Shaping Governance in Multi-Academy Trusts

An External Review of Governance - with added benefits!

Improving whole trust consistency and impact


Directors and Members need an in-depth awareness of how each of their schools operates and their performance; which can be tricky when you have a number of schools and as a Director, are one-step removed.  Ensuring consistency of practice and of accountability across trust schools is also key.  Not only this, but as Directors and Members you are also accountable for how effective your board is.

The DfE has called for Multi-Academy Trusts to use independent external reviews to challenge and improve their effectiveness.  It has recommended that these reviews are included within a wider programme of self- assessment and improvement. Reviews should also consider the interaction between members and trustees.

What if there was just one tool that a trust could use to improve individual Academy Governance as well as the Trust and Members Boards - well there is!   Shaping Governance!

The MAT version of Shaping Governance supports all layers of governance within a trust to learn, share, and improve, in one comprehensive programme. Shaping Governance has a 5 star Google Rating, and has the following proven and effective attributes, including:


Shaping Governance supports all boards within a Trust to explore and learn about 9 key areas of governance. Local boards build a picture of how they govern their school and where they need to improve; and the trust board then uses this holistic view of the strengths and challenges in the trust to review their own effectiveness, along with Members.


All boards use a specially designed process to discuss and share their insight across the 9 key areas, leading to an up-skilling and levelling out of knowledge across governors and a picture of performance across the trust, great for succession planning and sharing good practice.


Local Boards are challenged to benchmark themselves against how they should govern, and from the good practice that we have identified. From this they identify their strengths and areas for development, and the trust uses this insight to develop an improvement plan to improve whole trust effectiveness.


A key attribute, as that Shaping Governance facilitates better understanding, communication and relationships across the Trust. Shaping Governance uses appreciative approaches to help you to identify strengths and improve other areas.


Shaping Governance helps trusts to embed its DNA and build a picture of governance across the trust. It helps to ensure that schools, whilst different, are working consistently!


All schools that use Shaping Governance cite immediate benefits - as well as long term benefits when the recommendations are implemented. With Local Boards having a clear improvement plan, allows the Trust Board to be more strategic.

"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.


Shaping Governance is a membership service, where once signed-up, every year* you will receive:

  • An award-winning Shaping Governance session in each school in your trust;
  • A bespoke Trust and Member Board Development session using insight from the school reviews to reshape the effectiveness of the trust board;
  • Insight from the good practice that we have identified;, and using this to identify your improvements 
  • Tailored reports and improvement plans; with our tips and recommendations;
  • Virtual support and progress checks throughout the year
  • A special Shaping Governance plaque for your reception areas.
*Annual fee payable, see full T&C's