How trustees and local governors are appointed

Your academy trust’s articles of association will tell you the number and type of trustees and how they are appointed. The process varies according to the category of trustee.

Parent trustees (and parents governing at local level) are elected to the board.

Co-opted trustees
  • Appointed by the trust board on the basis of the skills, experience and perspective they offer.
  • The selection and appointment process is determined by the trust board, agreed at a full trust board meeting and recorded in the minutes.
  • The trust board can agree to re-appoint co-opted trustees at the end of their term of office and the decision should be minuted.

Member-appointed trustees
  • Appointed by the academy trust's members.
  • Individual trusts decide a minimum number of trustees that the members may appoint (there is no default minimum requirement; refer to your trust's articles of association).
  • Members can decide to re-appoint this category of trustee at the end of their term of office.

Foundation trustees
  • Appointed by a foundation or charitable body associated with the trust (often the diocese or other religious body).
  • At academy trusts with a religious character, foundation trustees help to ensure that the religious character is upheld and promoted (in addition to their other trustee responsibilities).
  • The appointment process varies - check your articles of association and consult the appointing body (the diocese in many cases).
  • The appointing body decides whether to re-appoint foundation trustees and the process for doing so.

Executive leaders as trustees

While members can appoint the trust's senior executive leader (CEO) as trustee, NGA recommends that CEOs are not appointed as trustees given that trustees hold the chief executive to account for delivering the strategies set out by the trust board.

The Academy Trust Handbook states that "from 1 March 2022, any newly appointed senior executive leader can only be a trustee if the members decide to appoint them as such, the senior executive leader agrees and the trust’s articles permit it."

Local governors
  • Trust boards determine the process for appointing those who govern at academy level.
  • It is advisable for trust boards to approve the appointment of academy committee (local governing body) chairs and many will also approve the appointment of the majority of local governors.

Appointment regulations and considerations are further explained within The Academy Trust Handbook and governance structures and roles guidance.

Removing trustees and local governors

The trust's articles of association will confirm that a trustee ceases to hold office when they are removed by the person or persons who appointed or elected them, or otherwise by ordinary resolution of the members in accordance with the Companies Act 2006.

  • We recommend that trust boards set out expected standards of conduct and behaviour within a code of conduct.
  • Removing a board member should be a last resort. Our guide to effective teamwork provides suggestions on how to resolve issues at an early stage.
  • Refer to maintained schools' guidance on governing board constitution for an indication of when removal may be appropriate.
  • Be aware that foundation trustees can only be removed by their appointing body (who should be consulted at the earliest opportunity).
  • If you are considering removal, we recommend that you first seek appropriate legal or HR advice.

Get bespoke advice from NGA GOLDline

NGA GOLD members can contact our GOLDline advice service which provides governing boards, governance professionals and school leaders with independent and timely advice.

Contact GOLDline on 0121 237 3782 or make a GOLDline request online.

Procedure for removal

We advise that the board has a procedure in place which contains the following steps:

  1. Consideration of the removal is included on the agenda of a full board meeting.
  2. The trustee or local governor is given written details of the reasons for their proposed removal, the procedure being followed and time for them to respond. They should be given sufficient time to respond.
  3. The removal is included on the agenda of a full board meeting and the reasons for removal stated at the meeting for inclusion in the minutes.

Appeals

  • It is good practice to have an appeals procedure in place to enable any removed board member to test the reasonableness of the board's decision.
  • The appeal should be conducted by an independent panel which may include trustees from another trust and, where appropriate, a representative from the appointing body such as the diocese.
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