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 Franklin 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 Amended and Restated Master Funding Agreement. There are also supplemental funding agreements for each individual school in the network, including Ark Franklin.

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 Franklin’s governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

Our Local Governing Body

Ark Franklin Academy’s 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 Franklin Academy Principal/Headteacher
  • 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

The LGB meets six times a year.

Contacting the governors

Governors can be contacted through the Clerk.  The current Clerk to Governors is Harriet Cox ( 

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

Current Governors

Janine Ryan (Headteacher)

James Evelyn (Ark Link Governor & Interim Chair)

I have worked in primary schools for around ten years and I am currently employed as Network Lead for Primary Maths at Ark Schools. For me, becoming a Governor is very much about providing additional support to a school from a different angle to my day to day work at Ark. The majority of my career has been spent in inner city education; helping to improve life chances for children in these areas is my central motivation for becoming a Governor.

Harriet Barclay (Safeguarding Link Governor)

I became a governor because I care passionately that all children, regardless of their background, have access to a high-quality and inspiring education. I work as External Relations Director for Teaching Leaders, a national education charity, which develops middle leaders in schools in challenging contexts. My background is in marketing and communications. Prior to Teaching Leaders, I was Head of O2 Learn – a crowd-sourced revision website for secondary school students that I conceived, launched and ran as part of the brand innovation team at O2, UK. I was an On Purpose Associate in 2010, the inaugural year, having spent 6 years as an Account Director at the advertising agencies AMV BBDO (London) and CLM BBDO (Paris). I studied Modern Languages at Oxford University.

Debbie Berger-Fox (Associate Governor)

Before moving to London in 2005, I served as the Director of Media Strategy for the Washington DC based think-tank the Center for American Progress. Prior to that, I was a CNN producer in the Washington DC bureau, where I worked on shows including Crossfire and Burden of Proof for over five years. I am currently a communications consultant to various organisations, including Young Enterprise, the UK’s leading enterprise education charity. I am also the mother of two small children.

VIRGINIA BONHAM-CARTER (Community Link Governor)

I was born and brought up in London. I moved to Queen’s Park, Kilburn when my first child was born twenty one years ago. It is a great pleasure to have Ark Franklin Primary Academy on my doorstep and to serve it as a community governor.
I worked in book publishing for approximately twenty five years for companies such as Penguin Books, Faber and Faber and latterly 4th Estate. I am currently active in the local community and have stood but not been elected as a local Councillor. I am also on the West London Board of the charity 'Just for Kids Law'. Both my publishing background and as a trustee of papers donated to the Bodleian Library together with being a parent has led to my interest in and wish to be involved with education, particularly in the vital early years of primary school.

Susannah Hares (vice chair)

I am Ark's International Director, responsible for strategy and execution of Ark's operations in India, Africa and Eastern Europe. I joined Ark in April 2011 from the London School of Economics where I set up and directed the Innovation Co-Creation Lab, work focusing on business model innovation. Prior to this I served for three years as Associate Director, Global Community Partnerships, at Barclays PLC. I started my career in Kenya, working for African health NGO AMREF. I hold a MA(Econ) in Political Development from the University of Manchester.

Donna Hirsh (SEND Link Governor)

I have worked in various fields of education for my entire professional life, retiring in 2007. My experiences have included primary and secondary level classroom teaching, school counseling, special needs work, and coordinating community links and volunteer opportunities for parents and students. I have also served on international school accreditation boards, in leadership, training and observer capacities. Since my retirement, I have worked as a volunteer on several community projects, but have been looking for an opportunity to return to an educational setting. I am delighted and honored to be a governor at Ark Franklin, and look forward to working with my fellow governors and with the administration and staff at ARK Franklin.

Alison Leach (teaching staff governor)

I am a Reception teacher and Early Years Phase Leader at Ark Franklin Primary Academy. I joined Ark Franklin as it initially transitioned to become an Ark school and  previously worked at another Ark school. I am keen to work with the staff, children, parents and community to improve the teaching and learning at Franklin and also to help Franklin build a positive name in the local area.

Adam McCormack (Finance Link Governor)

I am married with four grown up children and have lived in central London for the past 33 years. My career was spent initially as a Stockbroker and then as an Investment Banker in the City, where I worked in fixed income sales. I write regularly on business and economics for an online current affairs magazine. I am a keen golfer, cyclist, and theatre-goer.


I currently work for a Local Authority in one of the most diverse London boroughs and I have many years experience in strategy, project and policy development; particularly delivering services to vulnerable residents. Career wise, I am motivated to provide services that meet the needs of the community and I am excited by the opportunity to help deliver the best outcomes for children and, in turn, the wider locality as an Ark Governor.

LGB Name term dates gov type and term relevant declarations of interest attendance at meetings 2015/16
Harriet Barclay 01/07/2015 Ark Nominated 1. Employee of Teaching Leaders, a middle leadership developmen charity (Ark Franklin would be elibigle for our programmes
2. Overlap with Ark Schools central office (communications and fundraising)
6 out of 6
Debbie Berger Fox 01/09/2013 Associate   2 out of 6
Virginia Bonham-Carter 06/05/2015 Ark nominated   6 out of 6
Rowan Douglas 18/06/2014 Parent 1 .Employment; Willis Limited, London
2. Appointment/Directorship: Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology
3. Member: Worshipful Company of Insurers
4. Shareholding/Investment: Willis Group Holdings
5 out of 6
James Evelyn 01/09/2015 Ark Link   5 out of 6
Jonah Grunsell 01/09/2013 Char 1.  Directorships: Headrooms Improvement Partners; Headadvisory; ISI Consultancy 5 out of 6
Susannah Hares 01/09/2013 Ark nominated 1. Employment: Ark International Director
2. Member: Labour Party
4 out of 6
Donna Hirsch 01/09/2013 Ark nominated 1. Son-in-Law  Philip Goldsmith (governor of Ark)
2. Director of Wendover and Moreland Courts Ltd (unremunerated)
4 out of 6
Alison Leach 20/03/2015 Teaching staff 1. Employed as Assistant Head of Inclusion and SENCo at Ark Franklin Primary Academy 5 out of 6
Nkechi Okeke-Aru 01/09/2013 Local Authority rep 1. Employed at the London Borough of Brent 4 out of 6
Amanda Richell 10/02/2014 Non-teaching staff 1. Spouse and eldest son work for Ark 6 out of 6
Janine Ryan 12/01/2015 Principal 1. Principal, Ark Franklin (January 2015 Acting Principal, then Principal as of 2nd November 2015) 6 out of 6

All appointments are made by the Governance Manager for Ark Schools. The term of a governor is three years, except for thePrincipal, who remains a governor for the duration of their time in post.