Multi-academy trust governance
How does multi-academy trust governance work?
A multi-academy trust (MAT) runs multiple academies, as opposed to a single academy trust which runs only one. While all academy trusts have two layers of governance (the members of the trust and the board of trustees), a multi-academy trust may have further layers of governance in the form of local governing bodies or other committees which may relate to one or more academy.
The members of the trust are the subscribers to the trust’s memorandum of association. Members have a limited financial liability to the trust and can appoint and remove trustees.
The trustees oversee the running of the MAT and determine its strategic direction. They are also responsible for ensuring compliance with charity and company law and the academy trust’s funding agreement. They are accountable to the members of the trust and the secretary of state.
In a MAT, the board of trustees may delegate some of its functions to ‘local governing bodies’ in each or some of the schools. Local governors who sit on local governing bodies are not trustees unless they also sit on the trust’s board.
Governance structures may differ between MATs
Boards are free to determine their governance structure as they see fit. There is no requirement for MATs to have local governing bodies.
In large MATs, the board may decide to appoint committees that oversee groups of local governing bodies, for example a ‘regional cluster’. Both committees and local governing bodies are appointed by MAT boards. They may include MAT trustees but can be anyone that the board selects base on their skills. In smaller MATs, the board may decide to simply have a local governing for each school.
Boards of trustees decide what to delegate
It is also up to the board to decide which, if any, of its functions it wants to delegate to local governing bodies. The MAT must have a scheme of delegation setting out how and what it delegates. Some MATs decide to delegate based on the strength of their schools. For example, a strong school might be given a high level of autonomy, whereas a struggling school may not be delegated as many responsibilities.
Some MATs choose to have ‘advisory boards’ in the place of local governing bodies. These are bodies whose role it is to engage with parents and local communities, understand their views and needs and listen to their feedback.
Boards should be closely linked to advisory boards and take into account and respond to any issues or risks that they identify and feed back to the board.
To see the members of Edgar Stammers Primary Academies Local Governing Body please click here.