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Trustee Recruitment

Co-op Academies Trust is seeking a number of new Trustees who are aligned with our mission and have the relevant knowledge to specialise in one or more of the following areas to support the Trust in ensuring its future success.

About Co-op Academies Trust

Co-op Academies Trust is a successful, values-led Academy Trust based across the north of England. The Trust supports students aged three to nineteen in 29 primary, secondary, and special schools and its sixth-form college, giving children and young people the skills and experiences they need to succeed, no matter where they come from. Going forward, the Trust aims to grow to 40 schools and it will continue to focus on growing in areas of deprivation.

Popular with students, parents, and teachers, Co-op Academies Trust began in 2010 with just two academies: one in Manchester and one in Stoke-on-Trent. Two years later, in 2012, we began to work with a cluster of academies in Leeds, and by 2014 we had five academies there. In 2018, as the Trust reached twelve academies, the Co-op Group invested £3.6m into the academies programme. The next year, two Special Schools joined the Trust, making it the most diverse multi-academy trust in the country. In 2022 we grew to 30 schools which are organised into three hubs, situated in Greater Manchester, Staffordshire & Merseyside, and West Yorkshire. As well as supporting improving schools, some Ofsted-rated ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools have chosen to join the Trust, strengthening our offer.

The Trust’s central support provision is robust and the Trust is in a strong financial position. Co-op Academies Trust has a unique partnership with our sponsor, the Co-op Group. This close relationship means that we benefit from all of the business expertise which has seen the Co-op grow to one of the most respected, successful businesses in the country. Everyone in the Trust honours our fundamental commitment to the Ways of Being Co-op. They are our DNA; they represent the Trust’s culture and reflect the rationale behind our decision-making. Co-op Academies Trust is a place where you are part of something bigger. Through leading education and serving our communities, the Trust’s academies are working to make a better world.

Role specification

The Trust is a not-for-profit educational charitable company and our governance structure ensures that we meet the Department for Education’s requirements to ensure probity, good governance, and excellent educational provision. The members of the Trust Board, the Trustees, focus on the three core functions of governance:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos, and strategic direction
  2. Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the Trust academies and their students and the performance management of staff
  3. Overseeing and ensuring effective financial performance

Person specification

Co-op Academies Trust is seeking a number of new Trustees who are aligned with our mission and have the relevant knowledge to specialise in one or more of the following areas to support the Trust in ensuring its future success. Successful candidates may have experience in one or more of the following areas:

Education: applicants will bring strategic educational experience. They may have held leadership positions, such as CEO, Director, or Head of School, and have a background in primary, secondary, Further Education, Higher Education, or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). They may also have a background in school improvement, Ofsted, or working with local authorities. The Trust is also interested in hearing from people who have worked in national public sector educational organisations.

Public Sector: applicants will bring senior public sector / third sector leadership experience and acumen. They may have held senior roles within the NHS, housing, infrastructure, or government, and will be able to provide an in-depth understanding of system leadership. Candidates may also have experience within a charity that focusses on young people.

Safeguarding: the ideal candidate will bring first-hand experience in safeguarding in a primary or secondary school, or Further or Higher education setting. Individuals with experience in other sectors are also welcome to apply, so long as they have senior experience in safeguarding and a keen interest in sustaining and developing knowledge of it in a school context.

Although prior board experience is welcomed, Co-op Academies Trust welcomes applications from first-time non-executives. Above all, the successful applicant will be passionate about young people’s education and will share the Trust’s fundamental commitment to the Ways of Being Co-op.

The Trust is open to candidates based in the North of England as well as those based further afield as long as they are able to access Manchester for board meetings. 

Board composition

You can read more about the current Trustees here.

Terms of appointment

There are five Board meetings per year, which typically take place in person in Manchester, but we can accommodate hybrid meetings. Trustees are also expected to join a Committee. Committees take place online, four or five times per year. There is an additional annual strategy day, and ad hoc engagement and school visits are to be expected. The appointment is for an initial term of four years, which can be renewed once at the discretion of the Board. This role is unremunerated but reasonable, pre-agreed expenses will be reimbursed.

Co-op Academies Trust is committed to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults as our number one priority. We follow robust recruitment, selection, and induction procedures, and all successful applicants will be subject to a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.


Candidates will be based in the UK, and happy to travel to visit academies.


Co-op Academies Trust welcomes applications from everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith or disability. To better reflect its highly diverse student population, and as those from an ethnic minority background are currently under-represented on the Board, applications from such individuals would be particularly encouraged.


For further information about the role please email a copy of your CV and a brief background to Ruth Agnew, Head of Governance and Data Protection –