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 four times a year.

The current Clerk to Governors is Samira Sadeghi ( Governors can be contacted through the Clerk.

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

Current governors

Rebecca Curtis (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 (Finance Link Governor)

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.

Faith Rose (Ark Link Governor)

I joined Ark's Education Partnerships Group (EPG) in 2015 as one of the founding members. I lead on EPG’s non-state sector strategy and the organisation’s operations. Prior to joining EPG, I worked for the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation where I worked on school health initiatives and the first development impact bond for education. Before moving to London, I worked for the Clinton Foundation on both the health and climate change initiatives. I hold a Master’s in Public Administration, specialising in public policy and management, from the London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s in political science from Queen’s University in Canada. When not travelling, I can be found listening to and watching music around east London.

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.

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 realize 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 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, a Fellow of the Sutton Trust 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 B.A. 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 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. Councillor, London Borough of Lambeth

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

Muhammed Butt 01/09/2014 Local Authority Rep & Associate governor 1. Leader, Brent Council


Pauline Hoyle 01/01/2017 Ark Nominated     N/A
Sandeep Patel 01/09/2016 Parent   2 out of 2
Faith Rose 01/04/2016 Ark Link 1. Ark employee; no other contractual interests 1 out of 3
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


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 three years, except for the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of her time in post.