How to recruit non-executive directors


Our Match and Match+ services can help your trust to recruit the right people with the right skills and expertise.

The Academy Ambassadors Programme provides a free, bespoke service matching business leaders and professionals with academy trusts looking to strengthen their boards. The service is tailored according to trust requirements and recruitment takes a minimum of 6-8 weeks. We prioritise recruitment based on need and Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) priorities.

To recruit board trustees through the Academy Ambassadors Programme, Academy Trusts should register their trust and complete our role requirements form, specifying the skills required for the board. Once the trust submits a role requirements form, the Academy Ambassadors Programme team will be in touch to advise next steps. Your board recruitment will follow one of two available service streams:

Match service

for all trusts

  • The AAP team will use the information provided in your role requirements form to create a targeted role advert.
  • The team will promote and advertise available roles across a wide range of networks and jobs platforms. The initial window for candidate applications is six weeks; if the advert does not result in suitable candidates, AAP will offer one further advertising cycle to each trust.
  • Candidate applications will be assessed for eligibility and your designated Regional Team Lead will share a list of candidate CVs for you to review.
  • The trust is expected to shortlist and interview candidates.
  • Candidates that are successful at interview may be offered a role, with vetting and reference checks conducted by the trust.
  • Please inform us of the appointment (once ratified by the board) and confirm any further recruitment needs.

Match+ service

for all trusts referred to the programme by their Regional School Commissioner’s team

  • All trusts eligible for the Match+ service must be approved, or referred, by the Regional Schools Commissioners office.
  • The Trust Chair is invited to discuss board requirements and priorities for the trust with an expert Regional Adviser, to determine the appropriate recruitment strategy.
  • The Academy Ambassadors Programme team will create a full trust specification  advertisement outlining the required experience and skills sought from candidates. This will be sent to the Chair for approval before publication on our website; a bespoke job advert will be created by the AAP team for external networks and job platforms.
  • Where appropriate, the AAP will conduct a bespoke non-executive search to identify and approach key individuals with the required expertise sought by the board
  • Follow the standard Match service for next steps.

The Chair must be available to discuss the board requirements with our team throughout the process. Our full terms of business can be found here. 

New board trustees automatically become part of the Ambassador network, connecting our board members from trusts across England. The Academy Ambassadors Programme Guide to Recruiting provides more detail on the specific skills and experiences non-executives can bring linked to the trusts' stage of growth and development and the trusts three-year plan. 

Recruitment of members to academy trusts
For this contract year, April 2021-March 2022, the Department for Education is requiring the Academy Ambassadors Programme to focus on its core purpose of matching skilled volunteers to those trusts most in need of support. Unfortunately, this means that the Academy Ambassadors Programme cannot continue to source Members to serve on academy trust boards through contract funding. Member recruitment is still available to academy trusts but will incur charges; find out more here.