We are currently seeking a trustee to join the board of NEAT Academy Trust, comprising five schools in the Newcastle area, with two further schools located in North Shields and Hartlepool. It has an annual budget of £24m.

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 NEAT Academy Trust

NEAT Academy Trust is a mixed academy trust, meaning some schools are Church of England and some are not, and comprises five primary schools and two secondary. The most recent school joined the Trust in January 2024, and another school is being lined up to join with due diligence being undertaken in Spring 2024. The Trust serves disadvantaged communities in the Newcastle, Hartlepool and North Shields areas.

All of the Trust’s primary schools are rated Ofsted ‘Good’ and the most recent primary to join, in January 2024, has begun it’s Ofsted journey with the Trust’s support. Both secondary schools are currently on development journeys with the support of the Trust.

The Trust also operates NEAT Active which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trust. NEAT Active runs the sports facilities at Benfield School and has a contract to provide facilities the North East Regional Centre for Gymnastics and a local Creche. Financially NEAT Active balances its budget and surplus funds are gifted to the Academy Trust. There may be scope to develop this as a fund-generating resource. In addition to this the Trust also operates the PE Schools Partnership for Newcastle which generates additional income for the Trust.

The Trust has a school designated as a Research School and thus receives additional income to run various programmes including running National Professional Qualifications for teachers in the region.

The Trust has a number of capital projects underway at the moment to improve the facilities for staff and pupils. This includes a £4m decarbonisation project to reduce the carbon impact of one of Benfield school and sports facilities.  This also includes a major installation of ground source heat pumps and solar panels as well as changes to LED lighting, among other adaptations. There are other projects underway including re-roofing of some schools and boiler replacements.

The Trust’s requirements

NEAT Academy Trust’s Board is looking to recruit a new trustee/non-executive director with strategic senior leadership and business experience. Ideally the candidate would either live in the region or have an understanding of the communities the Trust serves. The Trust welcomes applicants from any background or faith however it is expected that all trustees will be supportive of the ethos and values of the Trust: https://www.neat.org.uk/vision-values/

The Trust Board meets four times a year (Sept, Dec, April, July). Meetings are typically two hours and start around 6pm. Trust Board meetings are planned a year in advance and are arranged to suit trustees. All meetings are held in person with a remote option available in exceptional circumstances.

The Trust also holds an annual conference for all trustees and governors, this is typically arranged on a Saturday in September and allows trustees to meet local governors and review the Trust’s strategic plans.

The ideal candidate would also join one of the Trust’s committees. The Trust has three committees:

  • Finance Audit and Risk
  • People and Organisational Development
  • Achievement and Climate for Learning

All committees meet four times a year and meetings tend to start between 5pm and 6pm.

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: https://www.neat.org.uk/

You can also find out more public information about the Trust on the Get Information About Schools Page: https://www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Groups/Group/Details/16623

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

Useful information – academy trust governance

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