Academy Council and the Trust Board

School governors are people who want to make a positive contribution to children's education. Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country and have an important part to play in raising school standards. The role of the governing board is absolutely key to the effectiveness of a school. Time and time again Ofsted (the national inspection body for schools) has noted that the most effective schools demonstrate effective leadership and management - including by the governing board.

As we are now part of the Blessed Christopher Wharton Catholic Academy Trust, our governing body is now called an 'Academy Council'. The Academy Council will report back to the Trust Board.

Please follow this link to find out more about the Blessed Christopher Wharton Catholic Academy Trust:


What is a multi-academy trust (MAT)?

MATs are a group of academy schools that are run in partnership with one another and exist outside of Local Authority control. MATs receive their funding directly from the Department for Education (DfE) and make their own financial decisions, which means they’re run more like businesses than maintained or Local Authority schools.

MATs have a CEO and senior management team who oversee the top levels of all schools within the trust.

What does a MAT or academy governance structure look like?

MATs have a board of trustees who work at a top level and are accountable for all the schools within the trust. Trustees can delegate the day to day running of schools within the trust to local governing boards (LGBs). Each school in the MAT may have its own LGB which considers issues relevant to the individual school.

What do trustees do?

Trustees are a type of school governor, but they make up the board of trustees of a MAT. The main responsibilities of the trustees are to:

  • Set the strategic direction of the Trust
  • Hold senior school leadership to account
  • Oversee the Trust’s financial performance

These are also the three key roles of a school governing board, but trustees operate at a higher level, overseeing strategy and finance across all schools in the trust.

For many people, volunteering as a trustee is a meaningful way to give back but also to develop skills and gain non-executive director experience.

Do trustees have liability?

Trustees are ultimately responsible and accountable for the trust. It’s up to them to make sure the trust is compliant with its charitable objectives, but also with company and charity law.

What are the differences between governors (Academy Council) and trustees?

Trustees are both company directors and charity trustees as academies have the legal status of both company and charitable trust.

Trustees have more specific responsibilities than governors, especially when it comes to finances.

Because trustees are directors under company and charity law, trustees have legal responsibilities that governors of maintained schools do not. With no local authority to answer to, if anything goes wrong, the academy or MAT is accountable.

What do Academy Councils do?

School governors/Academy Councillors  support strategic leadership and accountability in schools. 

Each individual governor or councillor is a member of a Academy Council. Individual governors may not act independently of the rest of the Academy Council; decisions are the joint responsibility of the Academy Council.  

The role of the Academy Council is a strategic one, its key functions are to:

  • set the aims and objectives for the school
  • set the policies for achieving those aims and objectives
  • set the targets for achieving those aims and objectives
  • monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making towards achievement of its aims and objectives
  • be a source of challenge and support to the headteacher (a critical friend)

Almost anyone over 18 years of age can become a governor. There are no particular qualifications or requirements, other than a willingness to give time to the role and a capacity for working with other people. There are also different categories of governor:

  • parent
  • staff
  • community
  • foundation
  • partnership
  • local authority
  • 'co-opted'

You can find out more about the role of the school governor at: file:///C:/Users/head/Downloads/What_does_a_governor_do.pdf


Academy Councils in the BCWCAT have the following membership:

  • two parent members;
  • one staff member;
  • the Executive Head or Head of the Academy;
  • six Foundation members appointed by the Diocese 


Do have a look at the drop down menu under 'Governors' to find out more about this integral part of our school.


You can fill out an online registration form to register an interest in becoming a school governor by clicking on the link below: