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 Elvin 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 Elvin .

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

PDF iconAmendment and Restatement Agreement

PDF iconArk Elvin Supplemental Funding Agreement

Our local governing body

Ark Elvin Academy’s local governing body (LGB) is made up as follows:

  • Six to ten 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 Elvin Academy Principal
  • One elected parent governor
  • One elected teaching staff governor
  • One elected non-teaching staff governor
  • One local authority representative from Brent

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

Contacting the governors

The LGB meets six times a year.

The current Clerk to Governors is Anna Machin ( Governors can be contacted through Anna, and the parent governor can be contacted through the school office.

If you are interested in becoming a governor, please visit If you have any governance-related queries, please contact

Current governors

Rebecca Curtis (interim principal)


Sophy Blakeway (Chair)

Until autumn 2014 I was Director of Education for Ark Schools. I started my teaching career in London where I worked in Lewisham, Wandsworth and as a Primary Advisory Teacher for ILEA. I have been the headteacher of two schools in Hampshire, most recently Hiltingbury Junior School which was described as outstanding by Ofsted in inspection reports of 2008 and 2010.
Further to my role as headteacher I have worked as a School Improvement Partner for three schools and in 2009/10 as executive head of a school in challenging circumstances. As Director of Education for Ark, I worked with the then 18 academies in the network to achieve the Ark vision of ensuring every child, whatever their background, has real options to either go to university or follow the career path of their choice when they leave school.

Sally Belfield

I am a civil servant currently working in HM Treasury. I have worked in policy, operational and corporate roles in a number of UK government departments, including the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, UK Trade and Investment and the Department for the Environment. I have a Masters degree from the London School of Economics specialising in Global Politics and Economic Diplomacy. I completed my undergraduate studies in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Manchester.

I joined the governing body of Ark Elvin Academy because I want to contribute to building and maintaining an environment that provides pupils with the best possible education they can get.

Alex Bigham (Data Link Governor)

I was appointed as a governor to Ark Elvin Academy in September 2014 when the school joined the Ark network. I am keen to support and challenge the leadership team to drive up standards at the school and ensure it has good links with the local community. I have worked in communications and politics for over a decade and am a Councillor in the London borough of Lambeth.

Councillor Muhammed Butt (Associate Governor & Brent Local Authority Representative)

I have lived in Brent all my life. I was born in Central Middlesex Hospital and schooled in the borough, representing my home ward Tokyngton as a Councillor since 2006. I am a father of three, and my wife is a Brent registered child-minder. Over the years, I have owned several businesses in Brent and have previously worked for BT as an engineer and for the then Department for Health and Social Security in project management.

I entered politics after becoming involved in community campaigning and advocacy for residents in my local area. I was first elected as Leader of the Council in May 2012, re-elected in May 2014 and, as Leader, I have prioritised creating jobs for local people, investing in affordable housing and protecting Brent’s most vulnerable residents.

Sandeep Patel (Parent Governor)

I have worked in software development for over 15 years, and currently work as an Agile Project Manager. I look forward to bringing the parental perspective to Ark Elvin governing body meetings as the school develops.

Mohamed Rahman (Non-Teaching Staff Governor)

I have worked at the school for over three years as a Student Support Officer and have supported the students and staff within various roles at the school. Currently assigned to Year 11, I am proactive in supporting the students in doing their best during each school day. I work hard in keeping students focussed, motivated and prompt to lessons. I am involved in student behaviour and the school's zero tolerance policy. I work closely with all form tutors and teachers in supporting the smooth running of lessons. 

I am also involved in student mentoring sessions which have proved very productive with a positive response from the students I've worked with. I always strive to do my best for the school and the school community.

Faith Rose (Ark Link Governor)

Faith joined Ark International’s Education Partnership Group in 2015. Prior to joining Ark, Faith spent four years at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, most recently as a member of the Education Team, working on national scale school health programmes. Faith also previously worked at the Clinton Foundation and has a Masters in Public Administration from the London School of Economics. 

