Over the years, academy trusts have become instrumental in shaping the educational landscape. To celebrate Volunteers’ Week, one of the things we’re looking at as a charity is the impact of effective governance, and why academy trustees are central to the success of any academy trust. In this blog post, we explore the impact of effective academy trust governance. We also highlight the vital role academy trustees play in driving educational excellence. 


Understanding academy trust governance 

Before delving into the significance of academy trustees, it’s important to first talk about academy trust governance. Academy trusts are charitable bodies 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. 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. You can find out more about academy trusts in our blog detailing the role academy trusts have in education. 


Effective governance in MATs

With the average size of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) across the UK standing at 6.4 schools, and 10.5 schools in Priority Education Investment Areas (PEIAs), academy trustees make a huge impact on education. Specifically, the average MAT has 2,750 pupils on roll with this number increasing to 4,700 in a MAT operating in a PEIA. [Source] 

This shows us that the influence of effective academy trust governance extends far beyond the boardroom. When academy trustees fulfil their duties, the benefits are seen throughout the entire educational ecosystem. Furthermore, the impact is felt far and wide by school communities within the academy trust. In this respect, a well-governed academy trust earns the respect of stakeholders, enhancing its reputation within the education sector and beyond. Academy trustees can support schools in raising the aspirations of the community and its pupils through building up the trusts reputation within its community.


The impact of effective academy trust governance 

Here are some additional ways in which effective governance from academy trustees positively impacts academy trusts: 

  1. Improved educational outcomes: Firstly, by setting clear objectives and holding school leaders and executive leadership accountable for performance, academy trustees ensure an improvement in educational standards. Students benefit from a high-quality learning experience that equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary for success. School improvement can also be driven through trust-wide strategies and plans, focusing the resource where it’s needed, and taking learnings from schools where certain approaches have worked previously.  
  2. Enhanced financial stability: Secondly, financial management ensures that resources are allocated efficiently, enabling schools to invest in staff development, infrastructure upgrades, and extracurricular activities. Trusts can also pool resources such as staffing and gain economies of scale on procurement. This results in a greater positive impact on the educational landscape. 
  3. Greater community engagement: Academy trustees play a vital role in engaging with the communities they serve. Through outreach programs, parent involvement initiatives, using existing networks, and collaborative partnerships, academy trustees can foster strong ties with local stakeholders. This enriches the educational experience and fosters a sense of belonging. Academy trusts also often act as a hub and supportive space for their communities. It’s not uncommon that Trusts work with local and national charities to support initiatives such as community fridges, Once Upon a Smile, and supporting football foundations. 
  4. Shared knowledge and development: Within academy trust governance, there’s room for senior leaders to share their expertise by taking on academy trustee roles at other trusts. This both benefits their ‘home’ trust while elevating standards at the trust where they sit as an academy trustee (or LGB member). This also provides the opportunity to shape governance locally, regionally and beyond. 

Want to find out more? 

You can find out more about how we’re celebrating Volunteers’ Week by visiting our Volunteers’ Week page. If you’re currently thinking that an academy trustee role might be right for you, we’re here to help. 

TRS can guide you through the whole process of becoming an academy trustee and find you a suitable role. You can take our ‘Becoming an academy trustee pathway’, which details the responsibilities and benefits of academy trustees, as well as the application process to find out more. Alternatively, you can skip straight to applying to become an academy trustee. If you have any questions, whatever stage of the process you’re at, don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected].