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 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 Academy.

PDF iconArk Schools Master Funding Agreement

PDF iconArk Academy Supplemental funding agreement

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 Academy'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.


Ark Academy’s LGB is made up up of six to ten members appointed by Ark, to include the Chair, Principal, Staff Governor and up to two Parent Governors. Governors are usually people with a local connection or a particular skill or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area.

Ark 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

The LGB meets five times per year.

Contacting the governors

The Clerk to the Governors is Vanessa Watson ( 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 the Clerk

Current governors

Patrick Wall (Chair)

For over 20 years, Patrick has been a governor at four state schools, both Primary and Secondary. Having attended six different non-selective state schools and being the first person to attend Oxford University from his Comprehensive school, Patrick appreciates that education can transform peoples’ lives and is the most important investment we can make, both as a community and as a country. Patrick runs his own software company, employing 200 people in five different countries. He is married with two children, both of whom attend their local school in Brent.

Charith Abeyratne (Ark Appointed and Safeguarding Link Governor)

Charith is an Artificial Intelligence and Data Consultant at Deloitte where he works with public, private and financial sector clients to better understand and use data to solve complex problems. He is also deeply passionate about learning and the education of vulnerable children in society. Having worked in a school in NW London for three years as a Lead Teacher of Sixth Form and Science/ Economics teacher, he has seen first-hand the incredible impact of high-quality teaching on student learning.

Katja Lamping (Ark Appointed Governor)

Katja has worked globally in Higher Education marketing, student recruitment & admissions both in the private education sector and at some of the world's leading institutions, including UCL, University of Sydney, King’s College London, the British Council & SOAS. After 7 years working in Australia and in China, Katja returned to London in 2019 to take up the post as Director of Student Recruitment at UCL. She cares about students as individuals, and recognizes the importance of good advice and support in helping a student navigate the many paths that can lead to a rewarding and happy career. She is very much of the view that the journey counts as much as the destination. Being a governor is a real honour for Katja as it allows her to share her university experience in the hope of helping Ark students and staff along their journeys.

Dani Quinn (Ark Link Governor)

Dani is the Senior Maths Network Lead for Ark Schools, working with secondary schools and trainees across Ark. Prior to this, she was a head of department at two of the most high-performing comprehensive schools in the country, supporting the students and her colleagues to secure exceptional maths results, in addition to leading teacher development and induction.

Sue Sanders (Vice Chair, Finance Link Governor & Health & Safety Link Governor)

My background is in local government, education, infrastructure projects, “big four” management consultancy, governance and finance. I am a qualified accountant who chairs an Audit Committee for a London Borough. I’m also studying for a Masters in Law. My own education gave me social mobility and a lifelong passion for learning. What also stood out about my own experience of school was that the teachers really looked out for me. I want young people today to have as good an educational experience as I had. That is why I’m a governor of what I consider to be an excellent and caring school.

Heer Shah (Ark Appointed Governor)

Throughout his medical career, he has shown passion for education, improving access and offering students insights into different career opportunities. With over 8 years of experience as a leader for UCLs largest widening participation scheme - Target Medicine, heer has advocated for disadvantaged students to stand a fair chance at attainment at top medical schools. Finally, Heer co-founded the platform MedAhead to provide insight workshops, academic support and work-experience for college students with aspirations to enter medicine.

Usama Yusuf (Ark Appointed Governor)

Usama went to an underperforming state primary and secondary school in Westminster, receiving a BA (Hons) from UCL in History, Politics and Economics. Usama is the first generation in his family to go to university and wholeheartedly believes in the opportunities that education delivers. His primary motivation for becoming a Governor stems from his own mixed experiences of state education and wants to use his voice to provide the diversity of thought that can help address the all-too-familiar challenges faced by students. Usama is currently an Investment Banking Analyst at Citi.

Ian Wace (Sponsor Associate)

Delia Smith (Principal)


All appointments are made by the Director of Governance for Ark Schools.  The term of a governor is three years, except for the Executive Principal and Principal, who remain governors for the duration of their time in post. Governors may be re-appointed for further terms.

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

Ark Academy - Declarations of Interest 2022-2023.pdf

Ark Academy LGB Attendance Log 2021-2022.pdf