Amit Shah

I am an employee of the Department for Education. I am currently involved in overseeing the successful opening of free schools across parts of South East England, as one of the team leaders of the Free Schools Group. I have previously worked within the Education Funding Agency (EFA) as the lead on academy governance and as an External Assurance auditor for the EFA, and have held responsibility for the issue and publication of the Financial Management & Governance Self-Assessment (FMGS). I advised on updates to the Academies Financial Handbook.

I am a qualified accountant/auditor with considerable experience of working with academies and free schools, within academy investigations, finance, governance, risk management, audit and numerous Central Government bodies. As a former alumnus of Elvin Academy when it was the maintained school Copland Community School, the success and future of the school is something that is very important to me.

Meera Shah (Associate Governor)

I have just moved back to the UK having completed an MBA at Harvard Business School. During my time in the US I spent a summer working with Harlem Village Academies helping reform their teacher recruiting and retention process. Now that I am back in London I work as a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group.

Seamus Sheridan (Teaching Staff Governor)

I am currently the Head of Religious Education at Ark Elvin. I also teach philosophy in the Sixth Form.

Erica Wax (SEND Link Governor)

I have a wide range of experience in politics, the private sector and non-profit organizations. I have a life-long passion for providing skills and opportunity to young people so that they can realise their personal and professional dreams and potential.

I was the co-founder of a New York-based charity called Girls Career Workshop, which exposed at-risk high school girls to a wide range of career options. I am a mentor to talented young people living and working in East London and I am on the UK Advisory Board of Room to Read.Professionally, I worked in international development and trade policy in Washington DC, as a Director of an international trade consulting firm.

I was a Vice President in the Global Markets and Investment Banking group at Merrill Lynch in New York and London. I have worked on numerous political campaigns over the last 20 years.I am a Member of Chatham House and a Fellow of the British-American Project. I have a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Politics from the University of California.


LGB Name Term Dates Gov type and Term Relevant declarations of interest Attendance at meetings 2015/16
Rebecca Curtis 21/11/2016 Interim Principal



Sally Belfield 01/09/2014 Ark Nominated
  1. Civil servant at HM Treasury
  2. Partner, Simon Oscroft is Director of 'So Energy' (domestic gas & electricity supply company)

6 out of 6

Alex Bigham 01/09/2014 Ark Link (01/09/2014 – 31/12/2015)     

Ark Nominated (01/01/2016 – present)

  1. Member:  Labour Party; Fabian Society; Unite the Union; Co-op Party
  2. Deputy Director of Communications, Ark
  3. Councillor, London Borough of Lambeth
  4. Trustee, Portuguese Speakers' Community Association (resigned November 2014)
  5. 1 ticket to Frieze Masters event in October 2015 from Frieze

4 out of 6

Sophy Blakeway 01/09/2014 Chair
  1. Employed with an Education consultancy and undertakes consultancy work with Ark International

5 out of 6

Fran Bowen-Day 01/09/2014 - 30/08/2016 Ark Nominated
  1. Ark employee; no other contractual interests

4 out of 5

Muhammed Butt 01/09/2014 Local Authority Rep & Associate governor  


Faith Rose 01/04/2016 Ark Link 1. Ark employee; no other contractual interests 1 out of 3
Mohamed Rahman 01/06/2015 Non-Teaching Staff  

5 out of 6

Amit Shah 01/09/2014 Ark Nominated
  1. Department for Education - employee within the Free Schools Group
  2. Former member of the Education Funding Agency; previous interactions with ARK schools and auditors
  3. Former student at Copland Community School

5 out of 6

Meera Shah 01/09/2014 Ark Nominated & Associate
  1. Management Consultant at BCG


Seamus Sheridan 21/01/2015 Teaching Staff
  1. Employed at Ark Elvin Academy
  2. National Union of Teachers (NUT) Representative in school

5 out of 6

Erica Wax 01/09/2014 Ark Nominated
  1. Advisory Board:  Room to Read
  2. Fellow:  British American Project
  3. Member:  Chatham House

4 out of 6

All appointments are made by the Governance Manager for Ark Schools. The term of a governor is two years, except for the chair (three years) and the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of her time in post.