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 Ayrton 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 Ayrton.

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 Ark Ayrton's governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter - educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

Master Funding Agreement

Ayrton Supplemental individual funding agreement

The Ark Schools Articles of Association and Decision Making Framework scheme of delegation 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 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 five times a year.

The LGB does not have separate committees but has designated Governors with particular responsibility. 

Contacting the governors

The current Clerk to Governors is Valerie Oldland ( Governors can be contacted through Valerie.  If you are interested in becoming a governor, or have any governance-related queries, please contact Valerie.

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.

Sophie Bennett-Acres

As the Deputy Headteacher of an Ark Primary School for three years, Sophie has a passion for ensuring all children receive a high standard of education, allowing them to go to University or into any career of their choice. Sophie attended Portsmouth University to study History and has always taught in Portsmouth Schools. She now wants to give something back to the community and believes that her skills and knowledge are of benefit to the Governing Board. 

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!

Martin McCrorie

Martin McCrorie is a Certified Cisco Engineer working in Portsmouth City Council's Datacentre. Before Joining the IT Team he worked with schools and Community Centres in community interaction providing a unique set of people management skills.  Martin became a governor as it's a chance to become more involved in the local community while working with the school to ensure that the children are getting the most from their education.

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)

Rob Wood, currently Lord Mayor of Portsmouth (2020/21), was previously the Cabinet Member for Children and Families and as a strong family-oriented person, 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 since 2010 and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children and Education since 2011, he was Cabinet Member for Children and Education between 2011-14 and Chair of Governance and Audit in 2010. He 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.

Anne Hibberd-Chapman (Principal, Ark Ayrton Primary Academy)

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.

The register of interests and attendance for LGB governors can be found here: Meetings-ArkPortsmouthPrimaries 2019-20.pdf

All appointments are made by Ark's Director of Governance.  The term of a governor is three years, except for the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of their time in post.