Before we begin…

The structure of school governance and the responsibilities expected of school governors differ slightly depending on the type of school you join. This page covers the responsibilities of school governors in academy trusts. As a result, it may not apply to you if you’re a school governor within a maintained school setting.

If you’re a school governor in an maintained school, please visit our dedicated school governance in a maintained school page for more information.

What is an academy trust?

Academy trusts are charitable bodies and are responsible for overseeing and governing a group of schools. Funding for academies is delivered directly from the government rather than through the Local Authority. This means that they operate more independently. Additionally, this gives them more control – as a collective – over their finances, curriculum, and other aspects of school management. By forming/joining a trust, schools can pool resources, share best practices, and collaborate effectively to drive improvements in educational outcomes. 

Governing boards in academy trusts

If you’re a school governor of an academy, it’s likely you’ll sit on a local governing board (LGB) within a multi-academy trust (MATs). Technically speaking, LGBs are committees of the MAT’s board of trustees. They have been delegated responsibilities for overseeing a particular school within the MAT. The board of trustees can decide which powers to delegate. As a result of this, academy trustees retain overall accountability for all the academies in the MAT. 

This means a school governor role on one LGB can look very different to a role on another. The MAT’s scheme of delegation can help you to understand your particular role on the LGB. In addition to this, it’ll show you how decision making takes place more widely across the MAT.

Our CPD-accredited induction programme provides a comprehensive introduction to becoming a school governor

Thinking about becoming a school governor and want to prepare for the role? Or just started volunteering and want to ensure you’re effective from the outset? Our ‘Become an Effective New Governor’ series may be for you.

This induction course is ideally suited to those new to education, with key language, regulations and acronyms explained so you can fully engage with meetings and visits early in your school governance role. Each section contains real examples of actions and questions – to help you develop best practice – as well as videos of current school governors speaking about their roles, all tailored to academy trusts.

Purchase our CPD accredited course