How Ark's governance works
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 our Academy's governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.
The Ark Schools Decision Making Framework outlines where responsibility and accountability sits for the key functional areas within Ark Schools between the ‘tiers’ of governance.
Our Local Governing Body
Our Local Governing Body (LGB) is made up of 6-10 members – usually people with a local connection or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area. The board generally includes:
- Academy Principal
- Up to two Parent Governors
- One Teaching Staff Governor
- One Non-teaching Staff Governor
- One Local Authority representative
We aim 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. Attributes we look for include:
- 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
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 LGB meets four times a year.
Becoming a governor
If you have an interest and commitment to improving education, and would like to make a difference within your community, please register your interest in becoming a governor by completing our online Governor Application Form. If you have any questions about a governor’s role or responsibilities please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A full programme of induction, training and support is provided. You can see more information, including role specifications here.
Contacting the governors
The current Clerk to Governors is Valerie Oldland (Valerie.Oldland@arkonline.org). Please contact them if you have any governance-related queries, or would like to contact one of the governors.
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.
Marina Bernard Damiba
Marina is an award winning transformative education expert, speaker and innovator with 25+ years of experience. She began her career in the US as a Teach For America Corps Member and primary school teacher; then as a public speaker focusing on the role of transformative education in diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion. In 2010, she continued her career in the UK as Assistant Head of Teaching and Learning at Ark King Solomon Academy. From 2012, Marina has divided her focus between raising her daughters and working as a Senior Independent Education Consultant.
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.
Mohamed Hassan Sayed
Mohamed is the Director of Chemical and sustainable engineering programs at the University of Southampton, an experienced academic with a demonstrated history of working in higher education and industry for 20 years. Mohamed was motivated to join the governance body at Ark Portsmouth Primaries, to help enhance service to the community, engage in children safeguarding and mental and general wellbeing , bridge the gap between primary/secondary elements and tertiary education and to champion sustainability across both the schools at a strategic and an operational level.
Sarah trained as a teacher in Portsmouth, training jointly in SEN and primary, before starting her career as a KS1 teacher, progressing to lead KS1 and, at different times taking responsibilities within Maths, Literacy and Computing leadership. Sarah was a member of the Senior Leadership Team at a local primary school for 2 years before moving to work at Teach First, where she now delivers primary initial teacher training across the South Coast. Sarah is completing an MA in Education, and has an interest in developing high quality mentor education and building capacity in schools. Sarah is national lead for mentor development at Teach First and an experienced coach, used to working with both established and new teachers. She has a particular professional expertise in supporting SEN and children demonstrating challenging behaviour. In her free time she enjoys running, baking, reading and volunteering in local community projects.
Evanthia is a qualified early years teacher. She has a Master of Education and a Master of Business Administration. Evanthia has diverse working experience in childcare, education, social care and business settings both in Greece and U. K. Her passion and main interest is education and learning. Evanthia currently works with adults who have additional needs and lives in Portsmouth with her two children. She is honored to be a governor at Ark Primary Academies and is committed to actively support both the leading team with their strategic decisions and children with their learning.
Rob Wood works in cloud computing, is an Honorary Alderman and former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. He is Vice-Chair of Governors at Ark Charter.As a strong family-oriented person, Rob knows the importance of keeping our young people safe and wishes to ensure they have the best possible opportunity to develop to their full potential. A Portsmouth City Councillor from 2010 to 2022 and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children and Education since 2011, Rob was previously the Cabinet Member for Children and Families between 2018 – 20, Children and Education between 2011-14 and Chair of Governance and Audit in 2010. Rob has a vested interest in improving education outcomes, as both grandchildren (and children) attended local authority schools. He has contributed to the LGiU paper on the "Middle-Tier" role in delivering Education and the local authority's role within this and has chaired and spoken at several national seminars on the subject of Education.