Our Governors

As a federation we have a single governing board covering eight schools, with an individual local advisory board for each school. One of the underpinning principles of the Primary Advantage Federation is to ‘promote a collaborative approach whilst developing the capacity of each school to serve its own community and retain its distinct identity.’ The structure of the current Governing Board ensures decisions can be made at local advisory board level and the local advisory boards can closely monitor the work in their school.

Annual Governance Statement

It is also good practice for the board to publish an annual governance statement to explain how it has fulfilled its responsibilities – particularly in relation to its core functions. To view our Annual Governance Statement for 2017-18, please click here.

To view our attendance for the Central Governing Board, please click here.

To view our Declaration of Interests, please click here.

To view our achived Declaration of Interests, please click here.


Name Role
John Clark Chair - Foundation
Sian Davies Executive Principal
Gwen Gutzmore LDBS
Donna Thomas Local Authority
Anna Case Staff
Arnette Frederick Foundation
Andrew Bedford Foundation
Rev'd Graham Hunter Foundation
Ralph Eliot Foundation
Heather Rockhold Foundation
Melissa McIntyre Parent
Nina Pope Parent
Bridget Fagan Foundation
Francesca Vinelott Foundation
Rob Adediran Foundation

Our Governor Biogs

Robert Adediran              Foundation              Bishop of Stepney              

Rob Adediran is Executive Director at the award-winning education charity London Music Masters. In parallel he has been a faculty member at the Verbier Festival and chair of the strategy board for the Lambeth Music Education Hub. Currently, Rob serves on advisory groups for several of the UK’s leading arts organisations. His public speaking engagements focus on diversity, innovation, education and leadership.  Rob is a Hackney resident and member of St John the Baptist Church.

Andrew Bedford              Foundation              Bishop of Stepney              Chair of the Business Committee / Finance Link Governor

Andrew has lived in Hackney for 20 years and has two children at St John and St James. He attends St John at Hackney Church and has led the children’s work at the church for the last couple of years and serves on the Parochial Church Council. Andrew has spent the last 25 years working in the voluntary and public sector and is currently the Head of Parks for Islington Council. Andrew cares about how schools give children a joy and passion for learning and supports them in becoming good citizens. Andrew is also passionate about the role the natural world can play in supporting learning.

Anna Case              Staff

Anna has been working within the Primary Advantage Federation since 2009 and have been a Staff Governor for the last 2 years. Anna has worked in education for the last seven years as a teacher and in a senior leadership role. Anna brings a lot of relevant and valuable experience to the governing board. Anna is an Assistant Head teacher at Springfield Community Primary School, where her role focuses on leading Mathematics and Assessment. Her position within school, gives her a thorough understanding of teaching and learning, assessment and the curriculum. Anna also work across the federation with our Teaching School, delivering training on phonics and assessment to teachers from a range of boroughs. Anna is passionate about education and feels that as a Staff Governor her experience can be of service to our pupils, parents and staff.

John Clark                Chair of the Central Governing Board

John’s working life has been in education, initially in a further education college then in higher education.  He taught leadership, change management and research methods in a Business School and held a senior post managing research staff and students.  John still supervises a small number of doctoral candidates.   When his daughter attended a Camden school John became active as a governor and then chaired the Governing Body for many years, working with two Headteachers.  This led to him becoming a National Leader of Governance and External Reviewer of Governance.  In these roles he has advised a number of governing bodies, chairs and Headteachers and for a period was a Chair at a secondary school in difficulty. 

Ralph Eliot                  Foundation

Ralph is a management consultant, having previously held similar roles in finance and consulting. Having studied Mathematics at university and spent several years as a financial analyst, Ralph is an experienced problem solver, and is comfortable performing financial and commercial due diligence at the highest level. Ralph is also CFA Level 2 qualified.

Ralph has always been interested having a positive impact through education. For several years he volunteered for the Social Mobility Foundation, helping to review and provide feedback for the university applications of students who are often the first from their family to even consider higher education. More recently, alongside conventional tutoring, Ralph has volunteered for the Insight Outreach programme, a charity that involves mentoring a group of high achieving individuals from lower income backgrounds to help them to succeed in their applications to Oxbridge.

