Forward Education Trust — Trustees

To complement the skills of the existing Board and support its long-term strategy, Forward Education Trust (FET) now seeks two new oustanding individuals to join the Board Trustees. One will bring senior-level financial experience, and will chair the Audit / Risk and Finance Committee. The second will will bring strategic-level experience in property / facilities / estates management. (Deadline: 24 November)

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About

Forward Education Trust (FET) is a non-profit group of Special Academies working across Birmingham and its neighbouring Local Authorities. The Trust is driven by improving both the personal and academic achievements of its pupils, making every day the best it can possibly be for each student. FET's purpose is to ensure that the children in its schools receive the best possible education, care and life chances by being the West Midlands' bespoke provider of choice for children with high levels of special educational needs.

FET's leadership is based on an ethos of community, wherein everyone can move forward together, striving for and achieving opportunities to improve outcomes and provide stability and success for all. This ethos is supported by the Trust's six core values: FET strives to be forward thinking, ambitious, principled, motivated, trustworthy, and above all, to be nurturers of talent.

The Trust consists of six specialist provision schools, providing SEND education to over 750 pupils. The Trust is growing; with 400 staff and an annual turnover of £18m, FET will be welcoming a seventh school in September 2023. The Trust's growth strategy centres on the idea of letting each school develop its own unique identity, whilst also allowing each school to come together to form a single entity. Forward Education Trust does not believe in growth for growth's sake - but with such an ongoing demand for specialist schools, there are opportunities for the Trust to reach even more children with its exceptional educational offering.

Above all, Forward Education Trust believes in its children. It empowers people to make the right decisions, and strives to be creative in the way that it approaches the education and care of children. Mutual respect pervades all of the Trust's relationships: together, the Trust's staff learn, practice and collaborate – creating a sense of unity within the organisation which enables FET to nurture its talent, for the benefit of its young people.


Role specification

Forward Education Trust (FET) is a not-for-profit educational charitable company and its governance structure ensures that it meets its requirements to ensure probity, good governance and outstanding performance.

The Board is comprised of the Trustees. They meet regularly as a Trust Board, which has a number of sub-committees. Board oversight is provided by the Members of the Trust.

Trustees focus on the three core functions of governance:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  2. Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the Trust Schools and their students, and the performance management of staff
  3. Overseeing and ensuring effective financial performance

Person specification

Finance

Applicants will be financially qualified, and will bring a strong understanding of financial management. They may be a CFO or Finance Director, but could equally come from a variety of backgrounds so long as they have strong financial acumen and strategic level business leadership experience. The successful candidate will be able to leverage their knowledge of finance in a governance setting, challenging Board members when appropriate, and asking the right questions.

Property & Estates

Applicants will have experience of operating at a senior level on large projects as an architect, surveyor or developer, and will ideally be a chartered surveyor. The successful candidate will be able to provide advice, guidance and appropriate challenge to the Board on how the Trust can best maintain and develop its complex portfolio of school buildings. They will ideally bring experience of working across a multi-site organisation which contains a range of types of building. 

Above all, the successful candidate will be aligned with the Trust's mission to inspire children and young people to excel through education, transform lives and build strong communities. Although prior board experience is welcome, the Trust is open to applications from first-time non-executives.


Board composition

A list of existing Trustees can be found here.


Terms of appointment

There are six Board meetings per year. Additionally, the Board has three Committees, two of which meet six times a year and one of which meets three times per year. Meetings generally take place between 4-6pm on weekdays, although some of the Committees meet earlier in the afternoon, and are currently virtual. Trustees are expected to join at least one Committee, as well as attending Board meetings. Additionally, there will be ad hoc communication with the Board and school visits. Reasonable, pre-agreed domestic expenses will be reimbursed. The appointment is for a renewable four-year term.

In addition, each Trustee is linked to a school or member of the executive team, a role which involves link Trustee meetings and contact with the linked senior leader, and school visits are encouraged. Furthermore, Trustees are invited to Trust and school events and are asked to support interview panels for Headteachers and Senior leaders, which are again, in general, in-person commitments.


Location

Whilst meetings are currently virtual, the Board is currently moving to a hybrid approach, and is encouraging in-person attendance as far as possible. This, in addition to the in-person expectations of involvement outlined above, means that the Board are particularly looking for someone from the West Midlands region.


Diversity

Forward Education Trust welcomes applications from everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith or disability. It is committed to equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practices and it positively encourages applications from all sectors of the community. As disabled people and those from ethnic minority backgrounds are currently under-represented on the Board, applications from those candidates would be particularly encouraged to reflect the diversity of the whole school community. All appointments will be made on merit, following a fair and transparent process.


The deadline for consideration is 24 November 2022.

If you would like to register your interest in this role, please fill in the form below. A member of the Nurole team will be in touch ahead of the deadline to let you know whether it would be worth submitting an application and to discuss the process further.