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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Central England Academy Trust (CEAT)

Lead our three schools in Nuneaton and Warwickshire with 'Good' and 'Outstanding' Ofsted ratings and drive initiatives to enhance our impact, forge new partnerships, and ensure compliance with sector policies and standards.

  • Location: Nuneaton

For salary information please contact our advising consultants.

Who We Are

Central England Academy Trust provides excellent education to learners in Nuneaton and the surrounding areas. We have three schools: Oak Wood Primary School, Oak Wood Secondary School, and Higham Lane School. Together, we offer a comprehensive education to students aged 4 to 19 in both mainstream and SEN settings. We are a diverse Trust that celebrates individual learning needs, including profound, severe, and complex learning needs.

With our guiding principle of “Serving the Heart of England,” we prioritise families and collaborative partnerships with multi-agency professionals to ensure optimal outcomes for our students. By fostering a learning environment where high aspirations meet individualised support, we strive to empower every student to succeed and surpass expectations. Our dedicated team of staff and professionals bring a wealth of expertise and skills in education, ensuring that each student’s unique needs are addressed with precision and care.

At the heart of our organisation are our core values: Collaboration, Equity, Achievement, and Trust. These values underscore our commitment to serving every member of our community with fairness, respect, and inclusivity. We work closely with the local authority to meet the needs of students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), ensuring that all students have equitable access to quality education and opportunities for progress.

Following the retirement of our highly respected CEO, George Smith, we now seek an inspirational leader to take us into the next phase of Trust growth and development.

Our Schools

Oak Wood Primary School

Oak Wood Primary School is committed to providing a safe, nurturing and engaging learning environment where every student can thrive and achieve their potential. Pupils are able to access high-quality learning opportunities that meet their individual needs and interests. We are proud to be graded ‘Good’ by Ofsted. The opening paragraph of our most recent Ofsted report states the following:

“Oak Wood Primary School is a caring, kind and friendly school. Pupils’ needs are at the heart of everything that happens. Pupils receive quality care from all staff who treat them with dignity and respect. The relationships between staff and pupils are highly positive and pupils communicate that they are happy in school.”

Oak Wood Primary plays an integral part in the local community and has strong links with local schools and businesses. The pupils have fantastic opportunities to learn through play and outdoor exploration. Staff are highly skilled and work closely with local mainstream through Outreach support.

Oak Wood Secondary School

Oak Wood Secondary School provides excellent education and care to learners with a range of talents and complex needs aged 11-19. At Oak Wood Secondary School, we pride ourselves on creating a nurturing and supportive environment where every student can thrive. We are proud to be graded at Ofsted ‘Good’ and provide a strong education to all of our learners. Our school is deeply committed to meeting the educational, health, and social needs of our pupils as outlined in their Education Health and Care Plans. Our dedicated staff are passionate about offering aspirational learning opportunities tailored to each student’s potential, preparing them for future success in education and beyond.

Our curriculum is designed to offer three aspirational learning pathways, allowing flexibility for students to receive appropriate levels of challenge and develop essential skills for independence, empowerment, employment, and adulthood. Through close collaboration with Oak Wood Primary, we ensure a seamless transition for our students and continuity in their educational journey.

At Oak Wood Secondary, safeguarding and person-centred approaches are at the forefront of everything we do, ensuring a safe and happy learning environment for all our students. We warmly welcome parents and carers to visit our school, reflecting our commitment to fostering strong partnerships with families and the wider community.

Oak Wood Secondary also provides educational support to The Jade School, an NHS provision for pupils with mental health difficulties.

Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School is a high-quality 11-18 comprehensive school. Our philosophy is simple yet profound: education is the most powerful tool to change the world. We believe in empowering students to reach their full potential, both academically and personally. With a wide range of opportunities, from academic to artistic, sporting to social, we aim to inspire and challenge our students to excel in all aspects of their lives.

Our outstanding 11-18 comprehensive Academy, located northeast of Nuneaton, prides itself on providing high-quality education to approximately 1,430 students. Recognised as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and awarded the World Class Schools accreditation, we are a school of excellence.

Our dedicated staff, many of whom are former students, are committed to providing the best possible education for your children. We have extremely high expectations of student behaviour and prioritise kindness and respect in everything we do.

At Higham Lane School, we celebrate achievement in all forms and provide numerous opportunities for students to explore their interests and talents. From drama productions to sports tournaments and charity events to leadership roles, our students are encouraged to participate and make a positive impact in their community.

About the Role

CEAT is now looking for a new CEO who can uphold our commitment to delivering excellent outcomes for our learners across our three schools in Nuneaton and Warwickshire. Our journey has been one of dedication and investment, aiming to sustain our schools at Ofsted ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ ratings. More than just achieving ratings, we seek a CEO who understands our range of learners and leads our schools collaboratively with a highly skilled team of leaders.

