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Compliance & legislation

Articles of association for Church of England academy trusts

Learn about governance structures in church trusts and keep up to date with recent changes.

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Approaching a third of English schools have a religious character, with the majority being Church of England (CofE). Multi academy trusts (MATs) with a religious character now also make up around a third of all MATs, with CofE trusts accounting for the majority.

Articles of association stipulate the charitable purpose, governance structure and procedures for each trust. The articles for church trusts are particularly prescriptive about the composition of local boards to ensure the school’s religious or non-religious character is protected.

Department for Education (DfE) model articles of association reflect best practice and so we encourage trust boards to adopt them and stay up to date with any changes. In September 2023, the DfE published new model articles for church trusts.

Our guidance on articles of association for church trusts covers:

  • the role of articles of association as a key governance document
  • the difference between majority and minority church trusts
  • a summary of recent changes to DfE model articles and how these apply to different types of church trust

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