Multi-Academy Trusts 

A Multi-Academy Trust is an academy trust that operates more than one academy school. Academy schools are state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the Department for Education and independent of local authority control.  The TES report that in March 2024, there were approximately 1300 Multi-academy trusts across England, although they are not equally spread across the country.

Our Experience

Shaping Governance has an excellent reputation in Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) Governance.  Su, our CEO is a governance professional and has personally supported 100s of trusts to improve their governance.  She is a former National Leader of Governance, and this together with the work that Shaping Governance undertakes means that Su has worked with a range of trusts, from those deemed failing, to the more successful trusts.  She has governed in the academy sector and knows the challenges that Directors and Trustees face.  Su is regularly called upon to create governance structures for newly forming MATs as well as restructure existing trusts to break down barriers between layers.

In 2016, Su led a national debate, entitled 'Whose school is it anyway' and worked with the Department for Education and Local Government Association on academisation matters following the Academies Act 2010. She has also authored and contributed to several publications on the subject of education, schools and academies.

How we help

 Trustees / Directors of a MAT need to understand that they are meeting their responsibilities as a company, and how each of their schools is performing.  This can be tricky when there are a number of schools and a Trustee is one step removed, relying on local boards for assurance.

Having effective structures and interactions between all levels within a Trust will facilitate this, and that's where Shaping Governance comes in!  Since 2022, we have been providing a whole-trust version of our Shaping Governance Programme.  This unique programme blends a traditional External Review of Governance with board support for local governors too.  It is particular helpful if MATs wish to support their local governors to improve and to become the eyes and ears of the trust.  This inclusive process facilitates whole-trust governance improvement, and improves communication and relationships.

Request more information on our

Shaping Governance Programme for MATs

Other services

We also provide many more services to improve governance, such as training, clerking, mentoring, coaching and governor recruitment

find out more here.

"I had heard about Shaping Governance and Su’s reputation from colleagues within the region. I, therefore, wanted to work with Su to get her support in improving the governance of my school"

Ali Ashley, Headteacher, Hebden Green Community School

"Su is incredibly professional. The process has exceeded our expectations"

Marina Kelly, Catholic Senior Executive Leader, Holy Cross Catholic MAC

"The impact has been phenomenal!"

Andy Moor, CEO, Holy Family Catholic MAT

"Shaping Governance was the driver to improve the effectiveness of governance"

Sue Finch, Headteacher, Westminster Community Primary School

"Governors have become more focused on challenging and their responsibilities around holding to account"

Sarah Barlow, Headteacher, Adelaide School

"Shaping Governance is a great way for governors to learn, share and improve, and helped Create Learning Trust to get the most out of the role of local boards".

Sarah Woodward, CEO, Create Learning Trust

“It feels like some of the barriers between the individual governing bodies have melted. They now see themselves as part of one organisation.

“Su is incredibly professional. The process has exceeded our expectations.”

: Holy Cross Catholic MAC”

Jos Parry, Holy Cross Catholic MAC

"The impact has been phenomenal!"

Here, Andy Moor, CEO of Holy Family Catholic MAT talks about what he likes about Shaping Governance and the value it has brought to his trust and governance.