Academies are schools funded by the government with the freedom to govern independently – but all are accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. To share resources and best practice, many are part of multi-academy trusts – a network of schools under one legal body.

Ark Atwood Primary Academy is part of Ark - a leading education charity and one of the country’s top-performing academy operators. Ark is non-denominational and does not make any profit from running its schools.

Ark’s relationship with the Secretary of State is set out in the master funding agreement. There are also supplemental funding agreements for each individual school in the network, including Ark Atwood.

Every school in the Ark network is the legal responsibility of the Ark Schools board. This board focuses on statutory duties and delegates most day-to-day responsibilities to each school’s individual Local Governing Body (LGB). This means that, unlike in most non-academy governing bodies, Ark Atwood's governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

PDF iconAmendment and Restatement Agreement 2013

PDF iconArk Atwood Supplemental Funding Agreement 2011

our local governing body

Ark Atwood Primary Academy’s LGB is made up as follows:

Six-10 members appointed by Ark, to include the Chair – usually people with a local connection or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area:

  • Ark Atwood Primary Academy Principal
  • One elected parent governor
  • One elected teaching staff governor
  • One elected non-teaching staff governor
  • One Local Authority representative from Westminster

Governors are appointed/elected for three year terms. 

Ark Schools aims to create a balanced group that will have the right skills, connections and dynamic for the LGB to work well and support the school in achieving exceptional performance:

  • Good insight into the specific challenges at the school and the general challenges of operating top-quality schools
  • Excellent community links
  • Specific skills as needed by/relevant to the school
  • A link to the senior executive team of Ark Schools

contacting the governors

The LGB meets four times a year.

The current Clerk to Governors is Cathi Hughes ( 

Governors can be contacted through the Clerk and the Parent Governor can be contacted through the school office.

If you are interested in becoming a governor or have any governance-related queries, please visit or contact

current governors

Daniel Upfield (Principal)

Daniel Upfield is the Principal of Ark Atwood Primary Academy.

Sophie Taylor (Chair)

Sophie is a Civil Servant, and currently works as Head of the Permanent Secretary’s office and Board Secretariat at the Department for Education. She has worked in government since 2006, including roles on finance, Academies policy and delivery, and as Private Secretary to successive Secretaries of State. Sophie is passionate about education and the transformative effect it can have on children’s lives. She lives in North West London, and is interested in current affairs, sports and the arts. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, and fluent in French.

Joe Collins (EYFS Link Governor)

Joe previously worked for Ark's Education Partnerships Group, as a project manager responsible for Ark's policy work in a number of countries outside the UK. Over his last year at Ark, his work focused on Liberia, supporting the government to launch a PPP modelled closely on the UK Academy model. Prior to joining Ark in 2013, Joe completed an MA in Education Planning, Economics and International Development at UCL Institute of Education. He spent five years teaching internationally, including over three years in Chile.  Having worked in education at the classroom and public policy level he remains motivated to seeing the best possible outcomes for learners, in the UK and abroad.

Jose Diaz (Ark Link Governor & Data Link Governor)

Jose is the Head of Systems at Ark Schools. He has strategic oversight over information systems and has provided operational leadership for systems management across Ark Schools. He works with the internal education team, Principals, assessment leads and other key stakeholders to continuously improve internal data systems. He also leads the design and development of other various in-house developed systems.

Amin Hashemi (Finance Link Governor)

Amin Hashemi works at J.P. Morgan Private Bank as the Senior Investment Advisor who oversees the Middle East Investment Desk in London. Prior to J.P. Morgan, Amin worked at Barclays in London and New York. At Barclays, Amin co-headed a banking team and held the position of Senior Investment Advisor. He also worked at Lehman Brothers as a portfolio manager and at Morgan Stanley analysing large cap companies. Amin began his career in Investment Banking in Salomon Smith Barney’s healthcare group in New York. Since moving to the UK, Amin has taken a keen interest in the UK education system and has a strong passion and belief that everyone should have access to the highest level of education, regardless of background. Amin graduated from McGill University with academic distinction and is both a CFA charterholder and a CFP professional. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Sara Langham (Parent Governor)

Sara Langham is a parent of two boys in years five and two at Ark Atwood and has been actively involved in the school since its inception. She thinks Atwood is a really special school, with a fantastic sense of community as well as high academic standards, and as Parent Governor she would love to help ensure the school continues to flourish. Sara believes in the importance of a high standard of education for all, and is especially passionate about literacy and the importance of reading. Professionally, she works at a literary agency, teaches creative writing to adults and is a writer. She helps to run the parent and staff book club at school and is an active part of Friends of Atwood. Externally, she volunteers for First Story, the schools' creative writing charity.

