In a multi-academy trust, a single trust is responsible for a number of academies. The MAT consists of the members and the trustees.
The members are akin to the shareholders of a company. They have ultimate control over the academy trust, with the ability to appoint some of the trustees and the right to amend the trust’s articles of association. One of the members is the chair of the Trust Board , and at least two members are not on the Trust Board or any local governing board.
Number of meetings per year: 3
The trustees are responsible for the same three core governance functions performed by the governing body in a maintained 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 maintained 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 trustees will also be a member, thereby ensuring a link between the two layers. However, while trustees can also serve as members, the most effective governance models recognise that the members are responsible for holding the trustees to account. Some separation between those serving as trustees and those serving as members is, therefore, desirable for achieving robust accountability.
Number of meetings per year: 6
Each Diversa school has its own School Oversight Team (SOT) to carry out some of its school-level governance functions. As this team is not a statutory or legal body, decision-making is limited.
SOTs are made up of two elected parent representatives, two elected staff representatives, two co-opted community representatives and the headteacher or head of school. Chair of the SOT is elected by the team.
Delegated functions include:
Building an understanding of how the school is led and managed
Overview of premises projects
Monitoring whether the school is:
Working within Trust agreed policies
Meeting the agreed targets in School Development Plan
Engaging with stakeholders
Being a point of consultation and representation
Time commitment: minimum of six meetings per year