Trust FAQs

Who does the Academy Ambassadors Programme work with?

The AAP provides a free, bespoke recruitment service to academy trusts looking to strengthen their board. Since 2013, we have helped trusts to fill over 2,000 board roles. High-calibre board members are motivated by a desire to use their skills for good. By working together, inspirational educationalists and talented business leaders can provide a better future for the next generation of school leavers.

Our Match service is for all trusts directly contacting AAP. The AAP team will use the information provided in your role requirements form to create a targeted role advert, then promote 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 are assessed for eligibility and your designated Regional Team Lead will share a list of candidate CVs for you to review. Trusts then shortlist and interview candidates; successful candidates may be offered a role, with trusts responsible for vetting and reference checks. Once an appointment is made and ratified by the board, let us know.

Our Match+ service is for trusts referred to the programme by their Regional School Commissioner’s team. Once referred, the trust's Chair will be invited to discuss board requirements and priorities with an expert Regional Adviser, then the 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. For next steps, follow the standard Match service.

How much do the Match and Match+ services cost?

The Academy Ambassadors Programme is funded by the Department for Education and provides a free, bespoke service, matching business expertise with academy trusts looking to strengthen their board.

Do you recruit Members?
For this coming 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.

How does Academy Ambassadors find candidates?

Each trust works on their own board role specification which is used to attract candidates to the role. Once the role specification has been finalised between the Regional Adviser and the trust, it is published on our website (and a link shared with the trust).

Trust board roles are also circulated amongst our networks, which include The Institute of Directors, Women on Boards and People Management Jobs amongst several other business and professional networks. When recruiting a large number of roles to one trust or to a Chair role, we may recommend supplementing this with a paid advertisement route. Your Adviser will make a recommendation; AAP takes no service charge and makes no profit if paid adverts are used.

We also use unpaid professional headhunting networks and LinkedIn headhunting to attract suitable senior level professionals to the role. Finally, we have a large number of high-calibre candidates in our recruitment pool and will approach them directly if their skill set is suitable to the role.

What happens during a phone call with a Regional Adviser?

An initial phone call with one of our Regional Advisers should last around 30 minutes. This is an opportunity for you and the Regional Adviser to discuss the trust’s recruitment needs based on the trust specification form you submitted. The phone call allows the Regional Adviser to gain a better understanding of your trust and tailor the recruitment accordingly.

Following the phone call, the Regional Adviser may ask the trust to make edits to the trust specification to create a more attractive role advert better aligned to the boards strategic needs.

The Chair of my trust is not available, can I take the call instead?

Chairs are accountable for board recruitment and the initial phone call should take place between the Regional Adviser and the Chair of the trust. Trust CEOs, head teachers and Clerks to the governors are more than welcome to sit in on the call in addition to the Chair. We are able to arrange a teleconference with the Regional Adviser for this purpose.

It is important that the trust has a full and open conversation with the Regional Adviser about the trust and its board to enable us to help strengthen governance.

What are the responsibilities of the trust during the recruitment process?

The Regional Adviser leading the recruitment will have an initial conversation with candidates, shortlisting those that best fit the key competencies and criteria. These candidates will be introduced to the trust. 

We are able to share candidate CVs on a rolling basis or after the closing date, dependent on the trust’s preference. The Adviser can also help the trust with shortlisting if required, although the trust is accountable for all final decisions on who to select for interview.

The trust should contact candidates to arrange interviews direct and should communicate the outcome of the interviews direct with candidates, informing the AAP team of decisions.

The Academy Ambassadors Programme does not lead the formal sifting or interview process – appointments should be made by the trust Members. It is the trust’s responsibility to undertake full vetting, including DBS and reference checks, for all candidates offered a position with the trust.

What if the Academy Ambassadors Programme is unable to find a suitable candidate for my trust role?

The AAP team works to a no failure policy and will continue to work with the trust in order to find suitable candidates, beyond the original deadline if required. If no suitable candidates are identified in the first instance, we are able to undertake targeted headhunting for the trust and/or recirculate the trust role on our networks.

How long does it take to recruit a trustee?

Recruitment is typically open for a period of six weeks on our website and networks. In some cases, the recruitment period may need to be extended or shortened depending on the trust’s needs. 

Does the Academy Ambassadors Programme recruit school governors?

No. Trusts seeking to recruit school governors for their local governing body should contact Inspiring Governance – a national online service which works in partnership with the National Governance Association and the Department for Education. SGOSS Governors for Schools can also assist with governor recruitment.

Does the Academy Ambassadors Programme conduct skills audits?

We do not provide a skills audit or full governance evaluation. The National Governance Association publishes a skills audit and matrix, available here. There may be a cost attached for non-NGA members. In exceptional cases, we may be able to recommend an independent consultant who can provide this service.