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 Acton 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. 

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

Funding agreements

The Ark Schools Articles of Association, Master Funding Agreement and Accountabilities Framework can be found on the Ark Schools website. Ark’s relationship with the Secretary of State is set out in the PDF iconMaster Funding Agreement and PDF iconAmendment and Restatement Agreement.

There is also a PDF iconArk Acton Supplemental Funding Agreement for Ark Acton Academy.

Our local governing body

Ark Acton Academy’s LGB is made up up of six to ten members appointed by Ark, to include the Chair and Principal. Governors are usually people with a local connection or a particular skill 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 six times a year. 

Current governors

Peter Haylock (Executive Principal)

Gillian Stewart (Principal)

Jacqueline Russell (Chair)

An experienced Director with expertise in developing young teams and in helping organisations going through rapid change. Others have described me as ‘highly driven with a strong moral purpose’ and I am passionate about working with organisations dedicated to positive social change. I have over ten years’ experience as a Director in the commercial and charitable sectors, including lottery, retail and property, and over five years’ experience as a Trustee.

Strong analytical skills enable me to identify an organisation’s strategic aims and to evaluate the projects that will fulfil them effectively. I have a reputation for getting things done and have been told that I am able to ‘balance specialist expertise and gravitas with empathy and trust’. I believe in establishing a workplace culture that runs smoothly and offers a safe but challenging environment for individuals, from students to staff, to achieve and develop.

Jacqueline Russell joined the Ark family six years ago as COO, then CEO of The Future Leaders Trust. Jacqueline helped lead The Future Leaders Trust in its merger with Teaching Leaders, to become the new organisation Ambition School Leadership. She has also been Commercial Director for Ark, helping develop sustainable business plans for schools. She became CFO of Ark in 2017.  She has been Chair of Governors since 2013.

Prior to joining Ark, Jacqueline held a number of Finance Director roles in the private sector. She qualified at Price Waterhouse and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Ken Batty (Ark Nominated Governor)

Ken has been involved in school governing for more than 25 years. He has chaired governing bodies in two secondary schools. He is passionate about school improvement. He is a Non Executive Director at the East London NHS Foundation Trust and a lay member on the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.  Prior to stepping out of full time employment he was Executive Director for HR at Lenovo - the large IT and phone company. He led the HR function in Europe and also, based out of Hong Kong, for Asia.

Milena Bazelkova (Local Authority Rep)

As a manager in the adoptions service of Ealing Council, Milena has a passion for ensuring that each child is offered the same opportunity and support to achieve to their full potential. In her capacity as a local authority employee, Milena works with vulnerable young people, considering how to best support them to achieve stability and to excel in all areas of their development. Milena also offers support to their parents/carers as a way of ensuring that the child’s needs are at the forefront.  Milena is also an active participant in a teaching partnership across London.  In her collaboration with the Royal Holloway University of London Milena ensures that social work students are equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to practice following the completion of their degree.   

Previously, Milena was an active member of Montpelier Primary School’s PTA group and its treasurer for a few years.

Milena lives and works in West London and her 2 children are proud to attend Ark Acton and to see it grow and flourish.

Beulah D'Souza (Ark Nominated Governor)

Beulah D’Souza has significant insights into education. She studied in Malaysia, US, Spain and her children in Spain and the UK. She is an effective and versatile consultant. 

She pursued tertiary education mainly because her comprehensive school gave her the confidence and education. She is driven by the conviction that every child should have this opportunity - it is not too much to ask, nor impossible to provide. 

She has given informational talks to encourage students to study abroad, embrace diversity and spread goodwill. She also supported the unemployed and less educated young people where many choose to return to school to complete their education. 

The governor's position is of great importance – students rely on the school for support; teachers interact with students; and the principal handles his/her stakeholders. We are all part of society whose future depends on the emotional and academic well-being of the children today.

Patrick Fuller (Ark Nominated Governor)

Patrick Fuller has over 25 years of corporate financial experience. He is a Chartered Accountant and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting. 

