Governors Introductions

Chair of the Governing Body

Mr Umesh Shah
I became a Governor at Phoenix Arch School in 2014 and was elected as Chair of the Governing Body in 2018. I am also the Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee. To be a Governor requires commitment and dedication but it is very rewarding and also one of the best ways to get involved in the running of the school. I am a qualified accountant and MBA, with a number of years experience working in blue chip companies in senior roles. I have an excellent track record in leading, coaching and motivating teams. I also run my own Accountancy practice.


Vice Chair of the Governing Body

My name is Valerie Springer. I have been a Governor at Phoenix Arch for four years. A Vice Chair and Vice Curriculum Governor for a year. I love being Governor as it is a privilege to be engaged with this school's day-to-day educational processes, which is the role of the Curriculum Governor.
I am a Senior School Travel Planning Officer, in this position I have an acute awareness of various different types of schools. This knowledge I feel, aids my governorship.


Local Authority Governor

My name is Anita Thakkar, I joined as an elected L.A. Governor in 2018 and I am a serving Councillor for The London Borough of Brent. My background is in social care and I have worked supporting children and adults. I have also been a member of Adoption Family and of The Scrutiny Committee for community and well-being. I am also a member of the Corporate Parenting Committee.
My interest is in supporting the development of children's education and creativity and thus feel pleased with the opportunity to contribute to the school.


Parent Governors

My name is Charlene White. I am a parent governor at Phoenix Arch School. Being a parent here, means that I have a stake in the school and I am passionate about children’s rights to an education. I believe that this should be a meaningful experience for our children, as well as challenging too. I work with the curriculum committee to ensure that the schools staff are providing a balanced approach to achieving good outcomes for our children.


Michelle Sirkett
I have been a School Governor for the past nine years. I started at College Green School, my children’s nursery school at the time. My experience at College Green included both the Finance committee and Curriculum Committee. I was an Associate Governor, Parent Governor, Chair and served on various Disciplinary/Appeal panels for other Brent Schools. I was with College Green for about 5-6 years. I joined the Phoenix Arch Governing body as Parent Governor shortly after my son started at the school. Within the Governing body I have served as a Parent Governor, the Chair and on both Finance and Curriculum committees.


Hello, I'm Anna, and I’ve been a parent governor at Phoenix Arch for the past four years. I’m standing again as a parent governor as I care deeply about the school. As well as being a parent of a child who had attended Phoenix Arch I used to be a teacher, and I also used to run a parent support group for parents with children on the autistic spectrum. In my day job I listen to and support others. I think that what I bring to my role as governor is a good understanding of how schools work, an excitement about how good quality learning can encourage independence, and an ability to look at issues from different points of view. Over the past four years I have developed my knowledge and experience around what being a school governor involves, especially as safeguarding governor. As part of this I recently met with Ofsted, along with other governors, to answer their questions. I am very happy that the school has received such a positive report, reflecting the hard work of staff, governors, and the wonderful children and parents who make up the school. I would like to see where the school could go next: it has already been a very exciting four years!


Staff Governor

I am Marion, Deputy Head at Phoenix Arch. I have been a Governor since 2011 and many of you know me for the work I do to support children and their families. I still have a teaching timetable, which allows me to work with every child in the school over each academic year. This means that I get to know your children very well. I enjoy working at Phoenix Arch and being part of the creative, happy and vibrant community that it is.


Co-Opted Governors

Fr Patrick McLoughlin
I am the parish priest of St Patrick’s Catholic Church right next door to the School and have been on the board of Governors for the past ten years and chair of the Finance Committee for the past three years. The parish and the school work in close collaboration, enabling practical support for parents, teachers and staff who use the church car park. Some of our parishioners volunteer their support within the school.
My Academic background is in Theology, with an MA, from London University; Philosophy, a BD. from London University; and Psychology, a MBTI, from Oxford Psychological Press. These underpin and inform my Pastoral work in the parish, particularly working within a diverse ethnic church of about 500 parishioners. Over the past ten years the school has developed in leaps and bounds to become a holistic learning community, with excellent academic achievements. It is a privilege to be part of this and to contribute, in some small way, to the continuing development of this outstanding school. Ad Multos Annos!


Mr Umesh Shah as above.


My name is Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray. I have lived in Brent for twenty-seven years. I have been a local councillor for over nine years and have spent a similar time as a governor of Vernon House/Phoenix Arch.
As a councillor, I have sat on several committees including Planning, and Chair of Brent Connect. I am currently a member of Alcohol and Licensing. I worked for 15 years as a Registered Care Manager and a Day centre manager working with adults with disabilities.
I have three adult children and three grandchildren. My hobbies include, cooking and entertaining. I have supported the same football club for the past fifty years.
I am totally committed to the pupils and staff of Phoenix Arch school. I am grateful to my colleagues for their confidence in recently appointing me as Chair of the Finance committee.


My name is Gargi Joshi. I have been a Governor at Phoenix Arch for five years. Coming from a financial background, I have a passion for financial efficiency. Supporting the Board of Governors to monitor and evaluate the school policy for value for money, premises maintenance and health & safety are the key skills I bring as a Co-opted governor. Having also been a Co- opted governor I feel privileged to play a part in improving children’s education.