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 Schools - 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.

PDF iconArk Schools Master Funding Agreement

PDF iconArk Atwood Supplemental Funding Agreement 2011

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 Ark Atwood's governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

The Ark Schools Articles of Association and Decision Making Framework scheme of delegation can be found on the Ark Schools website.

Our Local Governing Body

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

Six-ten members appointed by the Ark Director of Governance, 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

The LGB meets four times a year.

Contacting the Governors

The current Clerk to Governors is Cathi Hughes (  Governors can be contacted through the Clerk.

If you are interested in becoming a governor, please visit the Ark Schools website.

If you have any governance-related queries, please contact 

Current Governors

Sophie Taylor (Chair)

Sophie is a Senior Civil Servant, and currently works as a Deputy Director at the Department for Education, focussing on counter extremism, integration, and safeguarding children and young people from serious harm. She has worked in government since 2006, including roles on finance, academies policy and delivery, and as Private Secretary to successive Secretaries of State and Permanent Secretaries. She previously led on designing and implementing corporate governance arrangements, which was one of the things that attracted her to school governorship. Sophie is passionate about education and the transformative effect it can have on children’s lives. She lives in North London and is an active member of a number of community-based initiatives. She is interested in current affairs, sports and the arts, and speaks Spanish and French.

Patrick Ainsworth

Patrick is a teacher of Mathmatics at a secondary and sixth form school. He has a passion for working with young people and ensuring they have the best education possible. Outside of school he is a marathon runner and a triathlete.

Harriet Barclay

Harriet cares passionately that all children, regardless of their background, have access to a high-quality and inspiring education. She is a freelance communications consultant and formerly worked as External Relations Director for Teaching Leaders (now part of Ambition Institute), a national education charity, which develops middle leaders in schools in challenging contexts. Harriet’s background is in marketing and communications. Prior to Teaching Leaders she was Head of O2 Learn – a crowd-sourced revision website for secondary school students that she conceived, launched and ran as part of the brand innovation team at O2, UK. Harriet was an On Purpose Associate in 2010, the inaugural year, having spent 6 years as an Account Director at the advertising agencies AMV BBDO (London) and CLM BBDO (Paris). Harriet studied Modern Languages at Oxford University.

Vipul Bhargava (Fundraising Governor)

Vipul is the founder and CEO of GILT Education, an education focussed consulting and advisory firm based in London, United Kingdom. Vipul also serves as a specialist advisor to UK’s Department for International Trade leading on Education Technology, International Schools and Early Years. He works with many education businesses working on projects as diverse as international growth, capital raising, mergers and acquisitions and strategic advisory. Vipul has more than 10 years’ experience in the global education industry. Prior to founding GILT Education, Vipul served as Global Vice President at Education First (EF) where he helped grow an online language learning business across Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Vipul holds an MBA from London Business School and undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science. Vipul has been a parent of the school for the last 5 years with two children currently at Ark Atwood Primary Academy.

Alisa Hall (Parent Governor)

Alisa relocated from Australia to the United Kingdom with her family in early 2018. Her daughter Lucy began school at Ark Atwood Primary Academy in September 2018 in Reception. Lucy and the family have settled well in the Maida Vale area and the UK.  Professionally Alisa has 25 years experience working in the health, aged, education and community support industries in a variety of roles. She has qualifications in social work, management, governance and international public health. Her most recent role was that of CEO of a Community Based Organisation providing social care services and education programs to local areas. Alisa has sat on local community boards previously and is interested in contributing to the school community by working collaboratively with others, through the role of Parent Governor from the perspective of a parent and a local community member.

Amin Hashemi (Finance Link Governor)

Amin is a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management and is both a Senior Investment Advisor and Head of the Middle East Team in London. Before joining 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. Prior to that he worked at Lehman Brothers as a portfolio manager and at Morgan Stanley analyzing 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.

Jane Noonan-Chatham (Teaching Staff Governor)

Jane is the Year 3 teacher at Ark Atwood and current Literacy Lead for the school. Having trained as a speech and language therapist, she is passionate about securing success for all groups of learners. She feels strongly that literacy should be available for all and view the skill of reading as a pathway to success for children. As a teacher, she relentlessly pursues excellence for all children in her class, and strives to disseminate this across the teaching cohort. As a reflective practitioner, she is always on the 'look out' to improve her own practice.

Clair Ponte (Safeguarding 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 is the Managing Director of One Young World, a UK charity which serves as a global forum for young leaders. Ella oversees the annual One Young World Summit which has taken place in nine different cities across the world, from Bangkok to Bogota. Ella is the co-author of "How To Make A Difference" - the authoritative handbook to activism. Alongside this, Ella is the Co-Founder of the Sino-German Initiative, an investment vehicle with a charitable arm which aims to increase the business and cultural relationships between Germany and China. Ella read English Literature at Balliol College Oxford and began a law training contract with a Magic Circle firm before changing track and pursuing a career in the third sector. She was on the Scottish International Debating team and lives in Marylebone.

Eleanor Vidal (Non-Teaching Staff Governor)

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

Daniel Upfield (Executive Principal)

Daniel Upfield is Executive Principal of Ark Atwood Primary Academy.

All appointments are made by the Director of Governance 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. Governors may be reappointed for further terms.

The register of interests and attendance information for governors can be found here:

Ark Atwood Governor Declarations of Interest 2020-21.pdf

PDF iconArk Atwood Governor Attendance 2019-20.pdf