QuickRead: Single academy trust governance structure

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Last reviewed on 13 February 2024
School types: All · School phases: All
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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 DfE's models
  • All single academy trusts are made up of 2 layers of governance: members and trustees/directors


  • 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 the running of the school and determine its strategic direction, holding trust and