Bridget Fagan              Foundation              Deanery Synod

Bridget has worked in education since graduating from the University of Sussex. Her passion for teaching developed while working as an Adult Literacy volunteer. Following a primary PGCE in London, she taught in Essex and Tower Hamlets, spending 22 years as a deputy and Headteacher.  During this time, she spent 2 years in Teacher Training, developing the Local Authority’s partnership with schools, supporting Teacher Education and lecturing on Professional Studies and SEND.  She currently works as a tutor for UCL IoE. Bridget has lived in Hackney for over 30 years with her husband and two sons, where she enjoys playing tennis with Hackney New Age Games!

Gwen Gutzmore              LDBS                       

Gwen trained as a Nurse, then qualified as a State Certified Midwife in 1967. She has worked in a number of midwifery roles including a Clinical Specialist for Delivery Suite before her transition to Midwifery Manager at the Homerton Hospital.

Following her retirement from the National Health Service Gwen became a school Governor in 2006 and was actively involved in the advent of the Primary Advantage Federation of 2 schools progressing to 6 and more recently to 8 schools. She has been Chair of Governors for 6 years. In 2016 she was awarded the St. Mellitus Medal for services to schools and parish over the years. Gwen believes she brings a blend of wisdom, warmth and serenity to the community of schools within the Federation.

Graham Hunter              Foundation              Bishop of Stepney

Revd Graham Hunter has been Vicar of St John’s Church in Hoxton since 2010 after completing his Curacy in Islington. He trained for ordination at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, where he also completed an MA in Pastoral Theology. Before ordination, Graham worked as a Youth Worker and Lay Minister in a UPA parish in Paddington. His first degree was in Theology at King’s College London. Graham has served as a school Governor since 2011. In 2015, he was admitted as Freeman to the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers’ - a City Livery Company with origins in the 14th century and a special interest in education. He serves as Director / Trustee for the Diocese of London, the Hackney Foodbank, and for the Streetlevel Youth Trust. He is married to Sara and they have 3 primary school age children.

Melissa McIntyre              Parent                 

Melissa McIntyre has been recently been appointed as a Parent Governor in April 2017. She is a former pupil of St John & St James Primary School and has over 15 years’ experience within Finance, Legal and the Property industry. With this experience she has developed a strong legal disposition, business acumen and leadership skills which will be beneficial to the governing body. She has a combined Law & Business degree and runs her own Business Consultancy. Melissa also engages in other voluntary roles such as the Anna Fiorentini Film & Theatre School and the Hackney Music Development Trust.

Nina Pope              Parent

Nina is an artist and lecturer who cares passionately about excellent, inclusive education for all – from primary to further education. She is particularly interested in the different ways that people learn and think creatively and how teaching practice can be adapted to best include all students.

Since 2003 Nina has co-directed a small not-for-profit arts organisation known primarily for documentary films and public art. Creating films and projects has allowed her to work in collaboration with people of all ages and diverse backgrounds.

Nina has worked as a part-time lecturer in higher education for over 20 years tutoring MA design students at the Royal College of Art and most recently BA students at Goldsmiths college. This is the first time Nina has been a school governor but she has previously been a trustee for 2 different charities including 'The Friends of Abbey Gardens' - a charity she helped to establish which now run a public ‘harvest garden’ in Newham, which Nina co-designed.

Heather Rockhold              Co-opted Foundation              SEND Link Governor

Heather has been involved in education for over 40 years as a pupil, student, teacher, parent, grandparent and Headteacher, all of which has given her a real insight into educational needs and the entitlement of all pupils to the best possible educational experience.

Heather’s teaching experience covered the entire primary age range and also specialist work with secondary pupils with special and behavioural needs. Until she retired she was a primary school Headteacher in Hackney for twenty years.

For 9 years, Heather was a non-executive director on the Board of the Learning Trust. She has also been a member of several Advisory Committees and an Expert Panel at the DfE on matters such as the review of EYFS, SEND, and the review of the National Curriculum. Heather has an MBA in School Leadership (International).

