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Governing board roles

The role of members in an academy trust

Learn how and why members are essential to the integrity of an academy trust governance structure.


Academy trusts are set up as charitable companies and so must have members. Members have a have a similar role to shareholders of a company limited by shares.

They hold the trust board to account for the effective governance of the trust but have minimal involvement in running the trust. Therefore, there should be significant separation between the individuals who are members and those who are trustees.

Members are essential to the integrity of an academy trust governance structure. There are some critical decisions that sit with the members, especially if the trust is failing. They must remain informed of trust performance and be clear on how to interact with the trust board.

Academy trust members can use our guide to assure themselves of their remit. It should also be invaluable to trustees who report to the members.

Our guide to the role of academy trust members covers:

  • how members contribute to academy trust governance
  • how many members are required
  • member appointment
  • what members do
  • holding the trust board to account
  • how often members meet and what happens at the meetings
  • how members make changes to articles of association
  • appointment and removal of trustees

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