In an umbrella trust arrangement, academies continue to exist as separate academy trusts sitting under an overarching umbrella trust. The umbrella trust oversees a number of academy trusts, each with their own members and board of governors.

The members of the umbrella trust are usually appointed by the founding body or bodies, for example, a diocese or a group of schools that want to establish a new umbrella trust. The umbrella trust ensures collaboration through the appointment of members of individual academy trusts.