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 Putney 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 Putney Academy. 

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

Ark Schools Master Funding Agreement

Ark Putney Supplemental Funding Agreement

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


The LGB meets four times a year. 

The current Clerk to Governors is Katie Bird ( Governors can be contacted through the Clerk. 

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


Ark Putney Academy's LGB is made up as follows:

  • Six to 10 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.
  • The Principal
  • One parent governor
  • One teaching staff governor
  • One non-teaching staff governor
  • One local authority representative from the London Borough of Wandsworth

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

APA Governors

Alison Downey (Principal)

Alison is the Principal of Ark Putney.

Nayeem Syed (Chair)

Nayeem is a US and UK qualified lawyer with an MBA from London Business School. He has over 20 years’ experience in various industries including technology, telecoms, internet and media. He has served as a Finance Link Governor previously at another Ark school. He is married to another lawyer, and they have two children, 12 and 7. They moved to Wimbledon a few years ago.

Fiona Forbes

Fiona Forbes is a marketing consultant at Off The Fence Marketing. After graduating from Durham University, Fiona spent a decade working at Unilever before setting up Off the Fence Marketing in 2012. She shares Ark’s aim of giving every Ark pupil an outstanding education and the best possible opportunities.

Genevieve Field (Ark Link and SEND Link Governor)

Genevieve has been teaching in London secondary schools since 2009. She was the Professional Mentor for trainee teachers (Teach First and Schools Direct) across multiple schools in the Harris Federation and was also responsible for improving the quality of Teaching and Learning in the school. She currently works for Ark Schools in the Ark Teacher Training Team as a Professional Tutor, School Partnership Lead and Subject Lead for Design & Technology. She gained a Masters Degree in 2007, and completed an NPQML (National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders) in 2014. Genevieve believes that all children deserve a great education – to allow them to achieve their potential and follow their dreams and is excited about helping Putney make that a reality.

Joshua Fleming (Data Link Governor)

Josh Fleming is currently Chief of Staff to Sir Michael Barber, Chair of the Office for Students - the new higher education regulator for England. Josh has previously worked at Pearson, the education company, helping to develop their impact evaluation strategy and drive improvements in efficacy across their portfolio. Josh is a Wandsworth resident and shares Ark desire to help every student unlock their potential, regardless of background.

Lydia McMillan (Teaching Staff Governor)

Lydia is currently Head of Year 10 at Ark Putney Academy and teaches French. She trained at Ark Putney Academy in 2013 then worked in another Ark school to gain more experience before returning to her post as Head of Year in September 2016. Lydia has loved being back at Ark Putney Academy and cannot wait to inspire and encourage her pupils through some very important years of their school careers.

Sarah Sterne (Ark Nominated Governor)

Sarah has a professional background in teacher training; she formerly lectured and mentored student teachers at Brunel and Roehampton Universities. Sarah is dedicated to equality and inclusion; and is interested in the sciences and performing arts. She is a parent of two children currently attending state schools.

Ann Williams (Ark Nominated Governor)

Ann was a Magistrate for 12 years both in the Adult Court and on the Youth Bench and Chairman of a Local NSPCC Committee  for a number of years. Ann also had a career teaching French and Spanish in various London secondary schools. She is married to a Doctor and has 4 grown-up children. 

Ben Williams (Finance Link Governor)

Ben is very proud to be a governor of Ark Academy Putney. He is a former secondary school Maths teacher who believes passionately in giving students access to the best opportunities regardless of background. Ben is a qualified chartered accountant with experience in auditing academies, charities and not for profit entities and currently works in finance. Ben is also a founding trustee of a widening participation in higher education social enterprise and a former governor at an inner city London Further Education college.



LGB Name Term Dates Gov type and Term Relevant declarations of interest Attendance at meetings 2018/19
Alison Downey 01/09/2013 Principal     4 out of 4
Nayeem Syed 01/09/2018 Chair 1. Employment: Assistant General Counsel, Finance and Risk; Thomson Reuters 4 out of 4
Fiona Forbes 01/09/2015 Ark Nominated   1.  Founder, Partner: Off the Fence Marketing Consultancy (est. 2013)   4 out of 4
Ben Williams 01/09/2015 Ark Nominated   1.  Employment: GSA Capital LLP                                   

  2. Director: GSA Capital Ltd; XYZ Nominees Limited

  3 out of 4
Edward Davison (former) 21/01/2015 - 31/08/2019 Ark Nominated
  1. Employment:I am a civil servant, working in the Department for Education and on secondment to the Office for Students. I am a former teacher and Assistant Head of 6th Form at ARK Putney Academy. 
  2. I provide direct support to The Lighthouse, a project to set up a children's home (

3  out of 4

Joanne Fall (former) 01/09/2017 - 31/08/2019 Ark Nominated   2 out of 4
Genevieve Field 15/12/2015 Ark Link
  1. Employment: Ark Schools, Professional Tutor & School Partnership Lead (Education Team, Ark Central Office)
  2. Ark connection: Ark Trainee Teachers and NQTs, including mentors at Ark Putney

3 out of 4

Lydia McMillan 1/05/2017 Teaching Staff   4 out of 4
Dylan Samuel (former) 01/09/2016 - 31/08/2019 Ark Nominated     1 out of 4
Sarah Sterne 01/03/2016 Ark Nominated   .   3 out of 4
Ann Williams 01/09/2012 Ark Nominated  

3 out of 4

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