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Trustees Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust

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

  • Location: Sutton
  • Salary: Reasonable expenses paid
  • Closing date: Thursday 30th May

Who we are.

At Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust (OHC&AT), we are a family of specialist education providers from pre-school 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.

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:


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.

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 demonstrates 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 one to two of our committees:

  • Quality, Standards and Safeguarding Committee
  • People Committee
  • Finance and Resources Committee
  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Governance Steering 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.

The expected time commitment works out to be 1 – 2 days per month.

Who we are looking for.

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.

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. Teaching and learning (ideally gained from further education or the independent SEND sector)
  3. Human Resources and People Transformation

To succeed in the role of Trustee, we require the ideal blend of specialist knowledge, to add value to the discussions 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 are open to the type of industry and level of leadership/management in which you have experience.

We welcome interest from both experienced and strategic leaders of large and complex businesses, and aspirant leaders for whom becoming a Trustee can support their own leadership journey.

Our employees and Trustees are, put simply, 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 to us that you feel a strong connection to our core purpose and feel compelled to help 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 consultants at Peridot Partners to arrange a discussion.

Peridot Partners and Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust 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 candidates 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:

Chloe Coxchloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07539 386980

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

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

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Welcome 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 two people 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 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 consultants 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

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

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.

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

Chloe Coxchloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07539 386980

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

    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

    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 “Application: Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust – Trustees” into the subject field. You will receive an acknowledgement on receipt of your application within 2-3 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please make contact with our admin team.

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

    Chloe Coxchloe@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07539 386980

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

    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.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

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



    Closing date: Thursday 30th May 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Thursday 7th June 2024
    Interviews: Tuesday 20th June 2024

    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 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 practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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