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Trustee (Property) Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

“We started as one school and have become a movement for change. Progress towards equality for autistic children and young people has been made and we’re proud of our role in this. But there is still more progress to be made and this is an opportunity to be part of a charity that is ensuring we live in a world where autistic children and young people can be themselves and realise their ambitions.”

  • Location: London, across several sites
  • Salary: Unremunerated with reasonable expenses paid
  • Closing date: CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS

Who we are

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for autistic children and young people. We were established in 1997 by a group of families of autistic children who were concerned at the lack of appropriate provision for their children. Following a major capital fundraising campaign and a series of temporary locations and premises, the school and charity moved into purpose-built accommodation in 2008, together creating the Pears National Centre for Autism Education. Since then, we have grown our education services opening both Ambitious College and extending our national influencing and enabling activities.

We run specialist education services, an award-winning employment programme and children and young people are at the heart of our charity’s decision-making, policy work and campaigning. We also use our expertise to deliver training and consultancy to a wide range of organisations to improve awareness and understanding of autism. We want to help even more autistic children and young people to improve their quality of life and secure a fulfilling and rewarding future.

Even during the pandemic we lived up to our name as we achieved so many goals and plans. We developed our Right from the Start toolkit, we launched our Employ Autism campaign and we have grown and evolved. Although the pandemic has had an impact on our fundraising activities, we acted quickly and after the first lockdown, we launched our Emergency Coronavirus Appeal. We exceeded our ambitious target to help us address the crisis that autistic young people and their families were and are still facing.

About the role

Given we run schools we created Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust (AaAST), following a governance review in December 2019, we implemented several new changes including Joint Trustees and a joint committee structure wherein there are five trustees each of the Charity and Trust Boards and three Trustees who are Trustees of both Boards who serve as the joint Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Charity and Trust. All Trustees of the Charity and Trust are members of a Joint Group Board Committee to ensure oversight of the Charity and Trust.

We have been chosen to open a new school – Spring School which will open in September 2023. Spring School will support up to 90 pupils at capacity from ages 4-19. Although this is exciting, we have a battle on our hands as we call on the government to follow their solutions in the SEND Green Paper. We’re concerned that some of the proposals will make it even harder for autistic children to access support in education and so we are asking for a public commitment from the government to fund support for children with SEND. There are more than twice as many children with SEND in schools and colleges now than there were in 2010, but the government has not set out what funding will be available to pay for the additional support they need.

We are excited to announce the merger of Ambitious about Autism and St John’s School and College which took effect on Friday 1 September 2023.

We launched our three-year strategy, Time for Ambition, which sets out our aims. These include ensuring autistic children and young people have an excellent and inclusive education, alongside striving for every autistic young person to have good careers education at school and in further and higher education, including experience of work. Autistic people need services that support good mental health by reducing isolation and so we want to ensure early intervention through signposting to specialist support. We aim to ensure peer networks are available alongside uplifting but realistic information tailored to autistic young people and their families. We also want to further develop our Ambitious Youth Network and expand nationally to empower young people to connect with one another and to influence societal change.

Who are we looking for?

TreeHouse School, Ambitious about Autism, executive recruitment

We are looking for a new Trustee to join our Board, in particular, to be a Trustee of AaAST but of course to sit on the joint Board. We are looking for someone with senior commercial property experience who will bring strategic leadership experience. This person could come from a variety of backgrounds and sectors, including but not limited to property, residential, development, construction, and/or estates and facilities management. It would be helpful if this person had some board experience previously.

The Board meets once a term and has an annual strategy away day. We would like for our main board meetings to be in person moving forward, but there is flexibility to join remotely. Our committees meet once a term for an hour or two, depending on the committee, and this can be attended virtually. We envisage our Trustee with experience in property will be a member of our Finance and Resources Committee.

We expect the time commitment to be one day a month spread across various activities such as preparation of board meetings, reading board papers, ad hoc discussions and conversations with board members and the executive team, and attending events throughout the year.

Our Board is diverse in many ways, including autistic people being part of our Board alongside a balance of gender, ethnicity and age. We want to continue to ensure our Board represents our society and the people we work with and support every day. We are very keen to continue to have more people join our Board with lived experience of autism, either directly or through a family member.


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

Jennifer Horan jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

Jennifer-Horan-Trustee-Recruitment-Agency

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Jennifer Horan

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Welcome

Neil Goulden

Thank you for your interest in the Trustee role of the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust. I hope that you will find our mission and this opportunity exciting and compelling and will consider joining our team at a critical time of development and growth.

We are passionate and driven by our mission to stand with autistic children and young people, champion their rights and create opportunities. We educate and support hundreds of autistic children and young people and work with thousands more through our employability, participation, policy and practice influencing work.

Our three-year strategy, Time for Ambition (2021/24), sets out our plans to have an even greater reach and impact.

As part of this, we aim to further develop our existing and new education services, increase our work in employment and enterprise, and develop new services and activities to support autistic children and young people in their families, their communities and to ensure good health and wellbeing.

We are now looking to recruit a Trustee with property experience to join the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust board to support us on the next stage of our journey.

Strong experience at leadership level and ensuring excellent governance, will be essential for this appointment. A strategic thinker with excellent relationship-building, communication and interpersonal skills, you are likely to be people who have achieved standing in your fields. Trustees have an important ambassadorial role to play. We are specifically seeking people with experience in property, and we also welcome applicants with lived experience of autism.

Above all, you will share our absolute commitment to our mission and values. In return, this appointment offers the opportunity to shape our future and ensure we continue to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of autistic young people.

Best wishes,

Neil Goulden
Chair of the Board of Trustees


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

Jennifer Horanjennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

About Ambitious about Autism

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity standing with autistic children and young people. We believe every autistic child and young person has the right to be themselves and realise their ambitions. We started as one school and have become a movement for change. We champion rights, campaign for change and create opportunities.

We are proud of our pioneering approach, which started in 1997 when a group of parents set up the TreeHouse Trust to enable autistic children and young people to access the education they need and deserve. Since then, we have increased our reach and impact across the UK.

Despite our many successes, the sad fact is that autistic children and young people still face a lack of understanding of their needs and the right support. Their worlds have been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, and they need our support now more than ever.

We want to help even more autistic children and young people to improve their quality of life and secure a fulfilling and rewarding future.

Yellow box with the headline Our Purpose in it. Underneath the headline, it reads 5'We help autistic children and young people to be themselves.'
Orange box with the headline Our Vision in the box. Underneath the headline it reads, 'Our vision is for a future where every autistic child and young person can be themselves and realise their ambitions.'
Green box with the headline Our Mission in the box. Underneath the headline, it reads, ' We stand with autistic children and young people, champion their rights and create opportunities.'
Blue box with the headline Our Values in the box. Underneath the headline, it reads. 'Children and young people are at the heard of everything that we do.'
A colourful circle representing the core strategy of Ambitious about Autism. At the centre there is "children and your people at the heart" with five values around: excellent education, health and wellbeing, active citizenship in the community, family and relationships and employment and enterprise.

The next year of our three-year strategy will be critical in our work with autistic children, young people and their families to overcome the enormous challenges they face as a result of the lack of understanding of their needs.

We will take a person-centred approach, focused on individuals’ quality of life, which we call the Ambitious Approach.

Over the next year, we will continue to build on our core expertise in education and employability while engaging more than ever before in the other areas that are essential for autistic children and young people to lead fulfilling lives, such as having supportive families and relationships, good health and wellbeing and being active citizens in their communities.

Underpinned by

  • Participation
  • Strong foundations
  • Partnership

Excellent education

Our overarching aim is that all autistic children and young people have an excellent and inclusive education that enables them to learn, thrive and achieve. Ultimately, this will support them to have a good quality of life, including the realistic prospect of living and working as part of their communities.

Employment and enterprise

Our guiding principle is that we want every autistic young person to have good careers education at school and in further and higher education, including experience of work.This will equip them to progress to employment and instil transferable life-skills.

Health and wellbeing

Good physical and mental health and wellbeing are essential components of an autistic child or young person’s ability to thrive. Right from the start, timely diagnosis followed by post-diagnostic support lays the foundations for understanding autism and how to access the right healthcare and support. Alongside this, autistic people need services that support good mental health by reducing isolation and early intervention through signposting to specialist support.

Family and relationships

During the pandemic, the support autistic young people and their families received reduced substantially or stopped, leaving many feeling even more vulnerable and isolated than ever before. Being connected to others is vital, and autistic young people and their families have told us they want peer networks alongside uplifting but realistic information tailored to them.

Active citizenship in the community

Inclusion is a cornerstone of our Ambitious Approach, and is just as important in the community as it is in education or employment. Our Ambitious Youth Network will be further developed and expanded nationally to empower young people to connect with one another and to influence societal change.

Influencing policy and practice nationally

We are passionate about standing with autistic children and young people. To achieve this, we’ll work with autistic young people and their families to influence policy and practice nationally, to improve their access to excellent education, quality health support, and fulfilling careers.

Strong foundations

We will continue to develop our strong foundations (including governance and leadership, people and culture, fundraising and finances, marketing and communications, research and evaluation, and digital and information technology) to support delivery of the strategy.

Additional Documents

 


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

Jennifer Horanjennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

Accessibility

We understand that different members of the community have different access needs, and have made some modifications to the way we do business in order to accommodate people from diverse communities and abilities. 

Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step-free access to the building, accessible workstations (e.g. desk, office), and step-free access to all key meeting rooms and toilets.
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcomed.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats if needed.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for an interview.
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted.

If you have any further needs around accessibility, please get in touch with the advising consultant for a confidential chat on how we can best fulfil your needs:

Jennifer Horanjennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

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    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the  Role 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 “Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust – Trustee (Property)” into the subject field.

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

    Jennifer Horanjennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.

    Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

    Timetable

    Closing date: Tuesday 2nd January 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Monday 8th January 2024
    Interviews (in person in Central London): Friday 19th January 2024


    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Ambitious About Autism Schools Trust 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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