The trust board is the decision-making body of the academy trust and is accountable and responsible for all the schools equally in the academy trust. The academy trust will also be the employer of any central staff and those within its academies.
Academy Trustees are the people who make up the trust board, in some academy trusts they may be referred to as directors. Academy Trustees are both the charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust. The ‘competency framework for governance’ outlines the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed by trust boards for effective governance’.
The trust board must operate and make decisions to further the academy trust’s charitable object, which in the majority of trusts is ‘to advance for the public benefit education in the United Kingdom’. The Academy Trustees are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of the academy trust. They have statutory duties to exercise care, skill and diligence and avoid conflicts of interest. As the strategic leader of the academy trust, it is vital that the trust board is connected with, and engages, the communities and stakeholders it serves. In the interests of transparency, the trust board must publish on its website up-to-date details of the overall governance arrangements it has put in place.
The role of the Academy Trustee is a voluntary one. As academy trusts have charitable status, payments to Academy Trustees are by exception only and subject to very specific legal restrictions. Trust boards should also have regard to the need for the Executive Leader and teachers in their academy(ies) to be able to achieve a satisfactory work life balance, and, through their strategic role, should provide support and challenge to help reduce unnecessary burdens, for example, in relation to the number of data requests that are made.