Academy trust governance guide: summary of changes

The DfE has withdrawn the Governance Handbook and replaced it with new guidance. Get up to speed on the changes, which include a change of format and a more streamlined approach.

Last reviewed on 13 March 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 44519
  1. A new format and consolidation of other guidance
  2. Less prescriptive guidance and more signposting to third parties
  3. The removal of the 3 core functions
  4. Statutory policies sit within the guide
  5. You must promote British values
  6. Requirements for cyber security training
  7. The 'diocesan academisation strategy'
  8. A correction regarding 'local authority associated people'
  9. Publishing information about your governance professional
  10. Greater emphasis on staff wellbeing
  11. Other guidance changes to be aware of
  12. A summary of the guide

This article refers to the academy trust governance guide from the Department for Education (DfE), which came into effect on 7 March 2024.

The guide is now the DfE’s primary source of governance information for academy governors and trustees. It replaces the Governance Handbook, which has now been withdrawn.

There are no significant changes and the new guide is likely to reflect what your board is already doing.

This article summarises what has changed.

A new format and consolidation of other guidance

There's very little that is new. This is because the guide:

  • Includes guidance that was already in place, such as from the now-withdrawn Governance Handbook, as well as the Academy Trust Handbook (ATH) and the Commissioning High-Quality Trusts guidance
  • Reflects changes already made for academy trusts since the Governance Handbook was last revised

The guide is a shorter, more streamlined HTML document, rather than a PDF. A DfE representative told us

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.