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Trustees/Non-Executive Directors Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust

Join the truly collaborative non-executive board of Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust as a Trustee and apply your professional expertise to support the strategic development of special education and inclusion strategies which transform lives.

  • Location: Multiple locations across London, Surrey, Sussex, and Berkshire
  • Salary: Voluntary with reasonable out of pocket expenses paid

About the role

Our collaborative board, referred to by us as the Family Board and comprised of both our College and Academy Trustee Boards, meets three times each academic year. This innovative governance structure is a demonstration of our partnership ethos whilst also serving to help Trustees from both our College and the Academy Trust gain insight into the plans, policies, challenges, risks and finances of both the College and the Academy Trust. Our two Chairs work together to share the leadership of meetings and encourage contributions from everyone in support of OHC&AT’s shared strategic agenda and our executive leadership team.

Together, our Trustees form the non-executive body of Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust. They attend meetings of the Family Board plus additional committee meetings. It is expected that each Trustee devotes additional time to joining at least one of our committees:

  • Finance and Resources Committee
  • Safeguarding Oversight Committee
  • Quality & Standards Committee
  • Remuneration Committee
  • Audit & Risk Committee

The committees are the heart of our governance structure, where policy, plans and reports are debated and challenged. Through having developed an excellent working relationship between our Trustees and the executive leadership, our Trustees feel comfortable asking difficult and searching questions, and in return, our executive team welcomes the professional experience that Trustees can share with them.

We are currently reviewing our approach to how we support Trustees with academy and college visits. There are a significant number of sites which are spread over a large geographic area and, whilst we would encourage our Trustees to visit all of our academies and college sites, we recognise it is not easy to do so. Whilst it is essential you are available for formal meetings and events, we understand that you too have other commitments and will welcome you to our settings at your convenience.

Who we are looking for

In 2022-2023, our turnover was £84 million. We are a significantly sized and financially complex organisation operating across multiple English counties and boroughs of London. We have recently built new schools, have more being developed, and have grown exponentially over the past few years because of our excellent reputation for the delivery of high-quality and supportive education. Whilst our financial health is in a strong position, we, as a large provider of public services, are not isolated from the challenges affecting many education providers across the country and must manage our risks well.

With costs having significantly increased and unlikely to move back to a former position, combined with an ambition to develop an estates strategy which will identify the capital investment required across our academy and college sites, we will have to continue to manage our money well.

With significant investment going into major capital projects, including new buildings and digital infrastructure, both our executive leadership team and Board of Trustees are only too aware of the important balance to be struck between the need to innovate and provide our learners with world-class facilities fit for the 21st century, with the need to be fiscally aware. We are confident that we do this well and have a talented team, though we welcome interest and the contribution of other professionals with similar experiences.

Through a recent skills review of our current Board of Trustees we have highlighted professional expertise in the following areas as skills gaps, which we are looking forward to recruiting to:

  1. Financial management and accounting
  2. Audit
  3. Risk management and assurance
  4. Teaching and learning (ideally gained from further education or the independent SEND sector)
  5. Digital and cyber
  6. Capital project management

In total, we are looking to appoint six people, who will join the Board of Trustees of Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust.

To be successful in the role of Trustee we require the ideal blend of specialist knowledge – to add value to the discussions that take place in both formal meetings and in informal one-to-one settings with executive team members – and capacity.

Whilst it is important that you are sufficiently qualified and experienced in the specialist areas mentioned above, we also need to feel confident that you have the necessary time to devote to: preparing for the meetings and reading the papers, attending the meetings, attending other formal events, and visiting our academies and college sites to see the wonderful things which happen at OHC&AT.

We encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply, and so are open to the type of industry and level of leadership/management you have experience in. We welcome interest from both experienced and strategic leaders of very large and complex businesses, and also aspirant leaders for whom becoming a Trustee can support their own leadership journey.

Our employees and Trustees, put simply, are brilliant. Everyone employed here, whether in strategic, management, or operational delivery roles knows how important OHC&AT is to our children, young adults, their parents and carers. It is important that you too feel a strong connection to our core purpose and feel compelled to help to us become even better than we are today. If, having read through this information and visited our website, you too believe that no limit should be placed on what is possible and that everyone has the ability to be the very best they can be, then please do contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners to arrange a discussion.

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

Drew Richardson-Walsh by emailing abbie@peridotpartners.co.uk

Education recruitment with Drew Richardson-Walsh

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Drew Richardson-Walsh

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Welcome messages from the Chair of Orchard Hill College and Chair of Orchard Hill College Academy Trust

Dear candidates,

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Trustee of Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust (OHC&AT). Our Trustees are central to the success of OHC&AT and, collectively, we take full responsibility for the overall direction, strategy and vision of the college and academies within our organisation.

Legally, we are two separate entities though we work through a deliberately collaborative governance and leadership structure. Whilst we will be looking to appoint six people in total across our College Board and our Academy Trust Board, the people appointed will see how we choose to discharge our duties as Trustees through one collaborative board – our Family Board – and its committees.

