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.

Isaac Newton 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 Isaac Newton Academy.

PDF iconArk Schools Master Funding Agreement

PDF iconINA Supplemental Funding Agreement

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 Isaace Newton Academy’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.


Isaac Newton 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
  • Two parent governors (one each from primary and secondary)
  • One teaching staff governor
  • One non-teaching 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

The LGB meets four times a year.


The Clerk to the Governors is Sakina Marzban ( All governors can be contacted through the clerk.

If you are interested in becoming a governor, please visit the Ark Schools website.

If you have any governance-related queries, please contact the Clerk.


Gerard Griffin (Chair & Finance Link Governor)

Gerard Griffin is managing partner at Chilmark Capital Management. Previously, he was Portfolio Manager at GLG Partners and CEO and founder of Tisbury Capital Management. Gerard currently serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Isaac Newton Academy and as a Director of ARK Schools, and is on the board of St Luke's Centre in Manchester. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy, and received a joint B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from Yale in 1990, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1996.

Leanne Abbott-Jones (Teaching Staff Governor)

Leanne is an Assistant Principal at Isaac Newton Academy, as well as a teacher of Physical Education.

Jannis Abley (Local Authority Representative)

Jannie has served as an Advisory Teacher for EMA, NQTs & ASTs at the London Borough of Redbridge.

Ranjit Bhalla (Secondary Parent Governor)

Ranjit is a 45-year-old father of four daughters, three of whom attend INA. His eldest has been at INA since the first cohort. During this time, he has seen the school grow and evolve. For the last twenty-one years, Ranjit has worked in a variety of different management and leadership roles. Ranjit would like to aid and collaborate with the senior leadership team to help the school to develop. He is very resourceful, curious and has an open-minded approach to new opportunities. The future of Ranjit's children is of the uppermost importance to him and therefore he would be delighted to be given the opportunity in making a difference in the education, of not only his own daughters but the student body as a whole.

Sheraz Bhatti (Primary Parent Governor)

Sheraz is Chief Innovation Officer at 3verest, a global cloud services and technology firm. Having worked in technology for over 18 years, dealing with organisations ranging from SMEs to global multinationals, Sheraz brings vast experience in commercial, technical, social and the interpersonal aspects of working with individuals and organisations at all levels and from all backgrounds. In 2008 he gained a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science from City University, London. Sheraz is an active member of BritishAmerican Business, a transatlantic trade organisation, he is also a member of the British Computing Society. Having lived within the local area for over 25 years and attending three local schools, Sheraz puts much of where he is today down to the mentoring and care shown to him by his teachers. Sheraz aims to give back and show his thanks through his role as Governor at Isaac Newton Academy by helping tomorrow's future adults.

Des Browne (Associate)

Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Kilmarnock and Loudoun from 1997 to 2010.

As a back-bencher, he served on the Northern Ireland Affairs and Public Administration Select Committees. In 1998, he became the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Donald Dewar, Secretary of State for Scotland. In 2000, he became PPS to Adam Ingram, Minister of State for Northern Ireland. Subsequently, he served on the first Joint Committee on Human Rights.

In 2001, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In 2003, Browne was promoted to Minister of State for Work at the Department for Work & Pensions and in 2004, he was appointed Minister for Immigration & Citizenship in the Home Office. Re-elected in 2005, he joined the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and was appointed to the Privy Council.

In 2006, he was appointed Secretary of State for Defence, and from 2007 to 2008, he combined this role with the role of Secretary of State for Scotland. In October 2008, he returned to the back-benches and was appointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Special Envoy to Sri Lanka. He also served on the first Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.

From October 2009 until March 2014, he was Convenor of the Top Level Group of Parliamentarians for Multi-Lateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation. He co-founded the European Leadership Network and has been the Chair of its Board of Trustees and Directors since its inception. In July 2010, he was introduced to the House of Lords.

Since 2014, Lord Browne has served as NTI's Vice Chairman. In this role, he helps shape NTI’s strategic direction, including long-term planning and international outreach.

Nadia Chaudhary (Staff Governor)

Nadia is currently working at the school as a lunchtime supervisor, afterschool club assistant for primary and secondary. She takes great pleasure in working for INA and loves to be a part of the team that works hard to improve the future of our children. She has lived in this borough and a few streets away from INA for over 12 years and is a well know member of the community. She has mainly worked for city based companies as office manager/admin and have great interpersonal/organising skills.

Sarah Gregory (SEND Link Governor)

An experienced programme manager with 30 years of experience working with children and young people. Sarah currently works in the Creative Industries improving access to and awareness of careers across the creative sector. Sarah is a firm believer in the value of a whole education with a particular passion for developing students’ personal and social skills through beyond the classroom opportunities including through the arts, debating and speechmaking, sporting and academic competitions, corporate mentoring and work experiences. Sarah previously worked centrally for ARK schools for nearly seven years developing a comprehensive enrichment offer for students and has considerable experience of event management, programme delivery and partnership development. Sarah has worked predominantly in areas of high social need, with sections of the community that are traditionally considered hard to reach. Sarah regularly works with students, parents and the wider community. Resident in the L.B Redbridge with two daughters educated in Redbridge secondary schools, Sarah has a proud and vested interest in ensuring the success of her local ARK School.

Claire Hickling (Ark Nominated Governor)

Claire Hickling is a teacher in London with experience in safeguarding, behaviour and inclusion. She has worked in Ark schools for seven years.

Sayeqa Islam (Ark Link Governor)

Sayeqa joined Ark in July 2013 and is the Head of People Development, having previously worked for Stonewall and the English-Speaking Union, managing their education programmes. Sayeqa graduated in law and economics from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand - and started working in a criminal law chamber. She then moved into consulting for a range of charitable organisations - such as the British Council, Open Society Foundations and the Qatar Foundation - on integrating the use of communication and advocacy skills in education settings. Sayeqa has been a trainer in over 20 countries, and in her spare time, coaches the Team England debate team competing at the World Championships in 2015.

Rose McNamee (Safeguarding Link Governor)

Before joining the Civil Service, where I’ve worked for the past 5 years, I graduated with a degree in French & Linguistics from Christ Church, University of Oxford. During my time in government, I have worked on a wide range of topics - further education funding, higher education and student finance future strategy, corporate governance within government, and most recently automotive policy. In 2010-11, I spent a year seconded from government to Ark to lead the development and delivery of Ark’s first University Success Programme. I joined the local governing body of Isaac Newton Academy in October 2012, and have recently become INA’s link governor for child protection and safeguarding.

Adarsh Ramchurn (Ark Nominated Governor)

Adarsh joins as an Ark Nominated Governor, having been a member of the first cohort of students at INA. He is currently completing a degree apprenticeship in Business Management with Social Change at Queen Mary, whilst working at The Royal Society of Arts. 

Wasim Rehman (Ark Nominated Governor)

I have worked in finance since 2001 with roles including being a trader at an investment bank, a partner in a hedge fund and an investor. Prior to finance I studied Mathematics at Cambridge and Mathematics continues continues to be a passion of mine. As a student I attended 5 different schools from the age of 4 to 18. I have seen a range of approaches and I owe a lot of my success to my teachers and schools. I hope to be able to give back by taking a role as a Governer at the Isaac Newton Academy.

Jo Spencer (Interim Principal)


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 her time in post. Governors may be reappointed for further terms.

The Register of Interests and attendance information for governors can be found here: PDF iconINA Governor Attendance and Register of Interest.pdf