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The next wave of schools converting into Academies will include many which choose to do so as part of a chain. This is because there are likely to be significantly more primary schools and Church schools opting for Academy status in the next couple of years.

There are three options for schools considering conversion as part of a chain:

  • A Multi-Academy Trust - is the term to describe an organisation with a single shared governing body which governs more than one school
  • An Umbrella Trust - is a partnership between schools in which each have their own governing body. It is possible for different types of schools (i.e. Community, Voluntary Aided, Voluntary Controlled and Foundation) to collaborate together in an Umbrella Trust
  • A Collaborative Partnership - is the most informal grouping and allows schools to work together without being formally accountable to other schools in the chain.

The Government is keen to encourage chains because they regard this collaboration between local schools as the key factor in a sustained improvement in school performance - particularly for 'weaker' schools in the chain.