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.

Charter 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 Charter Academy (see below).

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

Master Funding Agreement

Charter Academy Supplemental Funding PDF iconAgreement

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

Our local governing body

 Charter Academy’s LGB is made up as follows:

  • Six to twelve 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. 

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
  • Staff governors
  • Parent governors

The LGB meets four times a year.

Contacting the governors

The clerk to the governors is Valerie Oldland ( If you are interested in becoming a governor, or have any governance related queries, please contact Valerie or visit

Current governors

Charles Hindson (Chair)

Charles is an experienced school governor having supported Walworth Academy, another Ark network secondary school in South London, for 10 years, taking over as Chair of Charter governors from September 2019. Charles is active in education and business, currently as a trustee with Trinity College London, the international music and language examiner, and as a non-executive director with Diaceutics PLC, an AIM quoted company providing better insights for better treatment in personalised medicine.

Julie Jones (SEND Link Governor)

Julie has a wealth of experience working for and with global organisations, and for small business competing in global markets. An enquiring mind and lateral thinking contribute to the unexpected insights and creativity that are clearly demonstrated in both her career and personal life. Julie's adventurous spirit has taken her to the ends of the earth, from the North Pole to Antarctica, from Everest Base Camp and Kala Pathar in Nepal, to Milford Sound in New Zealand. Her positive attitude and energy help make the possible deliverable with a belief in aim higher, we do not know what we can achieve until we try, or where we will end up until we step out.

Meg Mannion (Ark Link Governor)

Meg is Assistant Company Secretary at Ark and works in the central Governance team. She has experience of working in governance in charities, trade unions and across Higher Education. Meg has an MSc in Corporate Governance and is passionate about high quality education. Meg went to school in Portsmouth, near where she grew up.

Annie McCabe

Rev Annie McCabe is the Priest in charge at St Luke's Church next door to Charter Academy.  She is passionate about deepening links between the local community, church and school. 
She was a community governor in her previous parish where she saw first hand the difference good governance can make in the life of the school. Her focus as a governor will be on developing the Christian ethos and spirituality at Charter to ensure the integrity of the SIAMS recommendations.  Prior to her ordination in 2012, Annie gained a wealth of senior management in education, marketing and public engagement working in both the corporate and not for profit sector.

David Medway (Teaching Staff governor)

David has been working in the science department at Ark Charter Academy since April 2014 and previously taught in Warwickshire, Milton Keynes and Hamble. He has been governing at infant and primary schools near to his home since May 2016, participating in many governor training sessions and gaining experience as subcommittee chair for finances and vice chair of a governing body alongside mentoring new governors. Due to David's experience at Charter and passion for improving the lives of young people in Portsmouth, together with his experiences in primary school governance, he brings a useful perspective to the governing body and is well positioned to ensure that the governing body's strategic decisions are reflective of the ethos of the academy and the needs of all students so that their progress during their time in the academy can be maximised.

Ella Robertson Mckay (Safeguarding Link Governor)

Ella is the Managing Director of One Young World, a UK charity which serves as a global forum for young leaders. Ella oversees the annual One Young World Summit which has taken place in nine different cities across the world, from Bangkok to Bogota. Ella is the co-author of "How To Make A Difference" - the authoritative handbook to activism. Alongside this, Ella is the Co-Founder of the Sino-German Initiative, an investment vehicle with a charitable arm which aims to increase the business and cultural relationships between Germany and China. Ella read English Literature at Balliol College Oxford and began a law training contract with a Magic Circle firm before changing track and pursuing a career in the third sector. She was on the Scottish International Debating team and lives in Marylebone.

Helen Symonds (Finance Link Governor)

Helen has a Honours degree in Economics and Economic History and is a Chartered Financial Planner. In her 20s she taught English in Germany and the Far East and has played various training roles within Financial Planning during her career. Having recently retired after 30 years in Financial Services, she wishes to bring her deeply held belief that education and knowledge are the key to a successful person, family, economy and society.  In the late 1960s her Primary School could not attract teachers and therefore  from age 8 to 11 her classes were either part time, or crowd based in a hall. This left her very unprepared in the basics however on reaching senior school half a dozen very good teachers who she can still name and visualise (40+years later) meant she could catch up and thrive. It was truly life changing and having witnessed its importance, she brings with her an enthusiasm to help a school and children thrive.

Rob Wood 

Rob Wood was previously the Cabinet Member for Children and Families and as a strong family-oriented person, knows the importance of keeping our young people safe and wishes to ensure they have the best possible opportunity to develop to their full potential.

Rob was a Portsmouth City Councillor from 2010 to 2022 and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children and Education since 2011, Cabinet Member for Children and Education between 2011-14 and Chair of Governance and Audit in 2010. He has a vested interest in improving education outcomes, as both grandchildren (and children) attended local authority schools. He has contributed to the LGiU paper on the "Middle-Tier" role in delivering Education and the local authority's role within this and has chaired and spoken at several national seminars on the subject of Education.

He became a Governor at Charter because he was keen to help and understand how to ensure both Academies and LA schools could work together to ensure the best outcomes for all our Portsmouth pupils and to help to ensure that  Portsmouth pupils to have the brightest future possible.

Fiona Chapman (Principal)

Fiona has enjoyed a diverse and far-reaching career in both worldwide shipping and following that education. Graduating from Nottingham University in 1995 she pursued a career in the City of London as a Marine Underwriter for a lead shipping syndicate at Lloyd’s of London. Following five engaging and fulfilling years in the corporate world teaching as a career refused to relinquish its hold! A career change was made to the education sector. Driven largely by a desire to challenge and change the status quo that exists in education for disadvantaged children Fiona’s career has been almost solely in demographic regions where need for teachers who are committed to raising standards / aspirations is highest. Despite a career break to adopt older children she has a sustained, proven track record, at all levels of implementing change, raising standards and invigorating outlooks for the most challenging schools. Fiona does not see socio-economic disadvantage as a barrier to achievement but rather seeks to ensure all pupils are encouraged to develop the skills of resilience, grit and determination to succeed.

Governors Declarations of Interest can be found here:   Charter Governor Declarations of Interest

Meetings attendance for governors can be found here: Meetings-ArkCharterAcademy 2020-21.pdf

All appointments are made by the Ark 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.