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Chair of the Board

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Unity Schools Partnership
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Job term:
Fixed Term
Closing date:
22 November 2019 09:00 AM
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Fixed term for 3 years (until 31 August 2023).

Required from January 2020.

Unity Schools' Partnership seeks a non-executive Chair with senior corporate governance experience and one non-executive director to join a strong board supporting 25 schools in the east of England. The trust is built from a partnership across schools that respects, sustains and supports. Its model is about creating interdependence; schools that are more self-sustaining than stand-alone academies, less dependent than local authority schools and more independent than schools in corporate chains. Board meetings are held in Haverhill, Suffolk.

Unity Schools' Partnership oversees 25 schools: 7 secondary, 2 special and 16 primaries in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Romford in East London. The trust has been approved to open three new schools: a special school in Ipswich in 2020, a special school in Romford in 2022 and a primary school in Lakenheath in 2022. The Department for Education (DfE) has asked the trust to take on three schools judged inadequate at recent inspections during 2019.

Unity Schools' Partnership currently oversees the education of 11,600 pupils and employs 1,400 staff with an annual budget of just over £60 million. The trust is led by Tim Coulson, CEO who joined in 2017 following his role as Regional Schools' Commissioner, East of England and North East London.

The trust began with the Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, which successfully opened a free school, a special school in its grounds in 2013. The trust went on to turn around a secondary school in difficulties and three poorly performing primary schools. Additional well performing schools requested to join as well as further schools that have joined because they needed a trust with the capacity to support further schools in challenging circumstances.

The trust leads one of 32 schools in a national Research School Network which aims to provide to teachers in the trust and across the area learning from education research about effective teaching strategies. 

The trust is in a second phase of leadership and governance, with the current chief executive and chair both starting in 2017. The board is ambitious for the schools to be performing very highly and to operate with high levels of transparency and integrity.

Upcoming strategic considerations for the board include:

  • expansion and growth, or consolidation
  • to assess and identify the strength of leadership and talent throughout the trust
  • to continue to maximise the efficient use of financial resources and identify further opportunities for improvement, e.g. procurement and commercial avenues.

The key challenges for the board over the next 12 - 24 months are:

  • rapidly raising standards from national average in secondary schools to well above, and in primary schools from below national average to well above
  • to ensure every school does much more than focus on exam results and provides a great education - 'Results Plus' - to all its pupils
  • develop an emerging special school strategy Trust ethos and values.

The trust's mission is to enable students to achieve to their potential through efficient and sustainable, drawing on the collective wisdom and leverage of the trust; and to raise standards and transform lives by smashing through the barriers that have restricted schools' and pupils' progress.

For more information, please see our website: www.unitysp.co.uk/our-values

To apply, please visit: candidate.unitysp-careers.co.uk

Interview date: 25 November 2019.

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.? DBS checks are required for relevant posts.? Unity Schools' Partnership - welcoming diversity.

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