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 Bentworth 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 Bentworth.

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

Master Funding Agreement

Amendment and Restatement Agreement

Ark Bentworth Supplemental Individual Funding Agreement


Our Local Governing Body

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

  • Six to ten members appointed by Ark Schools, to include the Chair – usually people with a local connection or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area
  • Ark Bentworth Primary Academy Executive Principal
  • One parent governor
  • One teaching staff governor
  • One non-teaching staff governor
  • One local authority representative from Hammersmith and Fulham

Governors are appointed/elected for two-year terms, up to a maximum of ten years. The initial term of the first Chair will be three years, with annual election by the LGB thereafter. Academy staff may not be Chair or Vice Chair of the LGB.

Ark Schools 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

Contacting the Governors

The LGB meets six times a year.

The current Clerk to Governors is Cathi 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

Current Governors

Damian McBeath (Executive Principal)

Damian McBeath is the Executive Principal of Ark Bentworth and the Regional Director of Primary (London Cluster) for Ark.

Karin Ulukut Barrett (Chair and SEND Link Governor)

I am the new Chair of Governors at Ark Bentworth Primary, which has come through a period of considerable change with a dynamic leadership team constantly striving to improve the school.  I have extensive experience to support the work of the Governing Body. I first became a school governor when my child started school three decades ago. I worked in commerce and lived in different countries, but I became so interested in education that I decided to retrain as a primary teacher and went on to teach for 20 years, leading teams of staff and mentoring trainee teachers.  For the past four years I have been a Local Authority Governor at Ark Academy, with specific responsibility for Safeguarding and for Special Educational Needs and Disability. As such, I try to champion the needs of pupils and families in our local community.  I understand that every family wants their child’s school to offer them the best opportunities to prepare them for the future, so it is crucial to have a skilled, caring, enthusiastic and approachable team in charge of your child's education. I believe Ark will provide that.  I hope to use all my experience to contribute to giving your child the best possible start in life at an Ark Academy. I also know that I need parents' support and involvement, to help us achieve that goal together with the school staff, so I look forward to working with our entire, diverse London community.

Yalda Alaoui (Finance Link Governor)

Prior to joining the Ark network as a governor at Bentworth Academy, I have been involved with the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton as a volunteer to assist pupils during their French and Spanish lessons over the course of 2 years.  My background is in finance and I worked for Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital for over 6 years, responsible for foreign exchange derivatives covering banks and central banks in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2016, I co-founded the hedge fund BrookVale Capital and am in charge of the business development.  I hold a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics and a Master’s Degree in Finance from EDHEC Business School and am fluent in French, English, Arabic and Spanish.  I have two children and enjoy tennis, golf, yoga and have a strong interest in the contemporary and Islamic art worlds.

Melissa Christey

I joined the Ark network in May 2014 as a Professional Tutor and English Subject Lead for Ark Teacher Training. I am a graduate in History and English from the University of York and received an MA in Educational Leadership from the Institute of Education in 2012.  I joined Paddington Academy as an English teacher in 2009 with Teach First and held a variety of leadership positions within the school before becoming Network Lead for English for the United Learning group in 2013. I wanted to be the Ark link for the Governing body because she felt it both exciting and rewarding to work in a group with a wide set of skills, experience and perspectives. I am eager to support the school in promoting effective teaching and learning to ensure that the pupils achieve to the best of their ability.

Michael Coren (Vice-Chair and Safeguarding Link Governor)

I am a consultant Paediatrician at Imperial (St Marys Hospital) and I work daily with a multi-ethnic and complex population within a large team. I am very familiar with the social and health challenges of an inner city population and enjoy trying to meet these challenges. I very much enjoy working with the teaching and governing staff at Ark to improve the school life and experience of pupils, parents and staff. I try to learn from colleagues and use my experience to teach others.

