Certificate in Academy Governance

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Free affiliateship

Students who successfully complete the Level 4 Certificate in Academy Governance are eligible for 12 months free affiliateship. Continue to benefit from the knowledge and support of our governance and compliance community.


*Starting September 2018*

Good governance should lie at the heart of the pursuit of your academy trust's vision. Academisation offers your school enhanced opportunities for success and is accompanied by greater compliance responsibilities. As you look to share best practices and raise standards across schools, a need for effective governance will be at the centre of your agenda.

The Level 4 Certificate in Academy Governance is an introductory programme (set at first year undergraduate level) giving you the foundations to ensure the long-term success of your academy. You will develop the necessary skills to meet the regulatory requirements of running an academy and build an awareness of the responsibilities that members, trustees and local governors have in driving that success.


This programme is open entry, with no prior qualifications required, and suitable if you are dealing with governance in an academy.

Particular job roles may include:

  • Governor/Trustee
  • Office Administrator/Clerical Assistant/Executive Assistant
  • School Clerk/Clerk to Governors
  • Business Managers/Business Support Officer
  • School Bursar
  • Company Secretary


The qualification will consist of four modules covering the following topic areas:

  • Legal Structures and Framework
  • Governance 
  • Risk, Compliance and Policies
  • Financial Management

Regular webinars are delivered every week or every fortnight and are run using the Adobe Connect platform (you will need an internet connection to attend). You will be able to hear the presenters and you can communicate with the speakers and other attendees via the chat function. You will receive a copy of the slides, accompanying material and recording after each webinar session.

Two practice tasks are set during the course, which are intended to support revision around certain topics and will help you to prepare for the exam. These do not count towards the final assessment but will provide feedback on your progress. First exam will be in June 2019. 


Recommended study time for the whole course is 200 hours, which includes the webinars, practice tasks and exam time.

This course is based around a self-study model, and therefore requires a significant commitment to study, on top of the provided webinar sessions.

We recommend that you register in time for the start of the live webinar course in September to get the most out of the resources provided. You can register on this qualification and start studying at any time during the year, with access to all previously recorded webinar sessions.

Assessment consists of one exam (3 hours with an extra 15 minutes reading time) and contains a mixture of short- and extended-answer questions with a pass mark of 50%.

The syllabus, sample assessment materials and study text will be available from summer 2018. The first assessment date is June 2019. 


Early bird fee £1,125 (full fee £1,500) - until end of June

This includes:

  • Registration and certificate 
  • One exam entry (choice between next two available exam sessions) 
  • Electronic copies of the syllabus, sample assessment materials and study text on the MyICSA area of our website
  • Course webinars and practice task service 
  • Access to two ICSA webinars on study skills and revision skills
  • ICSA affiliateship for one year upon successful completion of the qualification
  • Student membership and benefits for the duration of your course.
Additional fees
Exam re-sit  £155
Exam Postponement (per exam) £80
Deferment (per exam) £30



Register now


If you would prefer to send your application by post, please download, print and complete the following application forms.

You can pay in one of the following ways:

Send your completed forms along with your payment to studentsupport@icsa.org.uk or by post to:

Members and Students
Saffron House
6–10 Kirby Street
London UK

Once these have been received and payment authorised, you will be registered as an ICSA student.

If you have any questions about ICSA qualifications or would like to speak to someone about taking the Level 4 Certificate in Academy Governance, please call +44 (0)20 7580 4741 or contact us

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