Donna Thomas              Local Authority              Safeguarding Link Governor

Donna has been a local authority governor on Primary Advantage Federation governing body since 2011 and she has been the Chair of St John and St James local advisory board since 2016. Donna works for London Borough of Hackney Education Department within the Early Years service at Hackney Learning Trust. Donna is committed to supporting good educational outcomes for all children irrespective of their background or starting point.

Frankie Vinelott              Foundation              Deanery Synod              Health and Safety Link Governor

Frankie has had a varied career, starting in the theatre before spending 4 years in Asia and Australia. This led to a degree in Japanese as a mature student followed by 3 years living and working in rural Japan in a local Board of Education. On returning to the UK, Frankie started working in IT and for the past 15 years she has worked in the data and analytics area.

Franke firmly believes her education gave her the foundation of opportunity, ambition and critically, choice in the possibilities that she has sought or that have been offered to her and that a good, all round education based on excellent teaching, high expectation, rewarding achievement, firm boundaries and mutual respect and kindness is essential for all children from all backgrounds as an enabler of life opportunities and personal ambition.

Frankie sat on the board of governors for Gainsborough Primary School for 6 years and have held the position of Chair of the Finance and Resource Committee and Vice-Chair of the governing board for the last 2 years.

Frankie’s interests include open water swimming, tennis, yoga and martial arts. I was part of the UK Kendo Ladies team for 5 years and participated in 2 world championships. I also love gardening and grow a significant proportion of my own food.

Our Local Advisory Boards

Each school within the Primary Advantage Federation has a Local Advisory Board that meets meets regularly to support the Headteacher and Executive Principal in making strategic decisions that will improve outcomes for pupils. The Local Advisory Board meet regularly to support and challenge the school to continue to provide children with a high quality education.

They look at outcomes for all pupils across our schools and look at how well our children are doing compared to children nationally. They also receive finance reports, health and safety reports, curriculum reports and help the school to make decisions that will benefit our school community. Our Local Advisory Boards are made up of Staff, Parent and Community Members:

De Beauvoir Primary School

Bridget Fagan                  Governor – Foundation                 Deanery Synod                      Chair of Local Advisory Board

Bridget joined the De Beauvoir Governing Body in November 2015. She has been a primary school teacher and Head Teacher in Tower Hamlets for many years. In that role, Bridget had high expectations of what a school can offer for its pupils and families, and of what can be achieved through that home school partnership. Bridget believes in awakening pupils’ thirst for learning by providing great learning opportunities for all, through a stimulating curriculum with high expectations of success. She is now a Primary Teacher Training tutor for the UCL Institute of Education. Bridget’s children were primarily educated in Hackney. Now, as a resident with experience in community schools, she is keen to contribute to the success for children in De Beauvoir School.

Gareth McCartney          Local Advisory Board Member

Gareth joined the De Beauvoir Local Advisory Board in October 2017. He has spent all of his working life (c. 17 years) in investment banking and is currently a Managing Director at UBS. Having two young children about to enter the education process has catalysed Gareth’s strong interest in the school system. Gareth’s work with the school will be focused on finance but he looks forward to engaging in a wide range of topics. Gareth is committed to working with the broader De Beauvoir LAB team to optimise the outcomes available to all children attending the school.

Jean Charles                  Local Advisory Board Member

Jean was a governor at De Beauvoir for past twelve years and is now a member of the Local Advisory Board. Jean is a committed person who is passionate about education and improving children’s lives. She believes that having high expectations for all children is very important in their school lives. At present Jean is working as a teaching assistant in a primary school. She am committed to team building and work alongside colleagues to ensure De Beauvoir becomes a good school.

Hilary Ryan                    Local Advisory Board Member

Hilary was a member of De Beauvoir’s governing body for two years and was pleased to be asked to be a member of the Local Area Board. She is very experienced in school improvement work and have also worked as a headteacher. Hilary currently works for Hackney Learning Trust as a Leadership and Management Adviser.

