QuickRead: Single academy trust governance structure

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Last reviewed on 22 May 2024
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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 could have been adapted from the DfE's models
  • Most single academy trusts are made up of 2 layers of governance: members and trustees/directors
  • 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

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