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 Brunel 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 master funding agreement. There are also supplemental funding agreements for each individual school in the network, including Ark Brunel.

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

PDF iconArk Brunel Supplemental Funding Agreement

PDF iconAmendment and Restatement Agreement 2013


Ark Brunel 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 Brunel Academy Principal
  • One parent governor
  • One teaching staff governor
  • One non-teaching staff governor
  • One local authority representative from the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

Governors are appointed/elected for three-year terms.

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 four times a year.

The current Clerk to Governors is Catherine Hughes ( 

Governors can be contacted through the Clerk and the parent governor can be contacted through the school office.

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


Dominic Smith (Principal)

Dominic Smith is the Principal of Ark Brunel Academy.

Caroline Gulliver (Chair - on leave)

Caroline is a financial analyst with 17 years experience of working in the City, first as an investment banker and then as a Managing Director within Equity Research. She has long been passionate about education giving all children opportunities having worked her own way up from a local comprehensive school to gaining an MBA (with distinction) from INSEAD. Caroline has wanted to become involved in the education sector since having her own daughter and was already an admirer of Ark's mission and achievements hence her delight at becoming a governor at Ark Brunel. In addition to finance and maths she enjoys music, singing and a variety of sports.  Caroline is currently on a leave of absence.

Stephen Hermer (Interim Chair)

Stephen has been a solicitor in private practice for many years, and is currently general counsel at a leading international law firm with a focus on the technology, media and telecoms sector. Stephen has also sat on the board of a large global listed corporation, as well as being an elected (non-executive) member of the board of two law firms. He believes passionately in the importance of education and in helping young people to achieve their full potential, and has for many years been involved in the "Lawyers in Schools" initiative, a programme run by the Citizenship Foundation that is designed to give school-children the opportunity to engage in interactive discussions about their rights and responsibilities.  Stephen has the role of Interim Chair during the Chair's leave of absence.

Carly Biggam (Ark Link Governor)

Carly has worked for Ark Schools since 2006, initially supporting the opening of new schools as part of the projects team. She then qualified as a speech and language therapist and moved into the Education team, providing outreach support to schools in the network around SEN and speech, language and communication.

Virginia Crosbie (Ark Nominated Governor)

Virginia's passion for community is coupled with a love for education and young people. She worked in the Pharmaceutical industry, moved to banking and then retrained as a teacher. Teaching has taught Virginia the most: to work with people where they are, to work out their needs and to work to add value to their lives. Virginia believes that it takes passion and strength to run a classroom, imagination and humour to keep students motivated, and empathy and patience to provide useful feedback. Virginia teaches maths at the Masbro Centre in Brook Green, supports IntoWork at St Clements, is a coach for the charity Parent Gym and hosts 'Make It Your Business' seminars which encourage women to become entrepreneurs. In her spare time, Virginia loves long walks on windy days with her three energetic children, lovely partner and gorgeous cocker spaniel, Violet.

Sian Griffiths (Ark Nominated & Safeguarding Link Governor)

Sian has observed and reported on schools and universities for more than two decades and is passionate about using the knowledge she has acquired to help children achieve their full academic potential. Brought up in a council house She was educated at a comprehensive in Wales and went to Oxford - her education changed her life and enabled her to have a career as a national newspaper journalist. She would like every child to have that chance. Her own children, now adult, attended London state schools and she advised both schools on English language writing, careers and university entrance. She has been a governor of a nursery school and is education editor of The Sunday Times. She also has radio and TV experience and is currently co-writing a science book on teenagers, sleep and mental health.

Jennifer Grubb (Teaching Staff Governor)

Jennifer has been a teacher at Ark Brunel (formally Middle Row Primary) for 6 ½ years and is currently the Year 6 teacher and English Co-ordinator, as well as upper KS2 leader. Her purpose for taking on the teacher governor role was to understand more fully how the school is run from all areas. Jennifer originally hails from Canada but has lived in the UK for 12 years. Her variety of interests is broad, including: reading, music, theatre and Shakespeare.

Christopher Holder-Ross (Ark Nominated Governor)

Chris is a civil servant at the Department for Exiting the European Union. Prior to this he worked at the Delivery Unit of the Department for Education and as a strategy consultant in the private sector. He became a school governor because he wanted to be able to use some of his professional skills in a way that was useful to a local school. He is very interested in all aspects of education, having gone to schools in three different countries.

Paloma Perez (Parent Governor)

A mother of two children who attend Ark Brunel Primary School. A health professional who loves to contribute in children´s education as much as possible. A person who is involved in the cooperation and support between school and parents to work together for the benefit of our children. A reliable, determined, trustworthy and committed parent who has the priority of sharing time with her children to support them emotionally and academically to attain the best of every person. An engaged parent who would love to do its best for the school and its students. Currently, after receiving a training, about to start volunteering as a mentor for a person with a learning disability at the Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea and attending parent gym at Clement James Centre.

Stacey Plant (Ark Nominated & Data Link Governor)

Stacey has recently completed a role as as Strategy and Product Development Director at Ennismore (the team behind Hoxton hotels), where she managed a cross-functional team to develop a new affordable lifestyle hotel brand. Prior to this role, Stacey was CEO of a sports retail business, a subsidiary of the Pentland Group.

Previously, Stacey spent 3 years working as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman, during which she focused on Health and Life Sciences and Retail projects. Stacey started her career at Barclays Capital in the Investment Banking division.

Stacey has an Msc in Health Policy, Planning & Financing from the London School of Economics and BA (Hons) Economics from Nottingham. Outside of work, she is a runner and triathlete. Stacey enjoys the outdoors, adventure and sport, travelling, hunting for independent coffee shops and making the most of London's museums.

Cong Xu (Ark Nominated & Finance Link Governor)

Cong is 26 years old and currently working and living in London. His parents are Chinese, but he grew up in Germany, lived for some time in China, and went to university in the United States. Cong has spent his career years so far working in the finance industry, which is also where he is currently employed. He wants to focus his philanthropic efforts on helping today's underprivileged youth, who still have their whole lives ahead, and firmly believes that education is the best way to do so. It was education which allowed his dad to escape life on the farm and come to Germany, ultimately creating a better environment for Cong to grow up in. He want the same opportunity for today's youth and their families by ensuring a comprehensive, quality education for them.


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 his or her time in post. Governors may be reappointed for further terms.

The register of interests and attendance information for governors can be found here: PDF iconArk Brunel Governor Attendance and Register of Interest.pdf