The Trustees invite applications for the role of Chair to succeed John Benington after 9 years in the role. FIGS Trustees are searching for a new Chair to lead FIGS and its partners forward into the next stage of development from a successful start-up, into a more sustainable and resilient organisation for the next 5 to 10 years. The FIGS Chair will be expected to have empathy with the school’s commitment to “core Christian beliefs, but actively welcoming to people of all faiths and none.
Ibba School opened to its first 40 ten-year-old girls in 2014 and has achieved remarkable success in its first 5 years including:
A Trustee Led Organisation
The UK Trustees are responsible to the Charity Commission for the management of the charity, and to Companies House as a company limited by guarantee. The Trustees meet at least quarterly to agree to the budget and accounts, to approve contracts, and to receive progress reports from its working sub-committees, and from the school in South Sudan.
These 7 working sub-committees, comprising Trustees and advisers, have been set up to deal with:
FIGS recently appointed its first paid CEO, particularly to help raise FIGS funding to the higher levels necessary to complete the building programme for the secondary school and the larger numbers of students and staff.
The Governance Structures in the UK and South Sudan
In 2011, Friends of Ibba Girls’ School (FIGS) was registered as a UK charity, to support the design, building and development of the school with funding and professional/technical advice (e.g. architecture, governance, financial management and quality teaching and learning, including appointment of the head-teacher and senior management team).
In 2013, Ibba Girls Boarding School (IGBS) was registered under South Sudanese law, with its own body of South Sudanese Trustees and a Board of Governors (on which the UK Trustees are represented).
Friends of Ibba Girls School, South Sudan (FIGS) is a company limited by guarantee and is registered in England as a charitable trust. The UK trustees are supported by a number of honorary advisers, covering various disciplines and areas of experience, to enable the trustees to better fulfil their responsibilities. These include people with experience in finance and accountancy, fund-raising, law, public policymaking and management (including education, health, national, regional and local government), school leadership and education development, economic and community development, programme evaluation, and international development work.
The South Sudan trustees (which meets once a year) are responsible for guarding, developing and promoting the vision, values and strategy for the school, holding the land and buildings and other assets in trust for the school, and for the selection of the Head Teacher and senior management team. The Board of Governors (which meets 3 times a year – i.e. once a term) is responsible for implementing this strategy, developing a school educational plan and budget, and supporting the Headteacher and staff in the achievement of these goals. FIGS Trustees are represented on both the IGBS Trustees and Governors, to reflect their role not only as of the major donors but also as Friends and long-term partners in the development of the school.
Aims of Ibba School
FIGS and IGBS Trustees met together in Ibba in June 2019 and re-affirmed our joint commitment to the founding vision for IGBS as reflected in the 2011 Memorandum and Articles for FIGS, and the 2014 Constitution for IGBS:
This is exciting, demanding, sometimes difficult and often frustrating, but the hugely rewarding position where the results are tangible. The Chair will have the opportunity to use a wide range of skills and experiences and compared with many of the larger, longer-established NGOs, where Trustees are disconnected from the end-users or front-line beneficiaries, FIGS provides an opportunity to see the direct impact at the school. The Chair of FIGS and other Trustees remain in regular contact with the school, the local community, national, state and local government through visits to South Sudan and IGBS, contributing to and evaluating developments at first hand.
The role of Chair provides a unique opportunity to make an impact on one school that is now attracting attention across the whole of South Sudan, to consolidate its longer-term future, and to contribute to a business and action plan for rippling out the learning across other schools locally, regionally and nationally. FIGS has already achieved more than it was ever believed would be possible in such a short time and for this reason, existing Trustees enthusiastically say it is the most rewarding organisation they have ever been part of.
The overarching role of Chair is to lead and represent both the Trustees and the School when in the UK at external meetings, functions, in the press and other media outlets. The key focus for the incoming Chair of FIGS is to help Trustees further develop its strategic direction, and operational plans and action priorities for the next 5 -10 years. The Chair will work closely with the UK and IGBS Trustees, Governors and Staff in South Sudan to grow the school to the capacity of 360 students, aged 10 to 18 years in 9 classes from Primary 4 to 8 and then from Senior 1 to Senior 4. The Chair will develop targets, priorities, resourcing and timetabling of these activities, manage related budgets and provide regular updates to all stakeholders. The Chair is expected to visit South Sudan and represent FIGS at the annual meeting of the IGBS Trustees and among key stakeholders in the country. The new Chair will be someone whose skills and experience complement the contributions of other Trustees, volunteers and staff who are and will remain actively involved.
Key responsibilities of the role
Leadership and Management of the Board
The Chair of FIGS will provide strong leadership to the Board, providing clear direction and sense of purpose, whilst delegating areas of work to those who have the skills and experience on the board and among volunteers.
Particular requirements are to:
Working across the UK Board of Trustees and the Governors and Staff in South Sudan
Consolidate FIGS working partnership with the South Sudan Trustees and stakeholders drawn from the community, local and state government, churches of all denominations, the private sector and international NGOs. The Chair must have the capacity to visit the school in South Sudan and possess a strong understanding of the cultural environment of the country. In particular to:
Represent FIGS and its values, strategy and priorities to potential funders, at all levels of government, among churches and NGOs, and in public settings, including the media, in the UK and where appropriate in South Sudan. The Chair will oversee and maintain continuous dialogue and feedback with key internal and external stakeholders and in particular, to:
Articulating the vision and values of IGBS
Have empathy with the Christian values of the school and in particular:
Governance, Management and Financial oversight
The Chair will have an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship. The Chair will provide good governance and tight management of all administrative functions of FIGS Trustees. Since 2011 FIGS has raised over £2.3 million divided roughly equally between donations from individuals and from institutions like charitable foundations, schools and churches. Over £2 million of that money has been spent on charitable purposes: about £1.2 million constructing school buildings and about £800,000 running of the school since it opened 5 years ago.
The fundraising challenge continues to increase as the school grows in size each year. Over the next five years, the challenge is to fund another £2 million of buildings and spend roughly the same on operating the school. In particular, it is the Chair’s role to:
This is a complex, wide-ranging and challenging role. We anticipate that candidates will possess a combination of the following skills and experience, though we encourage applications from candidates who possess most, though not all, of these qualities.
Skills and Aptitudes
Up until now, FIGS has been volunteer-led with Trustees taking an active role in helping to establish, and set up Ibba School. Time and travel have been entirely on a voluntary basis, including those Trustees who have visited the school in South Sudan. However, the Trustees realise that a different set of arrangements may need to be put in place for the new Chair, so whilst the role itself does not come with any remuneration, expenses will be discussed as part of the recruitment process.
HOW TO APPLY
To apply for this role, kindly send through a Microsoft Word version of your CV and a cover letter detailing why you are suited to this role. Please mark it for the attention of Tim Wingrove, email address: [email protected]. Please subject your email with the following reference: FIGS_Chair.
Please note that the interview dates for this role will be confirmed with you should your application be successful.