We are currently seeking up to three trustees to join the board of Ambitions Academies Trust, a trust of 13 schools, with an annual budget of £50m. It is located in Poole, with all of its schools situated in the Poole, Bournemouth and Weymouth areas. 

As a trustee/director your key responsibilities will be to: 

  • Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction 
  • Hold executive leaders to account – both for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils and the effective and efficient performance management of staff 
  • Oversee the organisation’s financial performance and ensure its funds are directed to the best possible educational outcomes for young people 

By volunteering as a trustee/ director you will be responsible for contributing to the strategic decision-making of the board, helping the trust to realise immediate and long-term goals, and ultimately ensuring transparency, accountability and challenge. 

About Ambitions Academies Trust 

Ambitions Academies Trust (AAT) is a ‘mixed’ multi-academy trust (MAT), comprising Primary, Secondary and Special schools. Of these schools, 11 have received ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted inspections most recently, while one has not yet been inspected and another has a current ‘Requires Improvement’ rating. Secondary outcomes in the Trust have been identified as an area for progress and so the Trust is going through a period of consolidation before it grows further. A new CEO has recently joined the Trust and it has a strong central team. AAT was winner of ‘Governance MAT of the Year’ in 2023. 

Information on all of the Trust’s schools is viewable here: https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/find-a-school-in-england?searchtype=search-mat&keywords=2128 

At present, the main areas of priority and focus for the Trust include the introduction of the new CEO, who joined in February, addressing challenges in attendance and falling numbers of young people on roll, impacting on budgets, and pupil in-year mobility which has an impact on outcomes. 

The Trust has a strong focus on wellbeing of staff and monitoring workload; they HR team is focussed on improving recruitment and retention of staff. AAT has Wellbeing leads in every school and aims to be an employer of choice in the local area. 


The Trust’s requirements 

The Trust has recently seen the departures of three Trustees, who had reached the end of their terms of office. As a result, in order to ensure sufficient knowledge, skills and experience across the Board, this activity will see three new recruits join the Trustees. One candidate will also sit on the Audit committee. 

Candidate 1: Education 

The Board recently lost the expertise and experience of two ‘educationalist’ trustees, who had Ofsted and College experience. With remaining expertise in the area of SEND, the Trust is ideally looking for someone with Secondary-phase school leadership experience. This individual will have experience of multi-site working and strategic leadership across a multi-academy trust or other similar organisation, and/or may be a former Ofsted inspector, for example.  

AAT utilises ‘link Trustees’ focused on certain areas so the person appointed would also be a link Trustee for one of the schools, most likely the school that has had the Requires Improvement Ofsted outcome. 


Candidate 2: Finance 

The ideal recruit will possess an extensive finance background, prospectively as an accountant with industry-recognised qualification/s. The Trust has strong financial controls and reserves, along with strategic finance expertise represented on the Board, but would like a further Trustee to provide additional skills and oversight in this area. 

Candidate 3 – Legal 

The third candidate will possess Legal/Compliance and Risk management expertise, and will be asked to sit on the Audit and Risk committee. This individual will have demonstrable experience in this area in a corporate, charity or third-sector role and be comfortable operating at a strategic level. 


These defined skills areas were identified as the key priorities for recruitment in a skills audit and will enable effective succession planning across the Trust Board. 

This is an exciting opportunity to join the Trust at the current time and support the Board and Executive Team in achieving their ambitious plans for the future.

Additional details about the Trust, meetings and induction process 

AAT would welcome applications from individuals who are local to the Poole, Bournemouth, Weymouth environs and can attend then meetings in person, although committees are held in a hybrid style, meaning some remote attendance is possible.  

Currently meetings are held in Poole but this is subject to review. Trustees are expected to attend Board meetings, be a member of a committee and attend annual strategy days. 

The Trust has a very robust process for ‘onboarding’ new Trustees and a good governance professional who ensures Trustees have full and bespoke induction process, as well as understanding of financial Academy Regulations. The induction will also involve senior leaders from within the Trust.  

Trustees will also have access to online training and resources through National Governance Association (NGA). 

The Chair carries out annual 1-to-1 meetings with each Trustee and mentors are available to Trustees if they need one and/or are new to Governance. 


What difference will you make? 

Volunteering on an academy trust board is deeply rewarding as it allows you to impact the life chances of young people. Academy trusts support schools to give children a better future. For young people to have the best possible opportunities in later life, it’s vital we have individuals with the right expertise leading schools and holding executive teams accountable. Becoming a trustee is a fantastic opportunity to give back to your local community by strengthening education. 

As well as looking for new opportunities to give something back to society, you may be looking for opportunities to build your experience in strategic decision-making at senior level or demonstrate your ability to perform in a non-executive position as part of a portfolio career.

All roles are pro bono

People from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Governing boards should represent the communities they serve, as well as wider society. We welcome interest from underrepresented groups to ensure academy trust boards are diverse in background, skillset, and thought.

Diversity is a powerful instrument for effective governance. Trustees are required to make choices that impact the daily lives of children, from school finance all the way through to staff and pupil recruitment. It’s essential that boards possess a broad set of beliefs, experiences, and ideas to inform their final judgements. We believe that true representation at board level enables all children to fulfil their potential. 

Useful information – about the trust   

Trust website: www.ambitions-academies.co.uk 

Get Information About Schools: https://www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Groups/Group/Details/2128 

On this page you will find a link to the Trust’s record on Companies House. 

Useful information – academy trust governance  

The following documents provide useful information and reading to any potential trustee: 

Academy Trust Handbook – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/64a52424c531eb000c64fe78/ATH_2023_FINAL_040723__digital__tracking_off.pdf 

Academy trust governance guide – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/-governance-in-academy-trusts