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 Oval 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. 

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 Oval Academy. 

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

Ark Schools Master Funding Agreement.

 Ark Oval Primary Academy Supplementary Funding Agreement.

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 LGB meets four times a year. 

The Clerk to the Governors is Nicola Peake ( Governors can be contacted through the Clerk. 

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

Our governing body

Ark Oval Academy's LGB is made up as follows:

Six to 10 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
  • One parent governor
  • One staff governor
  • One local authority representative 

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

Current governors

Ann Ewing (Chair and Pupil Premium Link Governor)

An experienced executive who has worked internationally in the energy, banking, and educational sectors, Ann is passionate about the value of education at all stages of life, including personal and professional development at work. She teaches a number of adult courses including leadership programmes within the Open University. Ann is proud to chair the Ark Oval Primary School governing body and also the Ark Paddington Green Primary School and to support the Headteachers and their teams as they take their schools forward to even higher standards of education for all pupils.

John Phillipson (Vice Chair, ICT and Finance Link Governor)

I am chair of Governors at another primary school and advise two other governing bodies. I am lay chair of a local church council and also help to lead a drop in for homeless guests, that runs each Sunday in Croydon. I am very involved in Croydon churches floating shelter which gives overnight accommodation to the homeless over the winter months. I live in Addiscombe and when I am not doing any of the above I sing tenor and, as an integrated part of a mid life crisis, have recently started to play the bass guitar in a band! Ark Oval does an amazing job and I am very proud to be a small part of it.

Edward Brown (Parent Governor)

An accomplished broadcast engineer, Ed has over 25 years experience working internationally supporting culture, television, live music, sport and entertainment industries. Technically-minded, he developed his career through an ongoing commitment to learning, which is why Ed is now a strong advocate of STEM subjects and is passionate about engineering.

Fitness and wellbeing is another passion of Ed's, and in 2012 he opened specialist gym Performance 360 in Crystal Palace. Understanding the importance of health and physical activity in our communities, he hosts regular learning events at the gym, and also supports others in the industry through mentorship and internships.

A dedicated father to his son and twin daughters  – all pupils at the school – Ed understands the valuable role education plays in a child’s development, and is focused on ensuring Ark Oval provides every student with the best possible start to their future.

Kellie Brown (Safeguarding Link Governor)

I have over 17 years of teaching and leadership experience in London schools and I am currently a Teacher Educator working for Teach First following my career as an Assistant Principal with responsibility for teaching, learning and assessment. My new role involves me supporting new teachers in their early teacher training and leadership preparation and is made possible because I use my experience and knowledge to guide individuals through the Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in conjunction with the Institute of Education of University College London (UCL).

My most recent training has been with Future Leaders on the Headship Now programme and I have a Masters in Education Leadership. I have just started my PhD in Education and will be focusing on staff recruitment and retention.

Claire Chidzey-Carn (SEND and Ark Link Governor)

Claire currently works for the Ark central Governance Team and shares Ark's values in believing that children from all backgrounds deserve a high quality education and the opportunity to pursue a career path of their choice. She has previously worked as a teacher, SENCO and in children's social care teams across London and the South East. Claire has a BA honours degree in Education and has just completed a Masters degree in Psychology. She is deeply passionate about inclusion, SEN and the role schools can play in improving young peoples' mental health and wellbeing. Claire lives with her husband and two cats in London. She is slightly obsessed with cooking, baking and all things food-related and, whenever possible, loves to get out and explore the UK countryside and wildlife.

Jonathan Duffy (Teaching Staff Governor)

Jonathan is currently a teacher in Reception at Ark Oval. He is the Computing Lead, a member of the English Faculty and a part of the Green Team, established in January 2020, in order to promote a green and eco-friendly school environment. Jonathan previously lived in Malta where he worked in company incorporation, branding, marketing and as a Process Improvement Project Manager before moving into education. In his spare time he plays the bass guitar and enjoys nature photography.

Toby Martlew (Principal)

Coming late to the teaching profession I qualified in the borough of Croydon, and following some previous secondary experience sought out opportunities to make an impact with disadvantage groups at an earlier stage. This resulted in me gaining experience in two Croydon primaries before being drawn to the Ark mission and ethos, something that I believe in whole heartedly. I was fortunate enough to be appointed the Assistant Head of Ark Priory Primary Academy under Principal Jacqueline Steele. This was a hugely influential experience building the school from the ground and earning an outstanding all areas grading from Ofsted in June 2015. Following this I was appointed the Head of School and took Priory from strength to strength with 3 years of perfect phonics screening scores and some of the strongest KS1 results in London. Having had some experience with Oval in the past, when the opportunity arose to come back to the borough I was proud to be appointed the new Principal in July of 2018. Oval is a school with boundless potential and with a strong community ethos will reach its full potential.

I am a father of two boys, a keen lacrosse player, cyclist and terrible golfer. 



LGB Name Term Dates Gov type  Relevant declarations of interest Attendance at meetings 2018/19
Toby Martlew   Principal   4 out of 4
Edward Brown 01/04/2019 Parent   2 out of 2
Kellie Brown 19/06/2019 Ark Nominated 1. Teach First Participant Development Lead - Teacher Educator  1 out of 1
Claire Chidzey-Carn 01/01/2018 Ark Link 1. Employment: Ark Schools                               

2. Member: British Psychological Society

4 out of 4
Rich Davies (former) 01/09/2017 - 31/12/2019 Ark Link   4 out of 4
Jonathan Duffy 15/06/2020 Teaching Staff Governor 1. None declared. N/A
Ann Ewing 01/09/2011 Chair
  1. Employment: Associate Lecturer, Open University Business School; Freelance & consultancy work (management & leadership development); HR consultant, Ark
  2. Director: A New Direction (A.N.D.) arts & culture access charity
  3. Governor, De Montfort University, Leicester; member of Council, Royal Holloway University of London ( Non-profit)

4 out of 4

John Phillipson 01/09/2011 Ark Nominated
  1. Chair of Governors at St John's CofE Primary School, Croydon
  2. Chair: Interim Executive Board of South Norwood Primary School
  3. Gifts/hospitality: lunch with the Secretary of state for Education at the House of Lords hosted by Academy Ambassadors (Sept. 2015)

4 out of 4

All appointments are made by the Director of Governance for Ark Schools.  The term of a governor is three years, except the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of her time in post.