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 Byron Primary 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 Byron.

PDF iconArk Schools Master Funding Agreement

PDF iconArk Byron Primary Academy Supplemental Funding Agreement

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

The Ark Schools Articles of Association and Decision Making Framework scheme of delegation can be found on the Ark Schools website.

Our Local Governing Body

Ark Byron Primary Academy’s LGB is made up as follows:

Six to ten members appointed by the Ark Director of Governance, to include the Chair – usually people with a local connection or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area:

  • Ark Byron Primary Academy Principal
  • Up to two Parent Governors
  • One Staff Governor
  • One Local Authority representative from Ealing Council

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 Schools

The LGB has four clerked meetings a year and one unclerked strategy meeting.

Current Governors

Mike Lee (Chair)

Mike is an experienced finance professional with nearly 14 years of working experience in the banking and charity sectors. He currently works at Family Office as their Chief Financial Officer. The Family has deep interest in funding organisations in the education sector and through their passion Mike has developed an interest in education as well. Moreover, his experience at Alpha has given him an ongoing desire to devote his personal time to charitable causes. He hopes he can bring a fresh perspective to the Board of Governors, having grown up in Hong Kong and taught Chinese values since he was a child and then educated in the US for university.

Tom Dupernex (Ark Appointed Governor and Finance Link Governor)

Tom has been a solicitor for 15 years and for the last four a banker with UBS. He studied geography at Trinity College, Cambridge. During his working life he has acted as a mentor and coordinated mentoring schemes for school children in East London and has benefitted from reverse mentoring through these schemes. Tom has a focus on quality of education, the cultural DNA of organisations, how opportunities can be made more widely accessible and aspirations raised. He has three children, the oldest of whom is an Ark pupil.

Courtney Gainer (Ark Appointed Governor, Vice-Chair and SEND Link Governor)

Courtney Gainer is passionate about the education sector, having served as both a management consultant to and an executive within schools and universities. Courtney started off her career as a consultant at EY-Parthenon, where she spent eight years working with global education providers and investors. Courtney joined Hult International Business School in 2016 and is currently Senior Director of Operations, running the non-academic side of the London undergraduate campus. During the 2012/13 academic year, Courtney was seconded to Ark Schools and collaborated with teachers to pilot various classroom technologies. She is delighted to be returning to Ark as a governor.

Daniel Pearce (Parent Governor)

Daniel has 20 years’ experience as a senior member of UK Law Enforcement, leading teams nationally and internationally. He is currently working in a senior role directing a major national digital transformation programme.  Daniel studied Zoology and postgraduate studies including an MBA. He lives locally and has 2 children at Ark Byron.

Ammani Thorpe-Beeston (Ark Appointed Governor and Safeguarding Link Governor)

Ammani trained as a physiotherapist at King’s College Hospital, qualifying in 1981. She specialised in paediatric respiratory care, working extensively in the field of paediatric and neonatal intensive care and respiratory medicine, in particular cystic fibrosis. During her 35 years at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, she was involved in many aspects of health care including clinical care, under- and post-graduate education, research, and management. She has published extensively and has frequently presented at international conferences. In 2009 she was awarded the Fellowship of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. Recently she was involved in the implementation of significant change following the review of a clinical department and initiation of an ongoing quality improvement programme. She maintains a research interest in Cystic Fibrosis in association with the Institute of Child Health, London.

Jemma Withers (Ark Appointed Governor)

Jemma’s professional expertise is in business strategy, largely in technology companies, with particular experience leading large teams through periods of change. She studied English Literature as an undergraduate, has a Masters in Chinese Studies, and has an MBA. She lives in Acton with her wife Sarah and their children and has established a charity working with Afghan refugees, focussing on education and employment opportunities.

Dominic Smith (Principal)

Dominic Smith is the Principal of Ark Byron Primary Academy.

Contacting the Governors

The current Clerk to Governors is Cathi Hughes ( Governors can be contacted through the Clerk.

If you are interested in becoming a governor, please visit the Ark Schools website.

If you have any governance-related queries, please contact Cathi Hughers (


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 their time in post. Governors may be re-appointed for further terms.

The register of interests and attendance for Governors can be found here: 

Ark Byron Primary Academy - Declarations of Interest 2022-23.pdf

Ark Byron Primary Academy - Governor Attendance 2021-22.pdf