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 6 February 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 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 it may have adapted from the Department for Education's models
  • All academy trusts are made up of at least 2 layers of governance: members and trustees/directors
  • Multi-academy trusts may have a third layer: a local governing body (LGB)


  • 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
    • Have the power to change the company's name and ultimately wind it up

Are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust (both terms are commonly used) Make sure the trust complies with charity and company law, and the academy trust's own funding agreement Are accountable to the members of the trust and to the secretary of state Oversee