Various legal structures exist within which schools can collaborate formally together or work within groups. These include Federations, in the case of maintained schools, and Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) in the case of academies.

A school federation is defined in the Education Act 2002 as two or more maintained schools operating under a single governing body. The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2012 set out the structure and arrangements for leaving, joining and dissolving a federation.

A multi-academy trust or MAT is a single legal entity with a board of trustees which is accountable for a number of academies in a chain.

This topic covers the main aspects of forming a federation or a MAT and describes how they should be organised, constituted and run. The topic should be read alongside those covering maintained school and academy governance.

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