Hamwic Education Trust — Trustees

Hamwic Education Trust is now seeking to appoint a number of new Trustees. The Board is specifically interested in the following three profiles: primary-level educational leaders; SEND or Alternative Provision specialists; and leaders of Finance, Audit or Risk. (Deadline: 7 March)

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The Hamwic Education Trust (HET) is a community-based multi-academy trust comprised of 35 academies spread across urban and rural communities in Hampshire and Dorset - specifically in Portsmouth, Southampton, Poole and parts of East Dorset. Central to the HET mission and ethos is its focus on community engagement, and this is reflected in the local partnership model the Trust has adopted. The 35 academies, which consist of 32 primaries, two secondaries and one hospital school, work together in six local community partnerships under the HET umbrella. The aim is to establish self-improving school systems where school leaders take collective responsibility for student outcomes. The Trust serves more than 12,000 pupils, employs over 1,800 staff, and has an annual operating budget of around £96m.

HET has captured the essence of its ethos and values in two simple statements: 'All about the child', and 'What about Sam?'. Sam is the name the Trust has given to the notional Hamwic child, and by constantly asking ‘what about Sam?’ HET ensures that pupils are always at the heart of decision making. HET is extremely ambitious for its academies and the pupils and communities they serve. Its aspiration is for every academy in the Trust to be judged Good or better by Ofsted. Over the last two years, 19 HET schools have been inspected, the vast majority of which resulted in 'Good' judgements. HET's other non-negotiables are that all pupils make at least expected progress; all schools and the Trust are financially sustainable; and all children are kept safe.

Under the leadership of Robert Farmer, who has been CEO of the Trust since 2013, together with a strong group of Trustees, HET has reached a turning point in its growth and development and is now seeking additional Trustees who will help shape the next phase of its development. The Trust expects to continue to grow in the years ahead, deepening its work in its existing communities, and adding more secondaries as well as schools which offer specialist / alternative provision.

Role specification

Trustees at HET play a vital role in supporting the advancement of education of the children in its schools through the raising of standards and development of high-quality learning.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for governing how HET is run, and as a member of the Board you will have a legal as well as professional responsibility for strategic leadership of the Trust, which includes:

  • Setting the organisation’s overall strategic framework, including its vision and strategic priorities
  • Responsibility for setting and modelling its culture, values and ethos
  • Setting the vision for the Trust and engage effectively with the community (pupils, staff, parents and carers)
  • Ensuring the resources are managed responsibly and effective to achieve its objectives

Trustees at HET also take on additional responsibilities as 'Expert Trustees'. This involves taking the lead on an area of the Board’s responsibilities or helping to monitor a specific improvement priority. The following Expert Trustee roles have been approved by the board: Safeguarding; SEND and Alternative Provision; Finance; Risk and Audit; Human Resources; Estates; Education Standards – Primary; Education Standards – Secondary; and Governance.

In broad terms, the role of the expert trustee is to:

  • Build productive working relationships with relevant staff while having due regard to their work-life balance
  • Ensure necessary policies and procedures are in place and monitor and evaluate them
  • Arrange focused visits to the Trust, (usually once per half term but with flexibility as required to support relevant board agenda items), based on strategic priorities and following an agreed engagement protocol
  • Report back to the Trust Board following monitoring visits or discussions with staff
  • Be well informed and prepared ahead of meetings with staff or the board by reading relevant information, such as policies and data
  • Keep the Trust Board fully informed about issues and actions in the assigned area
  • Participate in relevant personal development to improve skills and knowledge
  • Ensure the Hamwic board report provides appropriate information for the allocated area

Person specification

Trustee (SEND / Alternative Provision)

HET already operates a hospital school in Southampton and it has plans to develop its SEND offer (including Alternative Provision) in the years ahead.

This role would be particularly well-suited to a SEND specialist who has operated at a strategic-level within reputable organisations. They could come from any relevant background, including schools, colleges, universities, local authorities, healthcare organisations, or specialist non-profits. Previous experience as a Trustee is not necessary.

Trustee (Finance / Audit / Risk)
The Board is looking to appoint up to two Trustees with backgrounds in financial leadership, audit, or risk management. It is hoped that one of the appointees will have the experience required to chair the Audit and Risk Committee.

These opportunities would be particularly well-suited to individuals with strategic-level experience as a financial leader (CFO/FD or Audit Partner), corporate risk management specialist, or an internal auditor. Candidates from any sector are welcome to apply. Previous experience as a Trustee is not necessary, however only candidates with substantial committee experience (whether executive or non-executive) will be considered for the Committee Chair position.

Trustee (Primary Education Leader)

This role would be particularly well-suited to someone who has worked across a group of schools, within a MAT or a local authority, or as a senior executive in charge of school improvement. They will have deep experience in the interrogation of educational performance data, particularly primary-level data. An understanding of the relevant primary metrics, such as attendance, Key Stage outcomes, etc, is crucial. Expertise in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) would be considered highly valuable, though not essential. Previous experience as a Trustee is not necessary.


Above all, applicants must demonstrate a passion for improving the life chances of children through education, and an alignment with the mission, vision and values of the Trust.

Board composition

A full list of current Board members can be found here.

Terms of appointment

These are unremunerated roles, however reasonable, pre-agreed expenses will be reimbursed. 

The Board of Trustees meets six times per year. Meetings are held at a venue within the Trust’s operating region, and they last for four hours - usually on a Tuesday morning. Although remote dial in is an option as a last resort, the strong preference is for meetings to be held in person. 

All Trustees at HET become 'Expert Trustees' in their specialist area, which will involve engagement with the Board, the executive and lead officers in and around the standard six Board meetings. The cadence and regularity of these engagements will come down to the approach taken by the appointed Trustees in fulfilling this aspect of the role. 

Those appointed with Finance / Audit / Risk backgrounds will be expected to join the Audit & Risk Committee, with the possibility of chairing the Committee in due course. The Committee meets once per term, usually online, for two hours. 

Additionally, there are two strategy days per year, usually in September and January.


Candidates should live within reasonable travelling distance of the Trust (headquarters located on the outskirts of Southampton) and its academies. As such, individuals living in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and West Sussex are particularly encouraged to apply.


HET welcomes applications from everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, belief or disability. As those from an ethnic minority background are currently under-represented on the Board, applications from those individuals would be particularly encouraged. All appointments will be made on merit, following a fair and transparent process. In line with the Equality Act 2010, however, the organisation may employ positive action where candidates from underrepresented groups can demonstrate their ability to perform the role equally well.

The deadline for consideration is 7 March 2024.

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.