Kathryn Lowrie              Local Advisory Board Member

Kathryn Roe                   Local Advisory Board Member


Gainsborough Primary School

Layla Conway                Local Advisory Board Member

Varda Lassman             Local Advisory Board Member

Andrew Leckenby         Local Advisory Board Member

Gazala Malijee               Local Advisory Board Member


Holy Trinity CE Primary School

Gwen Gutzmore                     Governor – LDBS                         Chair of the Local Advisory Board

Gwen trained as a Nurse, then qualified as a State Certified Midwife in 1967. She has worked in a number of midwifery roles including a Clinical Specialist for Delivery Suite before her transition to Midwifery Manager at the Homerton Hospital. Following her retirement from the National Health Service Gwen became a school Governor in 2006 and was actively involved in the advent of the Primary Advantage Federation of 2 schools progressing to 6 and more recently to 8 schools. She has been Chair of Governors for 6 years. In 2016 she was awarded the St. Mellitus Medal for services to schools and parish over the years. Gwen believes she brings a blend of wisdom, warmth and serenity to the community of schools within the Federation.

Heather Thomas                    Local Advisory Board Member

Heather is a solicitor specialising in children law and have sat on Holy Trinity’s Local Advisory Board as an member since January 2015.

Aaron Webb                           Local Advisory Board Member

Aaron has worked at Holy Trinity for 2 years and is responsible for the IT strategy across the school. Aaron has worked in Education in Hackney since 2008 and supported schools, nurseries, children’s centres, museums and professional football teams on implementing technology to enhance teaching and learning and develop opportunities for young people. He also deliver Keynote presentations at education events across the world.

Fran Pearson                         Local Advisory Board Member

Laura Fawcett                        Local Advisory Board Member


Morningside Primary School 

Heather Rockhold                      Governor – Co-opted Foundation                        Chair of the Local Advisory Board

Heather has been involved in education for over forty years. Heather’s teaching experience has covered the entire primary age range and specialist work with secondary pupils. Until Heather retired she was a primary school Headteacher in Hackney for twenty years. She has also been a member of several Advisory Committees at the DfE. As well as being Chair of the Local Advisory Board at Morningside, she is also the school’s governor representative on the Central Governing Board of the Primary Advantage Federation. Heather is the link governor for Equalities, Curriculum Provision and Assessment. This means she visits the school and ask staff questions about how well children are doing in these areas and if there are any concerns that need to be reported to the Local Advisory Board. Heather also reports successes and achievements of which there are many.

Sally Glen                         Local Advisory Board Member

Sally has lived in Hackney for nearly forty years. She is an academic and has held a number of Executive Management posts. In Sally’s early career she trained as a Children’s’ Nurse and has an interest in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Sally is a Non-Executive Director at West London Mental Health Trust, a Trustee of Bridge Mental Health, a Samaritan and Child Line Volunteer and a child mentor for Chance UK. She is a lay member of City and Hackney Safeguarding Board. Sally is a link governor for Special Educational Needs and Disability and also for Safeguarding and Looked After Children. She regularly meets with the School’s pastoral team to ensure the needs of the children are being met.

Jane Betsworth                Local Advisory Board Member

Jane has worked in Hackney as a teacher, and more recently as the Headteacher in a local Hackney primary school for 25 years. She is Community Governor with responsibility for reporting back to the Morningside Board meeting on the following: Admissions, Sports Funding, Finance and traded Services and Early Years Provision. Jane visits the school regularly to meet with the various members of staff responsible for these areas of the school, and offer challenge and support.

Jo Stonehouse                  Local Advisory Board Member

Jo has worked in Hackney as a teacher for the last 12 years. She is currently Deputy Head Teacher at Morningside Primary School. Both of Jo’s children have attended Hackney primary and secondary schools. She has experience of governance at three Hackney primary schools. Jo has been a member of staff at Morningside Primary School for 4 years and have taught in KS1 and KS2. She is responsible for teaching and learning across the school, the wider curriculum, assessment and reporting arrangements, and mentoring student teachers and NQTs.

Melanie Venables               Local Advisory Board Member


Springfield Community School

Nina Pope                           Governor – Parent                           Chair of the Local Advisory Board

Anna Case                          Governor – Staff                              Local Advisory Board Member

Anna has worked at Springfield for 6 years and have taught in KS1 and KS2. She is one of the Assistant Head Teachers and is responsible for teaching and learning in maths. Anna also works as part of our Teaching School, leading on teaching early reading and embedding the use of ‘The Fundamentals’, our assessment tool.

