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Closed: 22 October 2017

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Posted by Hackney Pirates

Location Hackney, London, Greater London

Job Description

We are an award winning, dynamic and ambitious charity dedicated to supporting children who face disadvantages in their learning and who are under-achieving at school.

We are looking for our next Chair to lead the organisation alongside a fantastic Board of Trustees and staff team, the Crew. We are looking for someone who shares our values and ambition; who will lead the organisation to replicate our model and achieve growth in the next few years.

The Hackney Pirates launched in 2010 to create better outcomes for young people of Hackney whose backgrounds give them less opportunity and at the end of primary school are beginning to underachieve.

Two in three children living in low income households in the UK fall below the expected levels in reading and writing by the age of 11. Only one in three young people from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve 5 GCSE passes in the UK. Our programme is set to change that statistic.

Schools tend to target any additional available resources at children who have severe learning needs or behavioural needs. Most charities that work with schools focus on students who exhibit strong academic abilities. This results in low self-confidence, further falling behind and a bleak long-term outcome.

Hackney Pirates is a teacher-led programme focusing on their literacy, confidence and perseverance. Our belief is that these core skills and attributes are critical for school learning and success.

We work with 150 young people aged 9-12 years old (school years 5, 6 and 7), each year. We provide high quality, after school learning opportunity; support by extra personalised attention in an exciting, fun and fantastical learning environment. The programme is delivered by our dedicated Crew supported by volunteer s from the local community.

Our innovative model has received awards and a wide range of support since we started in 2010, including from schools, national charity Teach First, corporate supporters and charity partners. 

In the next three years we are looking to implement a strategy for replication and growth. We are looking for someone to match our ambitions and drive the charity forward as we grow and reach many more young people. 


Start date: January 2018

Time commitment: Four Board meetings per year. The Chair is also expected to have regular meetings with the Chief Executive and represent Hackney Pirates at various events and meetings with key stakeholders. Hackney Pirates Chair (and board members) serve a two year term, following a six month probation period, and are eligible for re-appointment for one additional term.

Reporting to: Board of Trustees


The Chair will hold the Board and Chief Executive to account for Hackney Pirates mission and vision, providing inclusive leadership to the Board of Trustees, ensuring that each trustee fulfils their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of Hackney Pirates.

The Chair will also support, and where appropriate, challenge the Chief Executive and ensure that the Board functions as a unit and works closely with the entire Crew of Hackney Pirates to achieve agreed objectives. He or she will act as an ambassador and the public face of Hackney Pirates in partnership with the Chief Executive.

As such the candidates should bring

  • a strong conviction that they have an inclusive leadership style that fits with the values of Hackney Pirates, and
  • a strong personal network and networking capabilities that they would be willing to leverage for the benefit of Hackney Pirates.


Strategic leadership

  • Provide leadership to Hackney Pirates and its Board, ensuring that Hackney Pirates has maximum impact for its beneficiaries
  • Ensure that Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of Hackney Pirates
  • Ensure that the Board operates within its charitable objectives, and provides a clear strategic direction for Hackney Pirates
  • Ensure that the Board is able to regularly review major risks and opportunities, and satisfy itself that systems are in place to take advantage of opportunities, and manage and mitigate the risks
  • Ensure that the Board provides clear leadership when navigating opportunities for growth 
  • Ensure that the Board fulfils its duties to ensure the sound financial health of Hackney Pirates, with systems in place to ensure financial accountability.

External Relations

  • Act as an ambassador for the cause; represent Hackney Pirates at external functions, meetings and events, maintain close relationships with key influencers
  • Raise Hackney Pirates profile with potential partners, volunteers, funders and other stakeholders
  • Utilize personal and professional networks to support fundraising activities
  • Work with the Chief Executive to create specific opportunities for Board members to engage in fundraising

Relationship with the Chief Executive

  • Establish and build a strong, effective and a constructive working relationship with the Chief Executive, ensuring they are held to account for achieving agreed strategic objectives
  • Support the Chief Executive, whilst respecting the boundaries which exist between the two roles
  • Ensure regular contact with the Chief Executive, develop and maintain an open and supportive relationship within which each can speak freely about concerns, worries and challenges
  • Conduct an annual appraisal and remuneration review for the Chief Executive in consultation with other Trustees
  • Ensure that the Chief Executive has the opportunity for professional development and has appropriate external professional support


  • Chair meetings of the Board of Trustees effectively and efficiently, bringing impartiality and objectivity to the decision-making process
  • Ensure that Trustees are fully engaged and that decisions are taken in the long-term interests of Hackney Pirates and that the Board takes collective ownership
  • Appraise the performance of the Trustees and the Board on an annual basis and ensure that the Board of Trustees incorporates the right balance of skills, knowledge and experience needed
  • Develop the knowledge and capability of the Board of Trustees 
  • Foster, maintain and ensure that constructive relationships exist with and between the Trustees. Address and resolve any conflicts within the Board
  • Work closely with the Chief Executive to give direction to Board policy-making and to ensure that meetings are well planned, meaningful and reflect the responsibilities of trustees. Monitor that decisions taken at meetings are implemented.

The above list is indicative only and not exhaustive. The Chair will be expected to perform all such additional duties as are reasonably commensurate with the roles


Personal Qualities

  • Demonstrate a strong, visible passion and commitment to Hackney Pirates, its strategic objectives and cause
  • Personal gravitas for an organisation aiming to be a significant national organisation
  • Strong personal networks and networking capabilities that can be utilised for the benefit of Hackney Pirates
  • Exhibit strong inter-personal and relationship building abilities and be comfortable in an ambassadorial role
  • Demonstrate tact and diplomacy, with the ability to listen and engage effectively
  • Ability to foster and promote a collaborative team environment
  • Ability to commit time to conduct the role effectively, including travel and attending events out of office hours


  • Experience of operating at a senior strategic leadership level within an organisation
  • Successful track record of achievement throughout their career
  • Experience of external representation, delivering presentations and managing stakeholders
  • Significant experience of chairing meetings and events
  • Experience leveraging networks to raise funds
  • Desirable - Experience of charity governance and working with or as part of a Board of Trustees

Desirable (not essential) Skills

  • Desirable - Commercial acumen
  • Desirable - Financial management expertise
  • Desirable - Good understanding of charity governance issues

The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.

Pack - Hackney Pirates Chair of Trustees (.pdf) Download

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