He has held supervisory positions at Burton Group before moving to HSBC.He then moved to Infratest Burke, one of the leading market research organisations. As Group Chief Accountant he was the finance lead in the successful acquisition of market research agencies. In 2012 the Finance department won the prestigious University sector Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2012: Outstanding Finance Team Award. 

Prior to joining the University of West London in 2011, Patrick Fuller was Head of Finance and Procurement at the Learning Trust in Hackney, as well as Director and Company Secretary of the Kench Hill charity. In 2010 the Learning Trust Finance team won the Hackney Educators Awards Team of the Year 2009/10. 

He is currently a member of the Institute of Directors.

Nick Jones (Ark Nominated Governor)

Nick Jones is a Church of England priest and currently Rector of Acton in West London with responsibility for two of the town's churches. He has worked with the Church of England for 25 years in city centre, inner city, rural and suburban settings in various parts of the UK and came to London in August 2015 after 5 years working for Her Majesty's Prison Service in the North West. A former teacher himself, he has worked in school governance and held third sector trusteeships since the mid-1990's. He is passionate about children and young people achieving their full potential in a safe and caring environment; and about schools and other institutions working together for the common good of their communities.

Matea Marcinko (Ark Link Governor)

Matea was born in Bosnia and came to London at the age of 3. She grew up in West London and went to local state schools in Latimer Road, Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush. She studied English Literature and Language at King's College London. She has volunteered in India and South Africa, firstly as a teacher and then as a teacher-trainer. In September 2011 she completed a PGCE with placements at Acton High and Parliament Hill. She then worked at Mill Hill County High and Ark Burlington Danes Academy. In January 2017, she joined the English Mastery team - a curriculum and teacher development programme committed to improving English teaching at KS3. In her spare time she is completing an MA in Education, Gender and International Development. She still lives in West London and is very passionate about her local area.

Anne Peacock (Ark Nominated Governor)

Passionate about the need to provide an excellent education for all, no matter what your background or geographical location as this is a key driver of social mobility. She benefited from a superb state school education, which gave her the foundation skills and self-belief to go to a leading university and subsequently enjoy a fulfilling career. She is a  qualified solicitor and works as a compliance & ethics officer at a global FTSE 100 company. 

Emma Sullivan (Ark Nominated Governor)

Emma is Head of Strategy & Operations at, a leading EdTech startup. She is responsible for the company’s growth strategy, alongside driving scalability and operational improvements across their London, Boston and Cape Town offices. She is involved in sourcing new business opportunities, investor relations and recently sat on an EdTech panel at City Hall, Mayor of London’s office. Emma is also Co-Founder of Prospela, a start-up aiming to increase access to, and potency of, educator / employer relationships. Previously, she worked in the M&A team at General Electric, supporting Executive Management in the design and implementation of the company’s inorganic growth strategy. She analysed strategic, operational and financial aspects of acquisitions, JVs and dispositions. Emma is also a Member of the Board of Trustees at youth charity StreetsAheadRwanda, and mentors underprivileged school children in London. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Business Administration from the University of Bath.

Amanda Wells (Ark Nominated Governor)

Amanda Wells has spent a career in law with Clifford Chance and Dentons law firms in real estate, planning and finance. She has advised companies on acquisitions, developments, financing, and environmental issues, and has also worked with IT start-up companies on investment, software rights, and corporate issues. 

She has advised at the Citizens Advice Bureau on education, housing, social, and employment matters. She holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from University College London, and a Masters-in-Law from Kings College London. 

She has developed her knowledge of London schools through assisting the management team at Greenhouse Sports, a charity which works in around 40 London schools and provides sports coaching, academic and pastoral mentoring. 

She believes deeply in developing and realising every child's potential, to provide a school environment which engages, motivates and inspires young people, and is strongly committed to assisting the Academy and Ark schools in achieving these goals.


All appointments are made by the Governance Manager for Ark Schools.  The term of a governor is three years, except for the Executive Principal and Principal, who remain governors for the duration of their time in post. Governors may be re-appointed for further terms.