Alex Eastwood Local Advisory Board Member

Alex and been a member on the Board since October 2016. My daughter, Bella, is in Year 1.

Bilal Batha                         Local Advisory Board Member

Bilal has over 4 years School Governor experience at a local primary school in Hackney and have worked in education services for over 5 years. Bilal is also a former pupil of the school when it was known as Craven Park!

St John & St James CE Primary School

Donna Thomas                  Governor – Local Authority                        Chair of Local Advisory Board

Donna is the link governor for safeguarding/LAC, SEN & Inclusion. Donna works in the local authority education service. Her professional background is in early year’s.

Chanchanok Poolvoralaks                      Local Advisory Board Member

Chanchanok currently works for a law firm. She has a BA in Jurisprudence (Law), and works primarily in corporate finance law. Chanchanok has some experience working for a school before, and because of her strong interest in education, she was introduced to St John & St James’ through the community work that my law firm does. Chanchanok feels blessed to be working with such a dedicated team at St John & St James’.

Nada Mensah                 Local Advisory Board Member

Nada’s role as a LAB member is Community Engagement Link member. She has been a Local Advisory Board member since 2014. Nada’s children are currently in year 4 and year 7; having recently left SJSJ.

Andrew Bedford            Governor – Foundation Bishop of Stepney                  Local Advisory Board Member

Andrew has lived in Hackney for 20 years and has two children at St John and St James’. Andrew attends St John at Hackney Church and have led the children’s work at the church for the last couple of years. She also serves on the Parochial Church Council. Andrew has spent the last 25 years working in the voluntary and public sector and is currently the Head of Parks for Islington Council. He cares about how schools give children a joy and passion for learning and supports them in becoming good citizens. Andrew is also passionate about the role the natural world can play in supporting learning.

Rev. Mark Nelson           Local Advisory Board Member

St John the Baptist CE Primary School

Amy Gray                       Acting Chair of the Local Advisory Board

Amy lives in Hackney and am a member of St John at Hackney Church; she is happy to serve as the church school link member to ensure that the school has a strong Christian ethos and that the children are learning about Christianity and other faiths. Amy first moved to Hackney over a decade ago when she was an English teacher at the then Skinners’ Company’s School for Girls, and feels that that experience also helps me to understand the hard work our teachers put in to do the best for our children every day. Amy is really proud to have been on the Local Advisory Board for five years now and to have seen the amazing improvements the school has made – culminating in our well-deserved outstanding Ofsted rating.

Larre Olajide                  Local Advisory Board Member

Larre has two daughters in year 6 and a son in year 1. He gets to view and have a say in the running of the school from a parent’s perspective. Larre has helped and seen SJB Primary School grow into an outstanding school in London within six years and want to help in it becoming even more conducive for learning both within the classrooms and without. It is an honour to work with the incredible staff here for the future of our kids. Larre works with HMRC and play on the Civil Service Chess and Volleyball teams.

Georgia Habanananda              Local Advisory Board Member

Georgia is committed to all children receiving the best education, (academically, spiritually and holistically), which is why she wanted to be a part of the Local Advisory Board, as Staff Representative. Georgia has worked at St John the Baptist for over 10 years and have been fortunate to have worked and learned alongside hard-working and professional staff members. She has the opportunity to have a number of roles across the school, from class teacher to management and have taught in all Key Stages, including the Early Years. Currently, Georgia is the Special Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and part of the Senior Management Team. Georgia is passionate about our inclusive, creative curriculum.’

Revd Graham Hunter            Governor – Foundation

Rev. Graham is a Vicar of St John’s Church, Hoxton which is connected to the Primary School. As such, he serves as Foundation Governor for the Federation, as well as on the Local Area Board. Graham has three children who attend the primary school, and also serves as Trustee / Director of several charities including the Street level Youth Trust; the Hackney Foodbank and the Diocese of London.’

Akello Umurhohwo          Local Advisory Board Member

Akello has been on the Board for 4 years. She has two daughters, one in Year 1 and one in Year 4. SJB has made amazing strides in progress and Akello wants to continue striving for the very best for all children at SJB. She loves day trips with my family and learning new things about the world we live in. Akello is a Consultant and provide Local Councils with advice on Complaints and various procedures.’

