If your question isn't answered below, you can email us with any other questions you might have at [email protected].
Trustee / Director – what’s the difference?
Academy trusts are both charities operating under charity law and companies listed on Companies House and, therefore, subject to company law. In Academy Trust governance terms, these roles are ‘dual’ in nature – individuals operate as trustees of the charity and directors of the company. Appointed trustees/directors are therefore listed on Companies House and subject to all applicable company laws.
Is it a paid role?
Some trusts may offer expenses in relation to specific aspects of the role, but ordinarily this is not a paid position.
Can I join meetings remotely?
As the world continues to adapt to life with COVID-19, many trusts are more flexible in terms of meeting attendance and utilising IT/video call software to facilitate attendance. We are happy to make note of any preferences you have in relation to this and communicate it to trusts to which we match you. We’d advise that most trusts would be keen to have at least some meetings with all members in face-to-face attendance.
I am already a governor or trustee elsewhere, does this affect my application?
No! In fact, we love to know where you’ve had other experiences in similar or complementary roles. Our adviser may discuss some of the specifics with you to ensure there aren’t any conflicts, so it’s really helpful to know details around the location, nature, and extent of your past experience.
Should I be a trustee or a governor?
It’s a matter of choice, preference and how you’d like to utilise your time, skills and the benefit of your experience in a voluntary role. Both positions are hugely rewarding and offer chances to make a difference to the educational outcomes of young people. Where you have extensive knowledge and experience in a strategic leadership role, it may be that you feel you can offer greater value at board level, helping to define and deliver a strategy that affects the whole trust. However, you might feel detached from the specific school context and feel that a governor role can offer greater connection to the community or area. Both are great ways to offer time and at Governors for Schools we can help identify both kinds of role to suit you. Chat with us if you’re not sure and we can help offer advice and guidance.
How are academy trusts funded?
Funding for academy trusts is delivered by central government (Department for Education) and the board of trustees and Members are accountable to the DfE for its expenditure and delivering educational outcomes in return.
What’s the governance structure of an academy trust?
While there is no single set governance structure, many trusts will adopt a very similar set of arrangements, with trustees overseeing all of the academies in a trust and reporting to the trust’s Members Board, which is responsible for receiving the annual accounts and has the ability to appoint and remove trustees. Local Governing Boards are responsible for individual schools and report to the trust’s Board of Trustees. Most trusts will operate a number of sub-committees, each responsible for a specific area of delivery, such as Audit or HR.
Academy Trusts have funding agreements with the DfE related to delivering greater autonomy.
I have no education experience. Does this matter?
Not at all. While some trusts might be looking to add people to their boards with prior knowledge or expertise in education, many trusts are actively seeking individuals who have no previous experience or assumed knowledge. Fresh eyes and a new way of thinking about challenges can positively impact a board and ensure it benefits from innovative approaches and perspectives. While the education world is full of jargon and acronyms, trusts will usually offer induction and training to bring you up to speed on important information and data you’ll need to fulfil your role.
Can I still be a trustee in my local community?
Local knowledge and appreciation of challenges is often sought by trusts, along with good representation of the local community. There is no reason why you can’t be a trustee/director in your local area, though independence is also beneficial on boards.
How many trustees make up a trust board?
Generally Trust boards consist of 8 to 12 Trustees.
Can I be a trustee if I haven't been a governor?
Definitely! There is no pre-requisite for education or charity governance experience of any kind.
Will training be provided?
While training and induction is primarily the responsibility of the trust post-appointment, we’re delighted to access to some dedicated and tailored resources that will furnish you with an additional level of understanding of not only the education sector, but the role of trustee more specifically. We’ll provide information on this after you have been appointed to your new role
How is Governors for Schools’ Trustee Recruitment Service funded?
As a charity, Governors for Schools is funded by a combination of private donations and our own revenue-generating activities, for events, services and sponsorship. We operate as a non-profit, so all revenue generated by the organisation is invested back into improving the service and ensuring the highest level of support for trusts and the education sector more broadly.