Whilst being a Trustee is a serious public duty, there are several hugely rewarding aspects of the role that can help a person personally and professionally:

  • Knowing you are contributing to a worthwhile cause: Everyone here shares a strong sense of moral purpose and public duty.
  • Building strategic knowledge of corporate governance: As part of the Board of a very large specialist education provider and charity, working across London and the Southeast of England, the skills you will learn (in return for the knowledge you share) will help you and develop you.
  • Acquiring new skills: We commit to supporting your development as a Trustee through training, information and sharing experiences.
  • Building a professional network and friendships: Our Trustees come from a variety of backgrounds and bring very different skill-sets and experiences. That’s what makes being a Trustee at OHC&AT so rewarding, as you have the opportunity to develop a professional network which is likely to be very different from your day-to-day contacts.
  • Sharing your passion and enjoying your role as a Trustee: We have no doubt that once you join us as a Trustee you will be very keen to get involved and feel incredibly passionate about the work we do and how we positively affect the lives of children, adults, and their parents and carers.

We do hope that you find the information here interesting and insightful, and if you possess the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and time, then we very much encourage you to contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners to find out more.

Yours sincerely,

Jay Mercer, Chair of Orchard Hill College Academy Trust

Peter Lauener, Chair of Orchard Hill College

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

Drew Richardson-Walsh by emailing abbie@peridotpartners.co.uk

About Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust

At Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust (OHC&AT), we are a family of specialist education providers from preschool through to further education based across London, Surrey, Sussex and Berkshire and we fully represent all designations of special education needs and disabilities (SEND).

Working together to transform lives is what we do and, across the whole organisation, we have a range of experts and practitioners who advocate for children and young people with SEND to ensure they receive the best possible opportunities to achieve their full potential.

Since the College was established in 1983 it has grown from a small hospital provision into an Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ college that operates from eight college centres and provides post-16 education for students with moderate, complex and profound learning needs.

In 2013, the College established the Academy Trust to share its expertise and provide services and support to specialist schools. Orchard Hill College Academy Trust is now home to 14 special schools and we have three live Free School projects in progress with projected opening dates ranging from 2024 to 2026.

Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust exist to support, enable, and champion the talents, skills and rights of the most complex and vulnerable people in our society in order that we can release their potential, promote their well-being and transform their lives.

As an organisation, we adhere to the seven principles of public life to drive our behaviours and provide a framework for our actions. These are loyalty, openness, objectivity, selflessness, honesty, integrity and accountability.

Within this framework, we have defined our own set of core values and behaviours:

  • Confident
  • Respectful
  • Equitable
  • Advocacy
  • Team working
  • Enabling

As a community of learners, families, and colleagues our ethos is that by working collaboratively, with energy and ambition we can always effect positive change. At the core of our ethos is the conviction that there should be no limit placed on what is possible and that everyone has the ability to be the very best they can be.

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

Drew Richardson-Walsh by emailing abbie@peridotpartners.co.uk

Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust (OHC&AT) is committed to providing outstanding educational opportunities for all our pupils, students and apprentices.

OHC&AT is a ‘family’ of providers, comprising Orchard Hill College (OHC) and Orchard Hill College Academy Trust (OHCAT), which works for mutual benefit.

OHC&AT is proud of its diverse community of pupils/students, apprentices, staff and stakeholders and is committed to maintaining excellence in teaching and learning by ensuring there is equality of opportunity for all, fostered in an environment of mutual respect and dignity.

Equality means ensuring everyone is able to participate in all our activities. Diversity acknowledges there are differences between people, which should be recognised, respected and celebrated. Inclusion means everyone feels enabled to participate fully in the life of the OHC&AT community, and valued for the contributions that they make.

OHC&AT celebrates our organisational diversity. We embed a culture where all can contribute and be themselves. As a public body, we strive to be an exemplar to others. We value and welcome the different ideas, skills, behaviours and experiences of all. We aim to foster a culture that promotes well-being and mental health and provides support to enable everyone within our community to thrive. As an employer and provider of education, we are committed to meeting our legal obligations and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in both our work and our workforce.

We recognise that we need staff from diverse backgrounds to help ensure we make sound decisions that are representative of different perspectives within society. We seek to positively influence the approach of the staff and pupils/students/apprentices we work with to promote diversity and inclusion. We believe that a diverse workforce can help us to do that much more effectively

Some examples of our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interview
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted

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

Drew Richardson-Walsh by emailing abbie@peridotpartners.co.uk

    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 Role Description and Person Specification and complete this equality monitoring survey.

    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 “Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust – Trustees” into the subject field.

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

    Drew Richardson-Walsh by emailing abbie@peridotpartners.co.uk

    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.


    Closing date: 12 p.m. Monday 19th June 2023
    Candidates informed of outcome: By 5 p.m. on Monday 26th June 2023
    Interviews: Thursday 6th or Friday 7th July 2023

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Orchard Hill College & Academy 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 would therefore be most grateful if you would complete this equality monitoring survey.

    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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