QuickRead: Multi-academy trust governance structure

Save time by reading our summary of the governance structure in multi-academy trusts (MATs). Download a copy to share with your governing board.

Last reviewed on 22 May 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 5721

An 'academy trust'

  • An academy trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee, and an independent legal entity 
  • Its governance requirements are set out in its own articles of association, which could have been adapted from the DfE's models
  • All academy trusts are made up of at least 2 layers of governance: members and trustees/directors
  • Multi-academy trusts (MATs) often have a 3rd layer: local governing bodies (LGBs)
  • Governance structures in church academies should reflect the diocesan strategy (check with your diocese for details)


  • Sit above the board of trustees and have a largely hands-off role, similar to a company's shareholders
  • Have some specific responsibilities. They:
    • Can appoint the trustees
    • Can amend the articles of association
    • Can appoint the trust’s external auditors
    • Have the power to change the company's name and ultimately wind it up
  • Members of trusts that include church academies must also ensure that the religious character of the church academy is preserved and developed

Are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust

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