Ark Greenwich Free School and Ark Schools Governance Arrangements

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 Greenwich Free School 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 Greenwich Free School.  

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 Greenwich Free School's Governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration. 

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

Contacting the Governors

The Clerk to the Governors is Alleisha Furlonge-Royal ( Governors can be contacted through the Clerk.

If you are interested in becoming a Governor, please click here. If you have any governance-related queries, please contact the Clerk.

Our Local Governing Body

Ark Greenwich Free School'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.
  • The Principal
  • Parent Governors
  • Staff Governor

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. 


Ark Greenwich Free School Governors

Joanna Israel (Chair)

Jo has been a governor at Ark Greenwich Free School since 2015 and Chair since 2019. She is immensely proud of all the hard work that has gone into creating the Ark Greenwich Free School community, where exceptional staff and happy, confident scholars flourish. Outside of Ark Greenwich Free School Jo works for the Department for Education and lives in Greenwich.

Kristen Hassler (Ark Appointed Governor; Inclusion Link Governor)

Kristen moved to the UK fourteen years ago from the US where she studied SEN Education (SpLD/BESD) and Fine Art at university. She worked at  St Augustine’s CE High School in Westminster for thirteen years as a SENCo/SEN Teacher. Wanting to learn about different aspects of education in the UK, she became a Governor at AGFS and then the SENCo at Eton College, where she currently works. She is passionate about the development of SEND in the UK and ensuring that all students in all areas of education are supported and empowered to progress in all areas of their lives.

Simon Hurst (Ark Appointed Governor; Safeguarding Link Governor)

Simon become involved with Greenwich Free School in 2012 as a single father of twins who were among the first cohorts of students. He has run the Astronomy Enrichment Programme since 2013 giving the students opportunities to do solar observations and viewing the transit of mercury in 2016.  He  is   also  passionate about online safety and has worked hard with the Safeguarding Team at AGFS to setup the school's SHARP and Securus system's which is making a very positive effect in increasing not only online safety but also increasing the whole of the stutents safeguarding both in and out of school which he is very proud of.

Ben Jasper (Ark Appointed Governor; Finance Link Governor)

Ben works as a solicitor at an international law firm specialising in litigation, investigations and dispute resolution. He obtained a First Class Degree in Modern History and a Masters in Politics from Wadham College, Oxford University where he was Student Union President. He has been a Governor since 2011 and chaired the Finance Pay and Personnel Committee between 2014 and 2018. He grew up in London where he attended a state school and was the first person in his family to go to university. He is committed to ensuring that young people, regardless of their background, have the best possible chance of achieving outstanding results and attending top-flight universities.

Kumar Raju Kosuru (Ark Appointed Governor)

Kumar works as a Capital Market expert for tier 1 banks and has over 15 years of experience in Banking and Technology. He ran large scale transformation programmes in Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Lloyds bank. He moved to the UK in 2017 from India and is passionate about innovation and social entrepreneurship. He is a mentor for the Mayor of London's Business Growth Programme (BGP). He holds an Executive MSC in Social Business and Entrepreneurship from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a bachelor degree in Computer Science. He is committed to developing young people's mindset for impact and social innovation through strong community and technology.

Newton Leng (Staff Governor)

Mr Leng has a wealth of experience working in grammar, comprehensive and independent schools. He has a masters degree in Education and has a NPQML in education leadership. He is a firm believer that all children deserve the best education and can thrive regardless of socio-economic background. He enjoys being a world citizen and working in London celebrating the international perspective of education and bringing diversity alive via Modern Foreign Language curriculum. He is particularly keen on introducing Mandarin Chinese to mainstream MFL curriculum in state comprehensive schools. When he is not teaching, he is a LesMills group exercise instructor.

Conor McHugh (Ark Appointed Governor)

Conor has a longstanding commitment to education and ensuring children and young people get every opportunity to reach their full potential. He originally trained as a Primary School Teacher in Ireland and taught for four years in a school with designated disdavantaged status in Dublin. He also holds Masters Degrees in International Relations and Communications. From there, a varied career has followed including positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland, the charity Teach First and now in the Department for Education where Conor is Head of Operations and Business Management in Capital Directorate for Free Schools. Conor moved to Greenwich nearly 10 years ago and sees the role of Governor as making an important contribution to the community not just for now but for the future.

Rebecca Montacute (Ark Appointed Governor;Pupil Premium Link Governor)

Rebecca is a researcher at the Sutton Trust, a foundation which champions social mobility from early years through to access to the professions. Since she joined the Trust in 2017, Rebecca has authored reports on a variety of topics including internships, university access, highly able students from disadvantaged backgrounds, access to the professions and how parents use financial and cultural resources to boost their children’s educations. Rebecca previously completed a PhD in Neuroscience and Immunology at the University of Manchester, a degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Sheffield, and was a Fellow at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, working on infant mortality and stillbirth.

Anjuli Old (Ark Appointed Governor)

Anjuli studied law at the University of Essex and joined the Civil Service in 2009.  She has held a number of roles in the Home Office and in the Ministry of Justice where she was the Private Secretary to two Lord Chancellors.  Anjuli is currently a Team Leader in the Ministry of Justice’s Criminal Justice Strategy & Criminal Court Policy Unit.  She has lived in Greenwich since 2014 and is keen to help contribute to the development of young people in her local area.

Nichola Walker (Parent Governor)

With a child at Ark Greenwich Free School, Nichola has worked with teachers and students in the past and volunteered her free time to help families overcome issues. Nichola is an active fundraiser and feels confident that she can fully support the whole school community. 

Robert West (Parent Governor)

Robert West has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Robert has two children at the school. The desire to be a governor is to be involved in the children’s upbringing and give the benefit of my experience to help guide this great school. 

Rhys Spiers (Headteacher)


The Governor Register of Interests 2022-23 and the Attendance Information 2020-21 can be found here: 

PDF iconArk Greenwich Free School - Governor Register of Interests 2022-23.pdf


All appointments are made by Ark's Director of Governance. The term of a Governor is three years, except for the Principal, who remains a Governor for the duration of their time in post.