Governance in MAT’s

Presentation held on Governance in a MAT Dec 2017:


Governance in MATs

In a multi-academy trust, a single trust is responsible for a number of academies. The MAT consists of the members and the trustees or directors.  In the Diocese we refer to the as Directors so as not to cause confusion with the Diocesan Trustees.


The members are akin to the shareholders of a company. They have ultimate control over the academy trust, with the ability to appoint the Foundation Directors and the right to amend the trust’s articles of association. Within our Diocese the members are usually the Bishop and Diocesan Officers.


The Directors are responsible for the same three core governance functions performed by the governing body in a VA school: setting the direction, holding the headteacher to account and ensuring financial probity. As charity trustees, they must also ensure that they are complying with charity law requirements. Academy trusts are charitable companies and the trustees are company directors and must comply with company law requirements. This may sound daunting, but, in reality, the duties are largely the same as those of a governor of a VA school, such as regularly attending meetings, managing conflicts of interest, seeking advice from the academy’s leadership team and ensuring the academy has appropriate procedures in place for reporting financial information.

The model articles state that the chair of the board of Directors will also be a member, thereby ensuring a link between the two layers. However this is often not the case in our Diocese. While Directors can also serve as members, the most effective governance models recognise that the members are responsible for holding the Directors to account. Some separation between those serving as directors and those serving as members is, therefore, desirable for achieving robust accountability.

Local Governors

Individuals who sit on local governing bodies (LGBs) are referred to as ‘local governors’.

This is because Directors can delegate governance functions to the local level. Directors have complete discretion over what is delegated to each LGB. They may, for example, decide to delegate all functions to academies in the chain that are performing well and only a few to those academies that need greater support. Alternatively, where a MAT wishes to retain all governance functions centrally, it may establish an advisory body at the school level, which has no formal governance function but which advises the board of Directors on its decisions.

They typical structure of a MAT Board in our Diocese would be:

Members: Usually 3 made up of the Bishop and Diocesan Officers

Foundation Directors and Academy Directors: There should be a minimum of 5 and their number should exceed the other Directors by 2

Foundation Directors: These are appointed by the Bishop

Academy Directors: These would normally be the Chairs of the LGB – up to a Maximum of 4

Staff Director:  1 director elected by the academies within the MAT

Headteacher Directors: The Headteacher of the individual academies are automatically directors up to a maximum of 4

Parent Directors: There needs to be a minimum of 2 elected parents



Members may appoint1 additional director.

Executive principal (If appointed) is a director

Secretary of State may appoint up to 2 directors