Richard Eschwege

I am a barrister, practising mainly in commercial law. I have advised on and acted in contentious and non-contentious matters across a wide range of commercial disputes, including insurance, energy, banking, financial services, telecommunications, civil fraud, and conflicts of laws and jurisdiction. I regularly appear in the High Court and county courts.

Joe Silvester

I am an Assistant Head at City of London school with responsibility for the quality of teaching and learning at the school. This is the second primary school at which I have been a governor. I am delighted to be able to help maintain the strong links between Bentworth and City of London School.

Helen Williams 

I have over 30 years experience in education. I currently work for Mathematics Mastery as Director of Primary. Prior to this, I held headships in three diverse London schools. I also worked as a maths consultant and adviser for an outer London borough as well as for the National Strategies where I was Regional Director for London South. I have been a school governor before in roles as staff governor, headteacher and co-opted governor and enjoy seeing schools from this angle.  I am passionate about education, particularly for children from less advantaged backgrounds, and am keen to work as a governor in a school that shares my values of high standards of education for all.


LGB Name Term Dates Gov type and Term Relevant declarations of interest Attendance at meetings 2015/16
Lucy Cawkwell 01/09/2012;         


Ark Nominated      


  1. Sole director of Osborne Cawkwell Ltd. (tutoring agency)

3 out of 5

Richard Eschwege 01/09/2012 Ark Nominated
  1. Self-employed Barrister
  2. Director of private property management company
  3. Membership of professional legal bodies

3 out of 5

Philip Goldsmith 01/09/2012;         


Ark Nominated      


  1. DSAM Partners - Senior Analyst and Partner
  2. Trustee & member of Saatchi Synagogue

3 out of 5

Yalda Alaoui 12/05/2014 Ark Nominated
  1. Co-founder of Brookvale Capital
  2. Director of YTA Capital
  3. Member of Beaverbrook golf club and of  Queen's Tennis Club
  4. Supporter of the Marrakech biennale
  5. Shareholder of real estate and tech companies

3 out of 5

Saba Hammad 21/01/2015;                   




  1. Finance & Admin Officer

0 out of 2

Damian McBeath 19/11/2014 Executive Principal
  1. Non-profit membership: Leading the London Leadership Strategy (LLS) programme for outstanding primary schools

3 out of 5

Hannah Peat 01/06/2013;        


Ark Link      


  1. Employed as  Head of Construction at Ark
  2. Member: BSAC scuba diving club, London No. 1.
  3. Ark connection: Previously employed by Lewis Silkin (2006-2008)

0 out of 0

Michael Coren 01/01/2015 Ark Nominated


5 out of 5

Daniela Grasso                      


Teaching Staff      


  1. Employed as Inclusion Manager at Ark Bentworth Primary Academy

5 out of 5

Gary Griffin 01/01/2014;                       


Ark Nominated;      

Chair (Former)

  1. Employment: City of London Corporation as Second Master at the City of London School
  2. Governor at Naima JPS

1 out of 1

Eugenie White 14/09/2012;                       


Local Authority Rep      


  1. Board member and Director: Groundwork London; Ducane Housing Association (both unremunerated and voluntary sector)

0 out of 1

Paula Yasui 10/10/2013;                       



Non-Teaching Staff      



1 out of 1




Karin Ulukut Barrett 01/05/2016 Ark Nominated 1. National Union of Teachers ( retired member) - former primary teacher in Brent Local Authority    

2. Appointed by Brent as Local Authority Governor to Ark Academy LGB

3. Member of Brent Labour Party Executive Committee responsible for selection of intending LP Council candidates and formulation of policy pledges, Vice-Chair until Summer 2014.

2 out of 2
Joe Silvester 01/01/2016 Ark Nominated 1. Teacher at City of London School    

2. Member of ATL Union

4 out of 5
Helen Williams 10/03/2016 Ark Nominated 1. Director of Primary for Mathematics Mastery 2 out of 2
Melissa Christey 10/03/2016 Ark Nominated 1. Employee of Ark Teacher Training 2 out of 2

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