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 St Alban's 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 St Alban's.

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

Ark St Alban’s Academy is a Church of England school which welcomes pupils of every religion or none. The academy maintains a Christian ethos.  Ark works closely with the Birmingham Diocesan Board of Education which appoints two members to the governing body.


Ark Schools Master Funding Agreement.pdf

PDF iconSt Alban's Academy Supplemental Funding Agreement

The Ark Schools Articles of Association and Accountabilities Framework can be found on the Ark Schools website here:

Our Local Governing Body

Ark St Alban’s Academy LGB is made up as follows:

  • Six-10 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 St Alban’s Academy Principal
  • One parent governor
  • One teaching staff governor
  • One non-teaching staff governor
  • One local authority representative from Birmingham

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

The LGB meets four times a year. At Ark St Alban's Academy a finance sub committee (made up of the Chair, Finance Link Governor and the Academy's Finance and Resources Director) meets four times a year to support the overall work of the LGB.

Contacting the Governors

The current Clerk to Governors is Lucy Taylor ( 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

Mark Gregory – Regional Director of Ark Birmingham Secondary Schools

Mark Dalton -  Principal of Ark St Alban’s Academy 

Jo Dawson - (Chair )

I am a mum of three and have spent almost 20 years working within the Finance and IT Functions of Global companies such as PWC, Cadbury, BAT and Jaguar Land Rover. I have worked out of London and Geneva and have travelled widely with my work. However, my home has always been in the Midlands having grown up in rural Herefordshire before moving to Birmingham to attend university. I have always been involved in voluntary work on an ad-hoc basis but wanted to commit more time going forward. I love Birmingham and strongly believe in equality and considers education to be key to this. Being a governor combines these two passions and I hope that my connections to different industries within the Midlands will also help Ark St Alban's.

Irfan Khan- (Local Authority Representative, Finance Link Governor)

Irfan lives and works in Birmingham. He joined the LGB at Ark St Alban's in 2014 and uses his business skills and experience to support the school in his role as Finance Link Governor.

Prof. Peter Marsh- (Vice Chair)

I am retired and an Honorary Professor of History at the University of Birmingham. I am the biographer of Joseph Chamberlain, the mayor who turned Victorian Birmingham into the best governed city in the industrial world. I am currently vice chair of Ark St Alban's LGB having previously been chair of this Local Governing Body for ten years.

Susan Walton - (Safeguarding Link Governor)

I have been a teacher in inner city Birmingham schools for the whole of my career and so I am aware of the issues that face families in Birmingham with regards to education. Before I retired I was vice principal at Ark St Alban's Academy and for the two terms before becoming an academy acting headteacher. I have always had an interest in all kinds of sports as a participator (netball and basketball), spectator (football, rugby and speedway) and administrator (netball and basketball). I feel proud to state that I manage all the basketball finals organised by the British Basketball League. Although now retired from teaching I still work for Teach First and Schools Direct in mentoring young, new teachers to improve their standard of teaching. Retirement has also allowed me to be a governor at Ark St Alban's Academy and Chair of Governors at Ark Rose Primary Academy.

Rezvana Shaheen (Teaching Staff Governor)

I am currently an RE teacher at Ark St Albans Academy. This is my third year here and I used to work at Joseph Chamberlain College. I strongly believe everything I do here is for the benefit of our students and I wholeheartedly support the ARK ethos in getting absolute return for our kids. I share a similar background with many of the students I teach so I understand their challenges and struggles and I just want to show them that if I could do it then so can they. I am currently part of a team which is aiming to raise awareness of forced marriage. I am hardworking, committed and self motivated, having completed my degree and trained as a teacher whilst raising a family. I recognise the importance of having a goal and working hard to achieve it.

Debbie Westwood (SEND Link governor)

I am the Head Teacher at Christ Church C of E Primary School and on that school's governing body. I work very closely with the Principal of St Alban's Ark Academy as many of my Y6 children leave us to attend St Alban's. This is also our main feeder school and the Principal of St Alban's is Vice Chair of my governing body and Chair of my Performance and Attainment Committee. I am delighted to be a governor of St Alban's and hope to further secure the excellent working relationship between our schools for the benefit of all of our children.

Gitanjali Bajaj (Ark Link governor)

Gitanjali is a Professional Tutor with Ark Teacher Training working with a range of schools across the Ark network as well as partnership schools. Gitanjali qualified with a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Birmingham before qualifying with a PGCE from the Institute of Education (University College London). Since then, Gitanjali worked as a Lead Practitioner of Science in Hertfordshire before joining Ark. She brings a range of experience, including leadership, mentoring, coaching and pastoral development. She is committed to education and firmly believes that all children have the right to flourish. Gitanjali is passionate about teacher development and has a particular interest in Teaching and Learning, to ensure that pupils receive the highest quality teaching, putting them in the best position for their future.

Father Gerry Sykes (Diocese Link governor)

Fr Gerry has been Vicar of the parish since 2017 and is also Chaplain at the Academy.

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 his time in post.

Ark St Albans Governors interests and attendance 2018-19.pdf