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In a Meeting


What is a multi-academy trust?

  • A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is an Academy Trust which governs a group of schools through a single set of members and directors. Each school will continue to have an advisory body which SHINE Academies chooses to constitute as a Local Governing Body (LGB) to which functions can be delegated. The MAT will ultimately be accountable and responsible for the performance of its schools, including but not limited to, school improvement and financial performance.

  • Funding to the schools within the MAT continues to be allocated on an individual school basis. Funding is governed through a master funding agreement between the Secretary of State and the MAT and a supplemental agreement between the Secretary of State and each school within the MAT. Having a single Trust governing all schools, results in there only being one employer for all staff which allows the moving of resources through schools, optimising performance. Some MATs operate so that, to the extent that this is permitted through the funding agreement, some of the individual school’s budget is combined and used to fund shared services such as contracts. SHINE Academies schools continue to receive their own school allocations and funding is not pooled. 


Why would a school want to convert as part of a multi-academy trust?

  • A  MAT, as a single legal entity, allows schools to achieve strong collaboration and to use this collaboration and accountability to drive school standards. Where there are underperforming schools in the chain, representation of the Trust can ensure there is sufficient challenge and support to turn those schools around. SHINE Academies has a clear Scheme of Delegation which dictates responsibility and accountabilities at all governance levels. 


  • Having the MAT as employer of staff also allows flexibility around sharing resources to meet the needs of the individual schools involved. It can help build better staff development across the chain by providing scope for schools to develop their staff with exchange schemes and provide more job opportunities and shared professional development. The MAT can also provide a clear, consistent strategy and vision across a group of schools working together. MATs can often negotiate contracts and services that achieve much better value for money than if each school was to negotiate individually.

What funding will be available to help schools become academies and how can schools claim the money?

  • The Department for Education recognises that schools may incur costs such as obtaining legal advice on the documents necessary for setting up the academy, advice on the process for transferring staff, and new signage and stationery. As a contribution to these costs a flat-rate grant of £25,000 will be payable to the school’s bank account.

  • When the Department receives notification of a school’s intention to convert, a claim form will be provided to enable a claim to be made.

  • When a school has previously been rated as Inadequate, there can be additional funding available to support school improvement. 

Does every school in the group get the £25,000 grant towards the conversion? Can this be used to support the whole group?

Yes and yes. Some smaller schools find this very attractive, and it enables them to share expertise and resources to help support each other through the conversion process.

How can good schools that have converted to academy status sponsor another school that is not performing well?

  • Every school that has become an academy will have committed to supporting another school, whether through a formal chain or more informal arrangement. The lead school will ultimately be responsible for turning around the supported or ‘sponsored’ school.

  • Being a sponsor is a challenging but a valuable role for the lead school. It means a high standard of education is also made possible for pupils in the sponsored school. It will give the lead school the opportunity to share good practice, build on their reputation and develop the careers of their staff.


Can the Academy alter teachers' pay and conditions?

When a school converts from a Local Authority (LA) maintained school to a new academy, staff are entitled to transfer under the same employment terms and conditions, known as ‘TUPE’. Once open, the academy trust may consult with staff and their union representatives on changes to these terms and conditions, for example to enable the academy to operate over different term times or change the length of the school day.

How will the TUPE (TUPE is the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations) process work, and what specific responsibilities does the school have?

  • The school needs to tell the local authority (LA) of its intention to convert

  • The employer is responsible for informing and consulting staff

  • The LA does due diligence and passes staff details to the academy trust

  • The academy trust writes to each member of staff confirming that they will transfer under existing terms and conditions

  • The LA or other employer gives indemnity for the period staff worked for them, normally as part of the asset transfer agreement.

How will ownership of land be transferred from community schools?

Community school land is usually held the LA and our expectation continues to be that it will be leased to the academy trust on a 125 year lease for a peppercorn rent, as at present. But the Secretary of State has the power under the Academies Act 2010 to make a scheme to transfer the land to the academy trust freehold or leasehold if necessary.

Will academies be free from the Ofsted inspection regime?

Academies continue to be inspected in the same way as maintained schools.

Are academies required to comply with the School Admissions Code and the School Admission Appeals Code?

Academies have to comply with the School Admissions Code and the School Admission Appeals Code through provisions within their funding agreements. The Secretary of State reserves the right to agree limited derogations from the duty to comply with the Code in an academy’s funding agreement where these support fair access.

Do academies have to comply with the infant class size rules?

Yes.  All academies with infants on roll have to comply with the infant class size rules in the same way as they would have as maintained schools. This requires them to organise classes of children of compulsory school age who are aged under 8 in classes of 30 or fewer per teacher.

What are the governance arrangements?



Every Trust has members who have a similar role to shareholders of a company limited by shares. They:

  • are the subscribers to the memorandum of association (where they are founding members) 

  • may amend the articles of association subject to any restrictions created by the funding agreement or charity law 

  • may, by special resolution, appoint new members or remove existing members other than, where there is one, the foundation/sponsor body and any members it has appointed 

  • have powers to appoint trustees as set out in the trust’s articles of association and powers under the Companies Act 2006 to remove trustees 

  • may, by special resolution, issue direction to the trustees to take a specific action 

  • appoint the trust’s external auditors and receive (but do not sign) the audited annual report and accounts (subject to the Companies Act) 

  • have power to change the company’s name and, ultimately, wind it up. 


How many members should there be?

The academy trust must have at least three members, although the Department for Education’s strong preference is that trusts should have at least five members. 
Having more members: 
provides for a more diverse range of perspectives 
ensures members can take decisions via special resolution without requiring unanimity.


The Trustees of SHINE Academies are both charity Trustees and company directors. 
SHINE Academies Articles of Association sets out conditions determining the minimum number of Trustees the Trust will have. 
All trusts should have reserved places for parents, carers or other individuals with parental responsibilities in their governance structure. As a MAT, SHINE Academies reserves at least two such places on each Academies LGB.


The trustees should focus on three core functions: 

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction 

  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff 

  • overseeing and ensuring effective financial performance. 

Trustees must apply the highest standards of conduct and ensure robust governance, as these are critical for effective financial management. They should follow the Governance Handbook, which describes the following features of effective governance in more detail and will aid compliance with the Academy Trust Handbook: 


  • strategic leadership that sets and champions vision, ethos and strategy 

  • accountability that drives up educational standards and financial performance 

  • people with the right skills, experience, qualities and capacity 

  • structures that reinforce clearly defined roles and responsibilities 

  • compliance with statutory and contractual requirements 

  • evaluation of governance to monitor and improve its quality and impact. 

Trustees have statutory responsibilities and they must comply with the Trust’s charitable objects, with company and charity law, and with their contractual obligations under the funding agreement. Company directors’ duties are described in sections 170 to 181 of the Companies Act 2006, but in summary are to: 

  • act within their powers 

  • promote the success of the company 

  • exercise independent judgement 

  • exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence 

  • avoid conflicts of interest 

  • not accept benefits from third parties 

  • declare interest in proposed transactions or arrangements

As an organisation, the Trust has a range of obligations under current legislation and statutory guidance. Trusts’ obligations include such matters as safeguarding, health and safety and estates management. Ensuring strong governance in these areas will be a key priority for the board. With regard to safeguarding, Trust boards have a duty to: 


  • safeguard and promote the welfare of children 

  • have regard to any statutory guidance on safeguarding issued by the Secretary of State 

  • ensure the suitability of staff, supply staff, volunteers, contractors and proprietors

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