Vacancies in Governance


Election of Parent Trustees

Terms of Reference (as per Article 54 of the Articles of Association)




Who can stand as and vote for parent trustees?

  • Parents whether they are married or not;
  • Any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person;
  • Any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person;
  • And has a child on roll at a trust school at the time of election.


Parent trustees serve for four years unless the trust register a variation to this in the Articles of Association.


Summary of Disqualification Regulations

A trustee must be aged 18 or over at the time of their election or appointment and cannot be a registered pupil at a school.

All potential nominations/applicants and candidates must be aware of the disqualification criteria, expectations of the role and responsibilities of a trustee.

A person is disqualified from holding or from continuing to hold office as a trustee if they:

  • Are under the age of 18;
  • Are currently a pupil at a trust academy;
  • Have failed to attend meetings within a six-month period without the consent of trustees;
  • Are subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order; interim bankruptcy restriction order; a debt relief restrictions order; an interim deft relief restrictions order; or has been declared bankrupt and/or his/her estate has been repossessed for the benefit of creditors and the declaration or seizure has not been discharged, annulled or reduced;
  • has been disqualified as a company director or failed to make a payment under a county court administration order;
  • has been disqualified as a charity trustee; found to be unsuitable by the Secretary of State; or ceases to be a trustee under any provision in the Companies Act 2006;
  • has been removed as a charity trustee on the ground of misconduct or mismanagement;
  • has been convicted of any criminal offence except for those ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, or those for which the maximum sentence is a fine or lesser sentence unless s/he has been convicted of an offence outlined in Section 178 of the Companies Act 2011;
  • has not provided an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to the chair; or where s/he has, the chair, chief executive officer or principal or Secretary of State determines that his/her unsuitability to work with children renders him/her disqualified;
  • becomes incapable by reason of illness or injury of managing or administering his/her own affairs.


Seeking Nominations

The trust’s Returning Officer (the Company Secretary) will inform all those believed to have parental responsibility for children at trust schools of a vacancy, inviting nominations for the position.  The information will be uploaded to all trust websites, sent via newsletters and Parentmail.

The information will be sent to all with parental responsibility for a child at any of the trust schools.


Closing date for nominations

It is recommended that the closing date for nominations should be at least six school working days from the date on which parents are informed of the vacancy.  The actual closing date and time will be clearly stated on the website and information shared.  All nominees must be aware of the disqualification regulations.


Number of nominations received

If the number of nominations is equal to, or fewer than, the number of vacancies available, a ballot need not be held. The nominee(s) is/are automatically elected unopposed. The Returning Officer shall inform the Board of Trustees of the successful candidate(s).


The Board of Trustees will have responsibility for the final approval of the appointment in line with:

  • the candidate must evidence the role skills, behaviours and competencies set out by the board and for academy trust governance.
  • Nominations and self-nominations will require any nominated person to agree to the terms and to engage in the election and appointment process
  • Nominations or self-nominations will be confirmed to ensure the person is a parent, or an individual exercising parental responsibility, of a registered pupil at one or more of the academies in the trust prior to any election process or appointment


If there are more nominations than there are vacancies, the Returning Officer shall arrange for a secret ballot of parents to be held. Nominations received outside any stated return period will be treated as invalid.

The ballot

The Returning Officer shall issue ballot instructions to all eligible parents as soon as possible after the closing date for nominations. At least six school working days should be allowed between the ballot instructions being sent out and the last date for their return. The deadline date and time for return will be clearly stated on the ballot instructions.

The election should be held by secret ballot. Ballot submissions will not be signed, or the voter identified in any way.

Electronic voting is permitted, and the trust will ensure that the process is secure, and voters can only vote once, and cannot be identified.



Where parents have more than one child in a school and bearing in mind that voting is to be on the basis of one vote per parent per vacancy, a system will be devised to ensure that no parent receives more than one ballot submission.

The Returning Officer will arrange to get ballot instructions to and from parents by pupil post where possible. Where a pupil does not live with a person who has parental responsibility, or they are absent from school when the ballot instructions are issued they will need to be posted or otherwise delivered to the parents.

Ballot submissions must be kept unopened and secure until the count. Ballot submissions received outside the stated return period are to be treated as invalid.


After the election

The Returning Officer shall notify the result to the Board of Trustees of the successful candidate(s). The Board of Trustees has responsibility for the final approval of the appointment. Successful candidates will be informed by letter and provided with details required for appointment.

The start date is the date of the Board of Trustees’ final approval.

All parents will be notified of the result.

All material relevant to the election (e.g., correspondence, ballot data) will be kept for six months before destruction.


Appointment of parent trustees

If, after an election process, vacancies for parent trustee position remains vacant, the Board of Trustees may appoint parent trustees in accordance with the Articles of Association.

The Board of Trustees will approve an appointment on the basis of the skills an individual can bring to Academy Trust governance. Relevant skills will include personal attributes, expertise, knowledge and qualities such as the capacity and willingness to learn and work as part of a team.


Academy Trust Governance, Structures and Role Descriptors