique family and community feel.
Trust ethos and values
The trust views its schools as beacons of learning, inspiring self-development and nurturing growth whilst also ensuring pupils enjoy their learning experience. The trust have a strong sense of togetherness, where everyone pulls together to nurture a truly creative and supportive learning environment for all children to thrive and succeed.
1. Chair of Trust
- Ensure the effective functioning of the Trust Board and Committees and maintenance of high standards of governance.
- Give the Trust Board clear leadership and direction, keeping it focused on its core functions and encouraging trustees to work together as an effective team, building their skills, knowledge and experience.
- Ensure an effective relationship between:
- the members, trustees, governors and the senior leadership team
- the Trust and the external stakeholders/community
- Act as a spokesperson and figurehead for the Trust Board as appropriate, alongside the Trust Executive Headteacher.
- To support and provide the line management link for the Trust Executive Headteacher to the Trust Board.
- To lead the completion of the Executive Headteacher annual performance appraisal.
- With the Clerk of the Trust, plan and prepare the Trust Board meetings, Members meetings and the AGM.
- Facilitate the effective work of the Clerk of the Trust as ‘governance professional’ in the organisation and administration of the Trust Board and helping the Trust Board and Committees to understand their role, functions and legal duties.
- Chair Trust Board and Members meetings ensuring:
- A clear focus is given on strategic debate, strategic decision making, holding senior leaders to account, and oversight to financial management within the Trust.
- A balance is struck between time-keeping and space for discussions.
- Business is dealt with and decisions made.
- Decisions, actions and deliberations are adequately minuted.
- The implementation of decisions is clearly assigned and monitored.
- Ensure adequate support and supervision arrangements are made for the Executive Headteacher and Clerk to the Trust.
- Ensure that a successor is found before the term of office finishes.
- A willingness to lead the Trust.
- Possesses tact, diplomacy and powers of persuasion.
- Possesses or be willing to develop relevant knowledge of governance within the education sector.
- Possesses or be willing to gain relevant knowledge of legislation associated with academy trusts.
- Has strong chairing skills to facilitate efficient and effective meetings.
(Extract from the Governance Handbook 2019)
38. The chair, with support from the vice chair, is responsible for ensuring the effective functioning of the board and has a vital role in setting the highest of expectations for professional standards of governance. It is the chair’s role to give the board clear leadership and direction, keeping it focused on its core functions. A chair should encourage the board to work together as an effective team, building their skills, knowledge and experience. They need to ensure that everyone is actively contributing relevant skills and experience, participating constructively in meetings, and actively involved in the work of any committees. It is their role to make sure everyone understands what is expected of them and receives appropriate induction, training and development. It is for the chair to have honest conversations, as necessary, if anyone appears not to be committed or is ineffective in their role.
39. The chair must not exercise as an individual any of the functions of the board except where this has been sanctioned by the board, or in the case of maintained schools in the specific circumstances permitted in regulations. In all maintained schools, and where an academy trust board decides, the chair is permitted to act in cases of urgency where a delay in exercising the function would be likely to be seriously detrimental to the interests of the school, a pupil, parent or member of staff.
4.3.1 Development and succession
40. The focus of the procedure for appointing a chair and vice-chair from among the existing members of the board, should be on appointing someone with the skills for the role, not just the willingness to serve. It is possible to appoint more than one person to share the role of chair, or similarly the role of vice-chair, if the board believes this is necessary and in the best interests of the school. The board would need to ensure that any role-sharing arrangement does not lead to a loss of clarity in its leadership.
41. Succession planning arrangements should be in place so that any change in the chair does not impede the board’s effectiveness. Although the regulations do not place any restrictions on this, boards should consider carefully how many times they re-elect their chair to a new term of office. In some circumstances, a change of chair may be necessary for the board to remain invigorated and forward looking.
42. The law does not prevent a board from advertising and appointing a highly skilled chair from outside its board where current governors or trustees do not wish to be appointed to the position. The successful candidate would need to be appointed to a vacant position on the board prior to being elected as chair in accordance with the regulations.
43. With effective succession planning in place, it can be beneficial for strong chairs to move on to another school or trust after a reasonable time (e.g. two terms of office). This can help to share expertise across the system and prevent boards stagnating or individuals gaining too much power and influence solely through their length of service.
2.Trustee/ Non-Executive Director
Provide oversight of the trust strategic direction and delivery of trust objectives. Monitor performance of the trust and its academies and provide challenge to trust executives. Provide oversight on performance of local governing bodies. Provide oversight on the trust financial performance.
The trust is looking for somebody with experience of governance and growth management; additional expertise of: Chairing meetings, education, real estate and/or risk assessment would be advantageous.
1. A commitment to the aims and objectives of Orchard Academy Trust.
2. A willingness to devote the necessary time and effort, 4 hours per month minimum.
3. Strategic Vision.
4. Good, independent judgement.
5. Ability to think creatively.
6. An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.
7. The ability to work effectively as a team member.
8. The ability to monitor performance and provide challenge to trust executives.
The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:
- Maintaining and improving on the high quality of education at Allington Primary School and maintain the school's "outstanding" status. Improving outcomes at Barming Primary School so that the school builds on it's "good" rating from Ofsted.
- The trust is looking to build and maintain a resilient and sustainable operation across the two primary schools. Growth by expanding the existing schools, opening a nursery, encouraging other primary schools to join and to bid for a new school.
- To maintain a strong and stable governance structure across the trust and put in place a succession plan so that new governors and trustees appointed now are acting as leaders in the future.
To apply please submit a letter of application together with your CV to the Executive Headteacher, Mrs Young, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like any further information or to arrange a visit to the schools please contact Mrs Young on 01622 757350