Governance in Multi Academy Trusts

In a Multi Academy Trust, a single Trust is responsible for a number of schools. The MAT consists of the members and the trustees/directors. An Academy Trust is a legal entity. It is the direct employer of staff and the holder of land titles. An Academy Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee. An Academy Trust must have both Members and Directors.


It is important that all Academy Schools are notified that the Accounting Officer for the Trust is the Chief Executive Officer. This role includes specific responsibilities for financial matters, a personal responsibility to parliament, EFA and the financial resources under the Trust control.


The Trust must have a Chief Financial Officer CFO, appointed by the Trust Board. The CFO should play both a technical and leadership role.


Members are the subscribers to the Trusts memorandum of association.  They have an overview of governance arrangements of the Trust and have the power to appoint or remove Directors.

Only the Members have the right to amend the articles of association and are responsible for ensuring the MAT Board of Directors are compliant.


The Directors Boards powers are delegated to them by the Members. They are responsible for controlling the management and operation of the Trust.

Directors are responsible for ensuring that the Trust is solvent, well run and that the academies are delivering the standards required. 

Directors are responsible for overviewing each Academy School budget and appointing the governors in the Local Advisory Boards (LAB).

The most effective governance models recognise that in order for the Members to hold the Directors to account, there needs to be some separation between those serving as trustees and those serving as a member. There should be a Director who acts as a bridge between the Members and the Directors. Similarly, in terms of accountability there needs to be separation between Directors and members of the LAB.

To view the lastest Skills Audit please see the Analysis of Returns.


The LAB responsibilities are delegated to them from the MAT Board of Directors in a document called The Scheme of Delegation.  The level of delegated responsibilities is negotiated with each Academy School and reviewed on a regular basis.

Such delegated responsibilities are likely to include day to day operational management, student welfare, staffing and budget monitoring.


The Head Teacher’s Advisory Committee is composed of the CEO, Executive Head Teachers and Head Teachers of the Academies Schools.  This Committee, ultimately provides the engine to improve standards of teaching and learning and school improvement; providing the professional advice to Directors to ensure both strategic and operational effectiveness.


The Trusts Governance model, following DfE and NGA guidelines, dictates that there is separation between Directors and the LAB. Therefore, communication links between each Body is facilitated by the LAB reports going to the CEO, who feeds pertinent information into the Directors meetings. Information from Directors meetings are fed back to Head Teachers through an agenda item featured on the head teachers Advisory Board. MAT updates also form an agenda item on all Head Teachers reports to their respective LABs. 

We are committed to running our Academy Schools with integrity and expect all staff to maintain high standards.

Concerns of a whistleblowing nature, where LAB members feel it would not be appropriate or comfortable to go through the CEO, should be reported to the nominated LAB/Trustee Link. This would provide a direct pathway to the notice of Directors. 

Guidance can be sought through The Manor Hall Academy Trust Whistleblowing Policy, available from all Academy Schools.

LAB/Trustee Link-Mrs Amanda Hughes-

Board of Directors



























Become a Director for the Trust

Directors Job Description

Trustees of an academy trust are both trustees of the trust as a charity and directors of the trust as a Company limited by guarantee. The Charities Act 2011 defines charity trustees as the people responsible under the charity’s governing document for controlling the administration and management of the charity, regardless of what they are called. They are known collectively as the trustee board.

Under charity law, the trustees have the ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of the trust, and ensuring that it is solvent, well run and delivering the charitable outcomes for which it has been set up. In law, trustees have several legal duties, which are often described as those of compliance, care and prudence.

Non-executive directors work in partnership with the chair of directors, other directors and the trust’s leadership team to provide clarity clear vision, mission and strategic direction for the trust to:

  • contribute to the development of the trust’s future strategic goals, ensuring that the best interests of pupils and local communities are always top of the agenda and that they are fully engaged throughout this period of change for the trust;
  • ensure the highest standards of educational provision across all academies within the trust, and that the leaders of the trust and all academies are held to account to deliver outstanding outcomes for pupils;
  • ensure the highest levels of transparency, audit, governance and accountability in the education, corporate and financial affairs of the trust
  • provide strategic leadership and direction to the trust through oversight of and contribution to key strategy documents as well as by setting the strategic priorities;
  • have an awareness and understanding of the national policy context and of local needs for education particularly in the landscape of SEND.
  • develop and review the trust’s internal controls and an audit regime to ensure that these identify the risks and opportunities to enable the trust to be sustainable and relevant for all of the stakeholders;
  • work with other directors in a supportive, helpful and constructive way to ensure the board is effective when it meets;
  • ensure that effective arrangements are in place to provide assurance on risk management, governance and internal control whilst ensuring openness and transparency in decision making;
  • ensure the trust establishes key objectives and control and management frameworks to deliver the agreed plans, identifies and assesses the risk of achieving them and regularly monitors performance to ensure appropriate corrective action can be taken;
  • ensure consistent focus upon what is best for the trust’s schools and their students by providing challenge and advice to the trust’s executive leadership team;
  • be familiar with the articles of association of the trust and awareness of its powers, duties and objectives;
  • be familiar with the articles of association of the trust and awareness of its powers, duties and objectives;
  • be familiar with and ensure compliance with the trust’s funding agreements and the Academies Financial Handbook published from time to time by the Education and Skills Funding Agency or its successor organisation;
  • be familiar with the directors’ code of conduct and any standing orders of the trust;
  • represent the trust in a positive manner with national, regional or local bodies or individuals in order to enhance the position of the trust;
  • lead or participate in relevant board committees or task groups of the trust;
  • contribute to the appointment and, if necessary, removal of the chair as well as participation in the recruitment and selection of future non-executive directors;
  • work as part of a team, and to accept shared responsibility and accountability, as well as to commit to undergoing a personal annual appraisal, reviewing own performance and that of board members, then to abide by its outcome in terms of personal development.

Non-executive directors are subject to company legislation and are obliged to:

  • Act within your powers (for example in accordance with the constitution and any agreements with the DfE);
  • Promote the success of the trust;
  • Exercise independent judgment;
  • Exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence;
  • Avoid conflicts of interest;
  • Not to accept benefits from third parties; and
  • Declare any interest in transactions.

Governing Body Skills Audit For Trustees of Multi-Academy Trusts

Completed and collated on 09/03/20 by all Directors (8 returns)

Analysis of returns:

  • across the six features of effective governance all features except area 2, Accountability, received a rating of 4 or more in consolidation across the Trustee Board
  • the knowledge/skill area which didn’t receive a 4 or more rating was procurement and purchasing.
  • using gap analysis principles, the area of skills gap was feature 2, Accountability; specifically, business development experience/expertise, procurement and purchasing, property and estates management, marketing, media and PR.
  • these areas have been communicated to Academies Ambassadors who are advocating on behalf of the Trust for recruitment purposes.


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