A new governance code for Academy trusts

The Academy Trust Governance Code has now been launched. A brand new, voluntary code for the sector, it aims to support Academy Trusts in embedding effective governance practices.

Launched on 5 October, the Code has been developed by a group of sector-based organisations, co-chaired by CGIUKI and the Confederation of School Trusts (CST).

The full Code is available on a dedicated website.

What does the Academy Trust Governance Code cover?

The Code sets out one fundamental principle and seven further principles:

  1. delivering the Academy Trust charitable objects
  2. leadership
  3. integrity
  4. decision-making, risk and control
  5. board effectiveness
  6. equality, diversity and inclusion
  7. openness and accountability

Each of these principles includes a rationale, key outcomes and recommended practice, meaning that progress towards achieving them can be tracked and monitored.

Why use the Academy Trust Governance Code?

The Code is voluntary. It is intended to support existing good practice and to encourage further reflection and progress. It is not only aspirational for individual organisations, but also, we hope, an indicator of an aspiration within and throughout the sector, and an acknowledgement of the power and significance of governance. Good governance leads to better outcomes for trusts, for their regulators and funders, and crucially, for their staff and pupils.

Who can use the Academy Trust Governance Code?

The Code is designed to apply equally and universally to all structures and sizes of Academy trust in England, regardless of their religious or sponsorship arrangements. It is intended for use by all individuals involved in the governance of Academy trusts, in particular governance professionals, clerks, boards and individual directors or trustees.

Who is behind the Academy Trust Governance Code?

The Code has been developed through the efforts and collaboration of a group of sector-based organisations, each of whom have contributed their time and expertise to bring the Code to life. This group is made up of CGIUKI and CST (Co-Chairs), Catholic Education Service, Church of England Education Office, National Governance Association and Stone King. The Department for Education and the Charity Commission acted as observers to the development process, but they do not endorse or require the Code to be followed.

Prior to launching the final Code, we consulted on a draft version and we are very grateful to all of those who took the time to respond. We have carefully incorporated the feedback received, and we were pleased that so much of it was positive. We hope that the final version is a beneficial tool, and we are committed to continuing our engagement with Academy trusts as they explore and implement the Code.

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