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 Dickens 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 Dickens.

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 most non-academy governing bodies, Ark Dicken's governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter - educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

PDF icon060829 Master Funding Agreement final.pdf

PDF iconAmendment and Restatement Agreement

PDF iconArk Dickens Supplemental Funding Agreement

The Ark Schools Articles of Association, Master Funding Agreement and Accountabilities Framework can be found on the Ark Schools website here.


Our local governing body

From September 2017 Ark Dickens Primary Academy and Ark Ayrton Primary Academy share one local governing body. This decision was made to provide the schools with further opportunities to work more closely with each other, enabling more effective school to school support and bringing the benefits of governor skills to both schools.

The Ark Portsmouth Primary LGB is made up as follows:

  • Six to twelve 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 aims to create a balanced group that will have the right skills, connections and dynamic for the LGB to work well and support 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 a year.

Please click  here to view the Portsmouth Ark Primaries LGB Annnual Impact Statement for 2018-19.

Contacting the Governors 

The clerk to the governors is Valerie Oldland ( If you are interested in becoming a governor, or have any governance related queries, please contact Valerie or visit the Ark website.


Current Governors

Katie Oliver (Chair)

Katie Oliver was formerly Ark’s Director of Operations and now heads up Ark Start, a pilot programme to broaden and extend work in early years education. 

Evangeline Abbott

Evangeline graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a 2:1 in Drama and Performance. Since then she has gone into finance and banking as a career. Evangeline has experience in teaching in schools both in the UK and Kenya, has had a lengthy performing career spanning over 10 years, has also sat in management roles within theatre companies. She hopes to broaden her knowledge and skillset by continuing to study around her day to day life.

Laura Berry

Having a diverse career has allowed me to thrive in new situations and realise I work at my best when faced with new and exciting challenges. My flexibility, good sense of humour and communication skills were key in developing previous schools that are now thriving and journeying towards good or outstanding. In previous roles I have always spent a significant amount of time examining the links between the social background of pupils and their academic development in and out of the classroom; with the goal of ensuring that pupils are not left behind and are offered support when they need it. This is an aspect that I am fully committed to developing and through pupil progress meetings can focus on pupil attainment and progress. Being South African is an added bonus!

Fiona Chapman (Principal, Ark Dickens Primary Academy)

Fiona has enjoyed a diverse and far-reaching career in both worldwide shipping and following that education. Graduating from Nottingham University in 1995 she pursued a career in the City of London as a Marine Underwriter for a lead shipping syndicate at Lloyd’s of London. Following five engaging and fulfilling years in the corporate world teaching as a career refused to relinquish its hold! A career change was made to the education sector. Driven largely by a desire to challenge and change the status quo that exists in education for disadvantaged children Fiona’s career has been almost solely in demographic regions where need for teachers who are committed to raising standards / aspirations is highest. Despite a career break to adopt older children she has a sustained, proven track record, at all levels of implementing change, raising standards and invigorating outlooks for the most challenging schools. Fiona does not see socio-economic disadvantage as a barrier to achievement but rather seeks to ensure all pupils are encouraged to develop the skills of resilience, grit and determination to succeed.

Lorraine Clarke (Vice Chair)

Lorraine joined Ark in September 2014 as the Principal of Ark Blacklands Primary Academy successfully leading the school from special measures to outstanding in all areas within 3 years. She then joined Ark Little Ridge Primary Academy as Executive Principal and successfully led the school from special measures to Good with areas of Outstanding for Leadership & Management and Early Years within 18 months.  In September 2017, Lorraine took on the role as Executive Principal of Ark Castledown Primary School and successfully led the school to become one of the most improved schools in the country.

Prior to her current role, Lorraine worked as the Deputy Head of a large primary school in Little Common and an Assistant Headteacher in Hailsham.  She is also an experienced Year 6 teacher.

 In 2005, Lorraine was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to relocate to Arizona, U.S.A. in order to teach in the local community and lead on innovation based on her experience and knowledge of the British education system and curriculum.   

Dedicated to working within the public sector, prior to teaching, Lorraine worked as a Detective Police Sergeant in the police force for over 9 years.

Anne Hibberd-Chapman (Principal Ark Ayrton Primary Academy)

Gareth Jelley (Safeguarding Link Governor)

I am currently working for Ark in the role of Head of Technical Services. I have over 13 years' experience working with schools in a variety of different IT support roles. In my previous role I was a member of a Safeguarding Committee for a network of 24 private schools, providing advice and guidance on how to support safeguarding with appropriate technology.

Dinah McKenzie (Finance Link Governor)

Dinah has spent her working life first in the City, leaving HSBC Asset Management when her children were small, and then in the voluntary sector, working at New Philanthropy Capital, a consultancy and think tank, since its founding in 2001. With two children now finishing their education, Dinah has left their school's PTA, where she was a long-standing member, but wants to continue working with students and teachers to make a contribution to school life. Skills include research, analysis and consultancy - with 15 years' experience of consulting to charities at NPC - as well as financial analysis and audit. Dinah has been treasurer of a local charity for the past decade, and now would like to be able to contribute to an Ark School.

Sarah Shreeve (SEND Link Governor)

I trained as a teacher in Portsmouth through the Portsmouth Primary SCITT. I trained jointly in SEN and primary, before starting my career as a KS1 teacher, progressing to lead KS1 and, at different times taking responsibilities within Maths, Literacy and Computing leadership. I was SLT at a local primary school for 2 years before moving to work at Teach First. I now deliver primary initial teacher training across the South Coast. I am completing my MA Education, and have an interest in developing high quality mentor education and building capacity in schools. I am national lead for mentor development at Teach First. I am an experienced coach, used to working with both established and new teachers. I have a particular professional expertise in supporting SEN and children demonstrating challenging behaviour. In my free time I enjoy running, baking, reading and volunteering in local community projects.

Cllr Rob Wood (Local Authority Representative)

I have been a Portsmouth City Councillor since 2010 and was Cabinet Member for Children and Education since 2011-14. I am currently a Party Spokesperson for Children. I have a vested interest in improving education outcomes as both grandchildren (and children) attended local authority schools. I have contributed to the LGiU paper on the ‘Middle-Tier’ role in delivering Education and the LA’s role within this and have recently spoken at several national seminars on the subject of education.

Prior to becoming a Councillor I spent many years in senior positions within the IT software industry, finally as a Director and Principal Technologist within a ‘Cloud Computing’ company. I currently independently consult and contract in this area as a CTO.

I am Chair of Trustees at Wymering Manor Trust and Vice Chair of Trustees for Portsmouth race equality network organisation (PRENO).

I became a Governor because I was keen to help and understand how to ensure both Academies and LA schools could work together to ensure the best outcomes for all our Portsmouth pupils. I want Portsmouth pupils to have the brightest future we can all help support.



The register of interests and attendance for LGB governors can be found here: PDF iconPortsmouth Primary Attendance and Register of Interests 2017-18.pdf


All appointments are made by the Head 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 their time in post.