How Our Academy Works

How our Academy Works

Frays Academy Trust is a Multi-­Academy Trust. Frays was set up by the sponsor Executive Headteacher from the Federation of St Matthew’s and Cowley St Laurence Primary Schools (although it was St Matthew’s which was relevant to the sponsorship) the London Diocesan Board of Schools (LDBS) and governors of St Matthews, Cowley St Lawrence and latterly Laurel Lane primary schools as they shared an aspiration to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has enabled them to build on existing partnerships, work collaboratively and support each school to improve attainment.

The Multi-Academy Trust model also allows us to capitalise on the benefits of this approach, including:

• Sharing best practice
• Economic benefits, such as centralised services
• The ability to focus funds where they are most needed
• Increased and flexible staffing resources
• The opportunity to establish succession planning programs and, in doing so, retain good staff who might otherwise move on – including Heads of School.

For our schools, a Multi-Academy Trust model has enabled us to remain local and to grow, expand, and support a wider network of schools. Equally, we enable schools to retain their unique characteristics and maintain their own local governing body; it also offers Heads of Schools a high degree of autonomy in leading their schools, whilst giving them the freedom to focus on teaching and learning.

There is nothing in education legislation that prescribes how a Multi-Academy Trust must be composed. Academies are governed by their articles of association. The only prescriptions are as follows:

• There must be at least three signatory members.
• The CEO is a trustee unless they themselves choose not to be.
• There will be two elected parent trustees or representatives, either on the board of the MAT or on each of the local governing bodies.
• The number of trustees that are local authority influenced cannot exceed 20% (see article 140).
• The number of members that are local authority influenced cannot exceed 19.9% (see article 139)

The relationship between the trust and the secretary of state for education is set out in a legal document known as the funding agreement.

Within Frays the Board has agreed to use the term Director rather than Trustee.

Governance in a Multi-Academy Trust

In a multi-academy trust, a single trust, Frays Academy Trust, is responsible for a number of academies. The Multi-Academy Trust consists of the members and the Directors/trustees.


The members are akin to the shareholders of a company. They have ultimate control over the academy trust, with the ability to appoint some of the trustees and the right to amend the trust’s articles of association.

Members in Frays are also Directors and form a Board of Directors with others they appoint in accordance with our Articles of Association.


The Board is responsible for the same three core governance functions performed by the governing body in a maintained school, that is:

• Setting the direction,
• Holding the Executive Headteacher/CEO to account and
• Ensuring financial probity.

As charity directors (trustees), the Board must also ensure that they are complying with charity law requirements. Academy trusts are charitable companies and the trustees are company directors and must comply with company law requirements.

They have a duty to ensure they:

• Are driven by their core strategic functions of setting the vision, holding the Executive Headteacher/Chief Executive to account for results and making sure money is well spent
• Sit on boards that are no bigger than they have to be
• Are curious about what’s going on in the classroom and aren’t afraid to innovate
• Focus ruthlessly on what really matters: raising standards

Local Governance

Directors do have complete discretion over what is delegated to local governance. They may, for example, decide to delegate all functions to academies in the chain that are performing well and only a few to those academies that need greater support. Within Frays our Board delegates many powers to the local Federated Governing Bodies. Individuals who sit on local federated governing bodies (FGBs) are referred to as ‘local governors’. There is a Scheme of Delegation for each Federated Governing Body which identifies the functions the Directors have delegated.

Each governing body sets up committees to cover issues relating to:

• School improvement
• Pupil support
• Finance and resources

Decisions and resolutions are taken back to the full federated governing body meeting.

In order to achieve consistency across Frays representatives from each FGB take issues of strategic importance to the Strategic Action and Resources Group. The composition of this group is defined in the Terms of Reference agreed by the board. Recommendations and decisions of the Strategic Action and Resources Group will be brought to the Board as agreed in the Terms of Reference.

In this way, the flow of information and decision-°©‐making is clear and enables all in the governance of the Academy to be fully involved.