Sabina Morley (Safeguarding Link Governor)

Sabina is currently studying at MSc Education (Comparative and International) at The University of Oxford. Prior to this, she worked for Ark four years as an International Education Manager, overseeing Ark's education work in Africa. This involved advising governments and non-profit organisations on education reform to improve learning outcomes for marginalised children.  Before Ark, Sabina worked with the NGO Merlin in East Africa, managing a portfolio of health and nutrition programmes, with a focus on new business development and monitoring and evaluation. She has also worked with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, READ International, IBM Global Business Services and has taught English in Tanzania. She has been a member of the Atwood governing body since 2014.

Clair Ponte (People Link Governor)

Clair is a barrister, mother of three and was formerly the Parent Governor for Ark Atwood. She strongly believes that education has the power to transform the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable children and wants to contribute something to a school which was trying to achieve that goal. For the past two years, she has been Counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (specialising in its work on children living in residential care). This has provided her with further insight into how some children are critically limited (from the outset of life) through the absence of stable, family life or other care.

Ella Robertson (Local Authority Representative & SEND Link Governor)

Ella Robertson is a London-based charity director, passionate about ensuring that education enables children to achieve their potential and gain equal access to opportunities. Ella is the Managing Director of One Young World, a global charity developing young leaders in 196 countries. Responsible for International Affairs, Ella organises One Young World's annual Summit which takes place in a different city every year ensuring that it creates maximum impact: over 15 million people have been impacted by One Young World since 2010. Ella read English at Oxford where she was on the Standing Committee of the Oxford Union. Ella represented Scotland at the World Debating Championships and loves teaching debating in schools in order to help children develop confidence and communication skills. 

Laura Thomson (Teaching Staff Governor)

Laura has been Early Years Lead and Reception Teacher at Ark Atwood Primary Academy since September 2012 and in the position of Staff Governor since October 2012. She has been teaching in the UK for the past 6 years, previously working in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Laura completed her 4 year BA in American and English Literature with American History and Politics at the University of East Anglia (with a year studying at Roanoke College in Virginia). She has experience of teaching abroad in Thailand and China which have helped inform her teaching, especially with those who have EAL. She gained her PGCE with Merit from Manchester Metropolitan University with a specialism in Early Years Education. The key attributes she brings to the Local Governing Body is her knowledge and experience of being in the classroom and a focus on how children learn, especially in the Early Years.

Eleanor Vidal (Non-Teaching Staff Governor)

Eleanor is the Lead Teaching Assistant at Ark Atwood Primary Academy.


LGB Name Term Dates Gov type and Term Relevant declarations of interest Attendance at meetings 2016/17
Stephen Adcock 01/09/2011 Ark Nominated
  1. Deputy Director of Academies, United Learning

2 out of 4

Beverly Brittan 05/09/2013 Local Authority Rep (former)


2 out of 4

Joseph Collins 01/10/2016 Ark Link
  1. Employee: Education Partnerships Group

4 out of 4

Henry Duff 01/09/2011 Ark Nominated (former)
  1. Employee of British Gas

2 out of 4

Lorna Lopes 01/09/2011 Ark Nominated (former)
  1. Education and Fundraising Consultant

1 out of 4

Sabina Morley 01/11/2014 Ark Nominated
  1. International Education Manager at Ark
  2. Member of Ark’s International Team

3 out of 4

Sophie Taylor 22/04/2013 Chair
  1. Employee: Department for Education (DfE), Deputy Director for Due Diligence and Counter Extremism

4 out of 4

Laura Thomson 20/10/2015 Teaching Staff
  1. EYFS Lead and Reception Teacher at Ark Atwood
  2. Member of NASUWT (Teachers Union)

4 out of 4

Daniel Upfield rolling Principal  

4 out of 4

Eleanor Vidal 05/01/2016 Non-Teaching Staff  

2 out of 4

Clair Dobbin 30/11/2015 Parent (former)
  1. Director of & Barrister at 3 Raymond Buildings, Gray's Inn.
  2. Husband also Barrister at 3 Raymond Buildings, Gray's Inn.
  3. Member of Middle Temple (inn of Court).

1 out of 1

Sara Langham          






4 out of 4

All appointments are made by the Governance Manager for Ark Schools.  The term of a governor is three years, except for the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of his or her time in post.