Local governance within multi academy trusts (MATs), or the local tier as we have come to call it, forms the bridge between the trust board and its schools. According to NGA’s 2021 annual governance survey findings, local governance remains integral to the governance of the vast majority of MATs, yet the full potential of the local tier remains relatively unexplored.

This paper sets out the features of successful local governance and explores the learning from established MAT governance structures, drawing on:

  • NGA’s research and expertise on MAT governance
  • Wider evidence from the sector on the value of the local tier and its barriers and potential future direction

Download MAT governance: the future is local

NGA is one of the few sector voices that has consistently been an advocate for local governance in MATs, and a key player in facilitating emerging good practice.

NGA champions local governance in MATs because it provides:

  • more strategic thinking where trust boards draw on the intelligence gathered at school level
  • a better understanding of the trust’s role and how individual schools fit into the trust’s structure
  • more diverse views adding to the richness of discussion and challenge
  • a positive contribution to the checks and balances of trust governance
  • more active engagement between the school and its wider community
  • more support for individual schools and the trust from stakeholders
  • a local focus on accountability, keeping the trust grounded in the realities of the localities
  • challenge and support to the trust board and central team

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