Imogen Davis                  Local Advisory Board Member

Imogen works for Place2Be, the children’s mental health charity, and is also involved with the Haberdasher’s Company. Imogen believes passionately that all children should receive excellent education and that education should not solely focus on academic achievement, but rather all areas of a child’s growth and development. She is particularly interested in how schools support the emotional well-being of their pupils, ensuring that they can thrive and flourish. Imogen joined the Local Advisory Board in the Summer of 2017 and is very much looking forward to getting to know the St John community and being a part of what is clearly a thriving school.’

Sri Bhattacharyy                    Local Advisory Board Member

Rob Adediran                        Local Advisory Board Member


St Matthias CE Primary School

Arnette Frederick              Governor – Foundation                    Chair of the Local Advisory Board

Arnette was elected four years ago and has a son in year 6 and was a Company Director for 5 years.

Janet Ashdown                  Local Advisory Board Member

Janet has been on the Local Advisory Board at St Matthias for 5 years and prior to that was a Governor at a Primary School in Tottenham for 10 years. She is now a Non-Executive Director with 30+ years’ experience in business and Chair of ‘Hope In Tottenham’ – a charity supporting young people locally.

Paul Clarkson                     Local Advisory Board Member

Paul lives in Dalston and St Matthias is the closest Hackney school to his home. Paul has worked in child, adolescent and family mental health, as well as having over twelve years’ experience in the public sector for children with special educational and additional needs. Paul volunteers and participate in my local ParkRun, and his other interests include making Art, yoga and gardening.

Toni Mason                        Local Advisory Board Member

Sheryl Payne                    Local Advisory Board Member

Sheryl was a parent governor for four years, and is now a part of the LAB. Sheryl has two children in Year 6. She is also the PTA Secretary and a Reading Mentor in the school.

Fr David Lambert             Local Advisory Board Member

Fr. David has been the St Matthias Church Parish Priest for almost ten years.

Contact Details

The Chair of the Federated Governing Body, Louis Coiffait can be contacted in writing or email at the following address:


Chair of the Federated Governing Body,
Primary Advantage c/o Holy Trinity CE Primary School

C/O Holy Trinity Primary School
Beechwood Road
E8 3DY

Tel: 020 7254 1010

What is a Federation?

A federation is a group of two or more schools that have made a formal commitment to work together under a single governing body. This enables the schools in the federation to:

  • work together efficiently and sustainably to raise standards,
  • improve services and increase opportunities for pupils and staff; and
  • share resources, staff, expertise and facilities.

The legislation that allows schools to federate is set out in regulations made under sections 24 and 25 of the Education Act 2002. The decision to create or join a federation is usually taken by governors, although in some circumstances the local authority can require schools to federate. In recent years, it has become increasingly common for schools to work together in a federation. Some of the other federations in Hackney are:

  • The Horizon and Downsview Federation, which is made up of two special schools
  • The Federation of Grazebrook and Shacklewell Primary Schools which have two schools across the borough.
  • The federation of Orchard and Southwold Schools which have two schools as a Federation and a partnership school.

The benefits of federation

Working together in a federation brings important benefits to Primary Advantage. It means the schools are able to:

  • Share the knowledge , expertise and ideas of individual members of staff
  • Negotiate discounts and deals with suppliers because we are buying for all eight schools instead of just one
  • Provide staff with excellent training and development opportunities within our federation such as:
    • Assesstival (a Festival of Assessment, an INSET day centred around Assessment and Deep Learning.)
    • Working with other teachers across all schools


Leadership of our Federation

The Leadership

All of our schools share the same governing body and Executive Principal, while each school has it’s own Headteacher. 

While the Primary Advantage Schools work together very closely, they continue to be separate schools. This means that:

  • Each school has its own name, identity, logo and uniform.
  • Pupils stay at the same school site for all their lessons.
  • Hackney Learning Trust considers each school separately when they are processing applications for school places.
  • Ofsted carry out separate inspections of each school.
  • The Department for Education publish separate entries for each school in the performance tables on their website.