There are six interlinked areas of our School Trust CEO’s core responsibilities. These are: 

  • Strategic leadership — trust values, culture and strategy
  • Quality of education
  • Finance, sustainability and compliance
  • People strategy
  • Governance and accountability
  • System leadership and civic responsibility

Supported by a strong central leadership team, the CEO will oversee various departments, including quality of education and provision, finance, marketing, human resources, and data management. Our new CEO will be the accounting officer who must ensure that as a small Trust with healthy finances and ambitious growth goals, we remain financially stable whilst guiding strategic developments. They will also oversee financial reporting, ensuring accountability and value for money.

A second mainstream secondary school is scheduled to open in Nuneaton by September 2025, and both of our special schools have approved growth plans. Our Trust is renowned for outreach support, especially in SEND. Outreach provision is led by the Trust and School Development Director. The CEO will play a key role in marketing CEAT positively to enhance its reputation within the local and wider community.

The CEO will play a pivotal role in guiding the Trust to flourish amidst the evolving education landscape. They will lead initiatives to enhance our impact, forge new partnerships, and ensure compliance with sector policies and standards.

Critical to our success is maintaining educational excellence across a diverse portfolio of schools and outreach services. Whilst our school leaders will oversee their schools, our CEO will provide strategic oversight and lead in ensuring that our quality assurance frameworks are successful and that we facilitate effective cross-organisational collaboration to drive continuous improvement across our schools.

Effective succession planning and resource allocation are key responsibilities, given our diverse educational offering serving nearly 2,000 learners. The CEO will embody our culture of excellence, leading staff to provide exceptional education for our learners and their families.

Who We Are Looking For

We are seeking a CEO who champions the learners of CEAT, making their needs a top priority in every decision. Our ideal candidate will have a deep understanding and genuine passion for the learners and communities we serve across Nuneaton and Warwickshire.

While we value diverse backgrounds, a sincere passion for education is essential. We are looking for a CEO with proven executive leadership skills and a collaborative approach that empowers, supports, and mentors others. Visibility and a leadership style focused on individuals’ needs will foster a culture of continuous improvement.

A proactive and detail-oriented approach to monitoring will be key in maintaining and enhancing the quality of education across our Trust. We had positive Ofsted monitoring visits in both SEN schools and are expecting an inspection in the mainstream secondary therefore an understanding of Ofsted and the frameworks is essential.

It will be important for our new CEO to foster a culture of collaboration with our high-performing board. We need a CEO who understands an effective governance dynamic and has experience of working with a board to leverage their expertise and commitment to CEAT. Given the dynamic nature of the education landscape, strong leadership skills in navigating challenges while upholding our values are essential. A strategic mindset and the ability to identify opportunities for growth and impact are desirable qualities.

We are looking for a CEO with a proven ability to build strong relationships with external stakeholders, including Warwickshire County Council, the Department for Education, and local schools. The ability to position CEAT as a leading educational institution within the community and beyond is highly valued.

Our new CEO should come with the ability to oversee organisational maturation that will help us as we enact on our planned growth. We need a leader who can ensure we are operationally robust, prosperous and able to continually meet the needs of all of our learners through our schools and outreach services.

Safeguarding our learners is paramount, requiring a CEO with up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding legislation in the UK education sector.

Candidates should hold or be working towards a leadership qualification such as an MBA, NPQH, or NPQEL.

Peridot Partners and Central England Academy Trust (CEAT) are, together, committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and our client expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. The successful candidate will be subject to an enhanced DBS check and satisfactory references before any final offer can be made.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Eddie Caviezel Cox | eddiec@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 920768

Chloe Cox | chloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07539 386980

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Eddie Caviezel Cox

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Welcome From the Chair of Trustees

Welcome to Central England Academy Trust and thank you for your interest in us at this exciting time in our development.

The children and young people in our care are at the centre of everything we do and we aim to nurture a safe learning environment in which they can thrive.

Our core values:

  • Collaboration
  • Equity
  • Aspiration
  • Trust

reflect how the work we do is supportive of all pupils and staff, allowing everyone to grow and develop in a culture of ambition, creativity and well-being. We aim to provide the highest quality education in all our schools and for all our pupils, whatever their needs and abilities.

Our retiring CEO has had a lead role in the Trust for 8 years and has overseen significant growth in that time. Our growth plan and development priorities demonstrate how we expect this to continue. Our status as a sponsor school is a key factor in this strategy.

There are high levels of staff retention so we have skilled and dedicated teams who work together across the schools for the benefit of all pupils. With a healthy financial situation, sound Ofsted results for all schools, and growth projects well underway, this post will allow a dynamic incoming CEO to flourish whilst undertaking this exciting challenge.

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Job Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Central England Academy Trust – CEO” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Eddie Caviezel Cox | eddiec@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 920768

    Chloe Cox | chloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07539 386980

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

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    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 8th April 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: TBC
    First stage interviews: TBC
    Second stage interviews: TBC

    We are in the process of confirming interview dates. We will update the site once confirmed and contact those who have applied.

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Central England Academy Trust (CEAT) are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact.

    The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018.

    The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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