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Governors for Schools' Trustee Recruitment Service
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Closing date
7 Jun 2024

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Charity and not for profit, Education, Board trustees
Salary band
Where will they be working

Job Details

We are currently seeking up to three Trustees possessing a variety of skills to join the board of the 14-school Tove Learning Trust, which operates across Milton Keynes, Northamptonshire and the West Midlands. It has over 11,000 pupils on roll across Primary and Secondary phases, employs 1,500 people and operates an annual budget of £85m.


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 Tove Learning Trust


Tove Learning Trust is a highly successful, and growing, multi-academy trust with 14 schools including primary, secondary and alternative provision schools. It works as one entity to improve and maintain a high standard across the Trust. TLT’s aim is to have academies that are excellent communities of learning where children thrive on success, with a mission of “Inspiring education that leads to outstanding outcomes”. In addition to the existing schools, a further school is likely to join the trust by September 2024.

The registered office of the Trust is Sponne School in Towcester, Northamptonshire and the Trust operates in two main regional hubs - Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes, and the West Midlands.

TLT provides education for children aged four to 18 years. Many of the schools are in areas of high deprivation and have demonstrated excellent success in helping children from challenging backgrounds thrive in an educational setting and progress and flourish in their future lives. The trust has taken several schools which were failing and they have had good success, with the majority moving to ‘Good’.

Outcomes in the vast majority of the Trust’s schools exceed national expectations and many of its schools are rated ‘Good’ or better by Ofsted:


The Trust’s leadership promotes a high degree of aligned autonomy, so schools retain their own identity and values but are aligned to the values and ethos of the Trust; the trust has a lower core services fee than the majority of multi-academy trusts (MATs) which enables schools to retain more control over their individual budgets and have the benefit of accessing centrally procured services at preferred rates.

The Trust is supported by the Grace Foundation, which provides funding for Ethos Team Leaders in a number of schools. They focus on pastoral support for pupils and families and make a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the wider community and underpin the excellent teaching and learning work the Trust’s schools deliver.

TLT has two award-winning schools in Milton Keynes, which have been recognised as secondary and primary school of the year. Both are within the Bletchley area, which is recognised as having significant levels of deprivation. The Trust as a whole was shortlisted for the Most Improved MAT of the Year 2024 Award.

The executive leadership team comprises a number of highly experienced and well respected education leaders. Several members are also Ofsted inspectors and have in-depth knowledge of the regulatory framework within which the schools operate.

As the Trust has grown from two schools in 2016 to 14 schools by 2024, it has expanded the central team to include professionals experienced in HR, Finance, Marketing, Estates Management and operations.

The Trust’s schools range in size with Primary schools of between 350 and 420 pupils and Secondary schools ranging from 900 to 1500 pupils. The Trust employs 1,500 staff in total, with approximately 11,000 pupils across the whole Trust.

The Trust’s proportions of EAL (English as an Additional Language), SEND (Special Education Needs and Disability) and PP (Pupil Premium) varies in each school but typically TLT’s schools in higher areas of deprivation in West Midlands and Milton Keynes have the highest percentages.


The Trust has a dedicated School Improvement Director for SEND & Inclusion who acts as a liaison between schools, local councils and third party providers to ensure these children are supported with the best possible provision.


The Trust’s Requirements

The trust seeks up to three new trustees to include broad skill areas and with a broad understanding of business processes and strategy. Successful candidates might have skills in these areas:


Strategic Leadership - to help guide the trust in its next phase of growth; HR – the trust is implementing a new HRIS in 2024 and would welcome the insight, challenge and guidance from an experienced professional in HR. Succession strategy at board and executive level is also a key focus; Risk/Legal – this is a core competence in all of the Board’s activity, and the Trust would welcome additional experience in this area from a financial or legal context; Marketing - capitalising on the good work and improvements that are seen in the Trust’s schools and bringing a fresh perspective on how to sell its USPs; Estates - as the Trust’s estates portfolio grows and energy efficiency and sustainability are key focus areas, the existing Board would greatly value greater strategic overview of this area. All trustees should have a clear interest in, and passion to support, education though it is understood they may not have worked in the education sector before, nor have pre-existing knowledge or experience. If they have, this would be advantageous rather than essential.

Induction will be provided via a structured training programme which would include meetings with the Chair and CEO as well as the Governance professional to get new trustees up to speed. The trust also subscribes to the Confederation for School Trusts (CST), which is a further avenue for training and building knowledge.

Meetings are held remotely using video technology (e.g. Zoom/Teams). While an interest/familiarity in the area where the schools are located would be an advantage, this is not essential. Attendance in person at one meeting per year would be welcome.


Board meetings occur once each half term (i.e. six per year) and tend to be on Mondays at 5pm lasting for up to 90 minutes.

The Trust has several committees; Trustees will be invited to join the Board and then would be expected to join one committee via discussion with the Chair and CEO. The committees are:


  • Finance - meets four times a year: once per term, with an additional budget meeting in May.  This may also include a meeting with the Local Governing Boards (LGB) of each school, but this is not necessarily essential; Audit & Risk - meets three times a year (once each term); Pay & Personnel - meets three times a year (once each term); Education Standards - meets three times a year (once each term).



The trust likes each Trustee to be linked to a school and for them to attend the LGB meeting each half term which can be done remotely if necessary.


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:


Get Information About Schools:


On this page you will also 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 governance guide:


Academy Trust handbook:


Academy Trust governance code:



Company info
020 7354 9805
Sycamore House
Sutton Quays Business Park
Sutton Weaver
United Kingdom

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