Candidate FAQs

How do I apply to become a non-executive director?

If you are interested in becoming a non-executive director on an academy trust board, you can apply to one of our current board opportunities. Alternatively, you can register your interest and join our pool of candidates.

Can I apply for a trust role in a different region to that in which I live?

We recommend candidates live within reasonable travelling distance of the trust role they have applied to and/or have a link with the region (e.g. it is close to their place of work). Trusts prefer candidates based locally and do not always provide travel expenses.

Is a role deadline final?

Role deadlines are specific to each opportunity. Recruitment may close early if we receive a sufficient number of applications. We therefore strongly recommend applying as early as you can to have the best possible chance of being considered.

Will I receive payment for the role?

No. All positions recruited through the Academy Ambassadors Programme are pro bono.

What do I need to prepare for a phone call with an Academy Ambassadors’ Regional Adviser?

An initial phone call with one of our Regional Advisers should last around 30 minutes. During the call, the Regional Adviser will discuss your CV, skills and motivation for becoming a non-executive director and eligibility. This is also an opportunity for you to learn more about becoming a non-executive director of an academy trust and consider current board roles.

Following the phone call, the Regional Adviser might ask you to produce an expression of interest if one is required and has not been supplied previously.

What is the average time commitment for the role?

Non-executive directors are expected to commit around six to eight hours a month, typically comprising one meeting per term plus preparatory work. Larger chair roles may require closer to two days per month. Some non-executive directors choose to get more involved by chairing a committee or local governing body at an individual school. All new non-executives should expect to invest additional time in induction in the first three months.

What is the length of commitment for the role?

The length of commitment varies and should be agreed at appointment, however most trustees choose to serve for about four years. Non-executive directors can sometimes be appointed to an ‘Interim Executive Board’ – which is usually a one year or less ‘turnaround’ role.

Who are Regional Schools Commissioners?

Information on the Regional Schools Commissioners can be found here on the Department for Education website.

Can I claim travel expenses?

All positions recruited through the Academy Ambassadors Programme are pro bono. Travel expenses may be paid in some cases at the discretion of the individual trust and must be discussed directly with the trust. 

Who determines the outcome of my application?

The Academy Ambassadors Programme team will assess whether you fit the role criteria as stated in the trust role specification, together with our own broader eligibility criteria. We will sometimes recommend another role that is a better fit. If you are shortlisted for a trust role, your CV and expression of interest are submitted to the trust alongside other shortlisted candidates. The decision to interview a candidate and subsequently offer a board position is made entirely by the trust. A decision by the trust not to go ahead with interview does not always reflect a lack of skills and experience. The trust may be looking to build a balanced board and be seeking to avoid duplication of a skills set that is already strong within the board.

What happens if my application is not successful?

The Academy Ambassadors Programme receives a high level of interest in board roles and candidates that fit closely with the key competencies and criteria for the particular role are shortlisted. We are happy to keep details on file for those candidates who fit the eligibility criteria for our candidate pool and contact them when relevant opportunities arise. We also encourage candidates to apply for other local roles.

What are the liabilities for a non-executive director?

The Academy Ambassadors Programme has produced a guide for trustees/non-executive directors of academy trusts, to help them understand their personal liabilities alongside the obligations which stem from being a public body / charitable organisation. This is essential reading for new and existing non-executive directors. The complete pack can be downloaded here.

What are the vetting and reference procedures?

All appointments are subject to reference and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. It is the trust’s responsibility to perform full vetting, including DBS and reference checks for appointed candidates.