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 Priory 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 Priory.
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 Priory'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 Priory's LGB is made up as follows:
Six to 10 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 Priory Academy's Principal
- One elected parent governor
- One teaching staff governor
- One non-teaching staff governor
- One local authority representative from the Ealing Local Authority
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 four times a year, plus one strategy meeting.
Contacting the Governors
The current Clerk to Governors is Cathi Hughes (Catherine.Hughes@arkonline.org). 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 Catherine.Hughes@arkonline.org
Claire Dacam (Chair)
Claire is a Business Affairs Consultant with over 25 years experience in the music and entertainment industry. She trained as a lawyer with the international law firm Herbert Smith and worked for them in London and Hong Kong before moving to IMG Artists where she was Director of Legal Affairs and Managing Director, Europe. Claire's freelance portfolio includes a diverse range of music and entertainment industry clients as well as community and social projects.
Gemma Henson, nee Anderson (Ark Link & Safeguarding Link Governor)
Gemma is the PA to the CFO and Deputy CEO at Ark. After graduating with a degree in Drama & Theatre Studies, she began her career at Creative Youth, where she managed 120 volunteers during the International Youth Arts Festival 2014. She joined Ark in September 2014 as a PA and then moved to specialise in Learning & Development. Gemma is passionate about creating equal opportunities for all children, no matter what their background. She is a supporter of The Children's Trust and has led drama workshops for children with multiple and profound disabilities.
Richard Harris (Community Link Governor)
Richard is a qualified solicitor working as Chief Legal Officer for an international recruitment company in London. After graduating from the University of Surrey with a degree in Sociology, Richard attended the College of Law and then completed his training the City of London. Most of his career has been spent working fro technology and internet companies. Richard has lived in Acton since 2001 and loves the diversity and vibrant community of which the school is a critical pillar. Richard believes that an early foundation in words and numbers combined with the encouragement to love knowledge, question and be confident are vital to the success of the child. Richard is also committed to free education as a driver for social mobility.
Helena Moore (SEND Link Governor)
Helena grew up in London and worked in primary schools in inner London since qualifying as a teacher in 2012. She has held both middle and senior leader roles, with responsibility for Data & Assessment, Pupil Premium and ITT and NQT training. Whilst teaching, Helena completed her MA in Education at King's College London and a further Postgraduate Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring. Since February 2019, Helena now works as Associate Dean for Learning Design at Ambition Institute where she designs Senior Leadership and Headship programmes.
George Steventon (Finance Link Governor)
George is an auditor at KPMG London, auditing FTSE 100 Investment and Insurance companies. He previously worked in Jersey for EY and KPMG, before this he was a consultant advising start-ups in Hong Kong. He studied at Newcastle University, Hong Kong University and University of New South Wales in Sydney. He believes in the transformative capacity of education having worked on projects in schools in Malawi, Nicaragua and East London; and seen first-hand the importance and power of education.
Sarah Terry (Staff Governor)
Sarah is a teacher and STEM lead at Ark Priory. She has earned a Primary Science Teachers Trust Award as well as being a finalist in the Rolls-Royce Science prize, both of which were to promote science in schools and develop STEM at Ark Priory. Sarah trained at Ark Globe in Elephant and Castle before moving to Ark Priory. She gained her Masters in Education and is currently studying for her Doctorate in Education with Anglia Ruskin University. Before teaching, Sarah worked as a business consultant and trainer in overseas education, particularly working with schools and universities in the Americas, Russia and the post-Soviet states.
Kira Vermang (Parent Governor)
Kira is a lawyer at the UK communications regulator Ofcom, working primarily on broadcasting and media-related issues. Prior to this she was a lawyer with international law firm Allen & Overy, first in Brussels and then in London. Kira currently has two children at Ark Priory.
Jacqueline Steele (Executive Principal)
Jacqueline Steele is the Executive Principal of Ark Priory Academy.
All appointments are made by the Director of Governance for Ark Schools. The term of a governor is three years, except the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of their time in post. Governors may be reappointed for further terms.
The register of interests and attendance information for governors can be found here: