Chair of the Board of Trustees

Company: UK Mathematics Trust (UKMT)
Salary: Unpaid (Volunteer Role)

Are you an experienced leader with a love of mathematics and knowledge of the Charity and/or education sector, looking for an opportunity to lead a national charity? A strong communicator with governance experience is sought to Chair the Board and ensure we meet our strategic objectives.
About the UK Mathematics Trust (UKMT)

The UKMT is a charity that operates across the UK, advancing the education of children and young people in mathematics, in particular by organising and running mathematics competitions.

These competitions are essential to the UKMT’s goal to inspire a love of mathematical problem solving in the widest possible group of young people. Several hundred thousand young people participate in UKMT activities every year.

The UKMT consists of several hundred diverse volunteers, of whom about a hundred are Members of the Trust. The Trustees are drawn from within the volunteers and Membership and from outside the organisation. UKMT staff are led by the Executive Director. You can find out about volunteering at the UKMT at this link.

Alongside our core business, the UKMT’s strategic objectives include: digital transformation, impact assessment, people planning and inclusivity & diversity.

What is a UKMT Trustee?
Trustees set the strategic direction and shape the agenda of the Trust. Trustees also have the responsibility to ensure that the charity carries out its purposes for public benefit; to ensure that the Trust complies with the law and its governing document; to ensure that the Trust is accountable; to act in the Trust’s best interests; to manage the Trust’s resources responsibly; and to act with reasonable care and skill. More information about Trustees’ responsibilities can be found on the Government website ( ).

Our Trustees sit on a Board of Trustees and are at the heart of our organisation. Trustees are responsible for the Trust’s overall vision and long-term strategic direction. The Board of Trustees delegates tasks to Board Committees and to the Executive Director, and evaluates progress. Trustees need to be effective, both individually and collectively, if they are to have a positive impact on the UKMT and enable the organisation to fulfil its charitable objects.

The Board of Trustees comprises up to sixteen Trustees, up to six appointed by the UKMT Membership and up to ten appointed by the Board. UKMT Trustees are automatically Members of the Trust. This role description is for the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

What is involved?
All UKMT volunteers, including Trustees, are encouraged to serve a minimum of three years. Trustees normally serve between three and six years.

The Board of Trustees currently meets four times a year with meetings lasting between two and three hours. Some meetings are in person (usually in London or Leeds); some are online. Trustees are invited to attend UKMT events to gain a good understanding of the activities of the Trust. Training (for example in Safeguarding) and induction will be provided.

In addition to attending meetings, Trustees are expected to participate in discussions via electronic means (such as email or virtual meeting) from time to time during the year, which may be led by the Chair. The role of the Chair requires further commitment, including managing and communicating with the Executive Director on a regular basis, following up on any relevant actions from meetings, and participating in other aspects of our activities as needed. The total time commitment will depend on the priorities of the Trust and any external influences. We anticipate this time commitment will be no more than 20-25 hours per month.

All Trustees are invited to attend our Annual General Meeting, which usually takes place in London on the Wednesday immediately before Easter Sunday.

Description of tasks
According to guidance from the Charity Commission (, Trustees’ main duties are to:

