Role of the Trustees

To apply to join our Board of Trustees contact:

The Board of Trustees of Hebden Bridge School will assist and support the school in its aims to be democratic, soulful and creative. The direction of the school is decided by its school meetings where students and teachers take key decisions together. The board functions as a guardian to the school to make sure its democratic principles are not compromised, that the school abides by its fundamental principles, that it operates within the law and is run sustainably.

For a charity it is a legal obligation to have a board of trustees and the positions are unpaid.


Our Chairperson is Wendy Hollway. Our regulatory compliance trustee is Gaynor Thompson-Clarke, while environmental ethics and building supervision is Rosaline Howell. Dale Middlehurst assists with outdoor and technoligical education and Lisa Matthews  advisies on School leadership and marketing. There are two institutions that are represented on our board. One is Sands School in Ashburton, Devon bringing nearly 30 years of experience of being a small democratically-run secondary school. Another trustee is Share-HLP a charity based in Rome with extensive experience of integrating principles of yoga and mediation into the everyday life of learning environments. To join them we are looking to recruit individuals with a breadth of experience, skills  and knowledge in the following areas:





Meetings will be every month while the school is being set up between December 2015 and September 2016 (phase 1). Once the school is set up meetings will be once or twice per term (phase 2).

Phase 1. Setting up.

The first priority of the trustees is to oversee the start-up period, until September 2016, when the school is planned to open. This presents many challenges but the genesis of a project is also an exciting moment. We will lay down the foundations for a school which will transform teaching and learning and have a significant impact on the local community for years to come. The board will oversee and advise upon:

Student recruitment

Sustainable administration of finances

Regulatory compliance

Establishment of appropriate facilities

Working relations with local bodies and individuals

Fundraising to subsidise fees

Assessing school facilities and pedagogical strategies for environmentally sustainability

Phase 2. Up and running

  • The trustees are the legally responsible body for Hebden Bridge School which is a Company, a Charity, an Employer and a School registered with the Department for Education (DfE) all of which require compliance and reporting. The trustees:
  • act as the arbitrators of last resort, available to help if called upon by the School Meeting if there are issues which the school feels it is unable to deal with or resolve or which are not appropriate for the school to deal with. The school’s procedures for managing complaints and staff grievance / discipline have specific roles for the trustees and / or the chair of trustees.
  • agree a budget for the school and monitor progress against the budget. The trustees’ role is to ensure sound financial management and agree fees and salaries, but the budget should reflect the priorities set by the School Meeting.
  • ensure that the school meets the standards required by the DfE; these are inspected by Ofsted and the trustees must ensure an Action Plan is put in place and acted upon to address any short-comings.

If you feel you have something to offer, have a look at our website, beginning with our philosophy, to see if the direction in which you want to take your skills and knowledge resonates with the aims of our school. You can then send your CV to prior to being invited to an interview.

The role of the chair of trustees

The chair is elected by the trustees but has no powers other than when authorised by the trustees to act on their behalf. This is mainly an administrative position; making sure that the necessary decisions are taken, rather than taking them. The chair:

  • Prepares agendas and chairs meetings.
  • Appoints a minute-taker and signs the minutes of the previous meeting, once approved.
  • Facilitates the timely, participative, supportive, and effective conduct of meetings.
  • Provides trustees with all the relevant information necessary for decisions about fees and salaries and ensures these decisions are taken…
  • Ensures legal compliance with regard to company returns, Charity status, etc.
  • Maintains the requisite number of trustees (between five and twelve), frequency of meetings (three times a year), and ensures that meetings are quorate (at least five trustees present).
  • Ensures an Annual General Meeting, where the previous year’s accounts are scrutinised, and writes a Chair’s Statement for the official accounts, prepared in collaboration with accountants and the Administrator.
  • Liaises with the Head Teacher about all staff employment issues, and formal student disciplinary actions.
  • Plays a mediating role in the case of any major discontents in the school (for example complaints from parents or staff, that are not resolved by the school meeting), either by stepping in personally to help the school community to solve the problem, or by delegating the responsibility to another trustee.