  1. Ensure your charity is carrying out its purpose for the public benefit.
  2. Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law.
  3. Act in your charity’s best interest.
  4. Manage your charity’s resources responsibly.
  5. Act with reasonable care and skill.
  6. Ensure your charity is accountable.
The Chair does not automatically have any more extra powers or legal duties than the other Trustees, but may have specific roles or responsibilities delegated to them. In the case of UKMT, these specific responsibilities include:
  1. Chairing meetings of the Board of Trustees.
  2. Chairing the Annual General Meeting.
  3. Managing and communicating regularly with the Executive Director.
  4. Understanding the importance of the work of our volunteers, and ensuring effective communication with the Trust’s volunteering community.
  5. Ensuring the Board of Trustees has the range of skills required to carry out its role, making sure all Trustees understand their role, and managing any conflicts of interest.
  6. Encouraging the Board of Trustees to work as an effective team, to participate constructively during meetings and to take their share in the work of any committees.
  7. Investigating or dealing with escalated complaints or misconduct as per the Code of Practice and Grievance Policy for Volunteers.
  8. Leading strategic developments within the Trust, in partnership with the Executive Director.
Additional responsibilities may also include:
  1. Being an ambassador for the UKMT at external meetings and events, such as meetings with government or potential sponsors, or at volunteer events.
  2. Acting as a spokesperson to represent the UKMT’s views, e.g., in the media.
Skills and experience sought
The principles and personal attributes that individuals bring to the UKMT are as important as their skills and knowledge. These qualities enable Trustees to use their skills and knowledge to function well as part of a team and to make an active contribution to effective governance. The Chair of the Board of Trustees should demonstrate:
  1. Strong commitment to the UKMT’s aim and goals.
  2. Experience of collaborative leadership and chairing meetings.
  3. Experience in a trustee / non-executive director role.
  4. Knowledge of good governance.
  5. Experience in a strategic role, and an understanding of the differences between strategic and operational roles.
  6. Excellent knowledge of or willingness to learn about mathematical enrichment in the UK and beyond.
  7. Willingness to take a leading role in the work of the Trust, devoting the required time and energy to help advance the education of young people in mathematics.
  8. Strong commitment to safeguarding, and an understanding of the UKMT policies relating to this (available at
  9. Creativity and willingness to challenge conventional wisdom in an appropriate manner and open-mindedness about new approaches, recognising the value of innovation and creative thinking to organisational development and success.
  10. Ability to communicate views and opinions clearly and in a constructive manner in person and via email.
  11. Willingness to listen and work in partnership with others.
  12. Ability to build strong working relationships with Trustees, our volunteering community, the Executive Director and other staff, and with other stakeholders as appropriate.
  13. Ability to deal with challenging situations in a courteous but, where necessary, firm manner.
We are looking for the new Chair to be in post by April 2023. If the successful candidate is available before then, a handover period with the current Interim Chair is likely to be beneficial. If the successful candidate is not available until shortly after April 2023, a later start can be negotiated.

How will I participate?
Board meetings and UKMT events may be held throughout the country and some travel may be required to attend. All other administrative tasks can be done at your convenience. Some meetings are held online.
This role is voluntary (unpaid) but reasonable expenses will be paid to enable Trustees to attend meetings. If you are a serving teacher, we will pay for cover to enable you to attend meetings that fall within term-time.

What are the legal and DBS requirements?
There is a mandatory requirement for an enhanced DBS check for this role.

It is essential that you adhere to the UKMT Safeguarding Policy at all times. The UKMT puts safeguarding at the heart of the organisation and you will be required to complete safeguarding training.

Please note, to become a trustee you must not be disqualified from serving as a trustee. Further information can be found at Why some individuals can't act as charity trustees.

Support in your new role
You will receive advice from other Trustees and the Executive Director or their representative, and it will be possible to consult with previous Chairs. We will provide a comprehensive induction to ensure you have sufficient knowledge of the Trust and the role of Trustees to carry out your role. Trustees undertake training in general issues relating to charity governance.

If you ever need any advice or support, the Volunteering Manager is always available to help.

How do I apply?
We welcome applications from a diverse range of backgrounds. Candidates should complete an application form, outline their background and experiences that are relevant to the UKMT charitable objects and to the particular areas of expertise and skills that we have identified above. Please send this (up to 1000 words), your CV or biographical sketch, and the names of two referees, to Charlie Western (UKMT Volunteer Manager,

Applications will be considered as they arrive, with a closing date of 12 September. The term of appointment is three years in the first instance.

Feel free to contact Alastair Rucklidge (, Chair of the UKMT Nominations and Remuneration Committee, if you would like to discuss this role.

For further information about the UKMT, our governance, our policies and other volunteering opportunities, please visit our website.

Apply now