Welcome from Professor Lucie Green, Chair of Governors

As Chair of Governors of The UCL Academy I am delighted to be part of a school that is providing new and exciting educational opportunities for our students. The vision of the Governing Body is that each child will fulfil their potential and become a confident and articulate citizen, and that our staff are supported to flourish in their careers. We are part of the Camden family of schools and as such seek to support the whole borough.

University College London (UCL) was founded on principles of equality and access to education for all.  Today, the wider UCL and The UCL Academy family are able to work together to build on these principals. In addition, areas such as curriculum development, academic excellence and careers advice all benefit from a broad range of activities that are run between The UCL Academy and UCL. We are exploring new ways for universities and schools to collaborate in order to improve the outcomes for all our students and provide a rewarding environment for all our staff to work in.

I welcome any comments or enquiries from parents and can be contacted via the Clerk to the Governors through the Academy reception: [email protected] 

About the Governing Body

The Governing Body of The UCL Academy is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Academy, holding the Co-Principals to account for the educational performance of students and performance of staff, and overseeing the financial performance of the Academy and ensuring its money is well spent.

Governors serve a term of four years and subject to remaining eligible to be a particular type of governor, any governor may be re-appointed or re-elected. It is made up of up to ten UCL sponsor-appointed governors, one co-principal, two parent governors, two staff governors and one local authority representative from Camden Council.

The Governing Body meets five times per year. The following committees also meet a minimum of three times per year, to provide further focus on key strategic areas of the Academy:

  • Admissions
  • Finance, Audit and Risk
  • Staffing
  • Curriculum and Standards

For the Academy Trust’s Scheme of Delegation, click here.

Please also see the Academy Trust’s Funding Agreement and Articles of Association

Governing Body meeting minutes are available upon request. 

Governors on the Governing Body:

Professor Lucie Green – Chair of Governors, appointed January 2018, member of the Governing Body since September 2009. Member of the Finance and Audit Committee 

Lucie is a Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics, where she studies activity in the atmosphere of our nearest star, the Sun. Her commitment to education in the widest sense is the reason she became a governor at the UCL Academy. She believes that education of the highest quality should be available to all and that universities should engage with their communities to support younger learners.

Mr Simon McBride Co-Principal


 Julia Balfour-Lynn Sponsor Appointed from 1 February 2022 for a four year term.

Julia is a Solicitor who lives locally and is a graduate of UCL. She worked for many years in private practice as a fraud litigation Partner in a City law firm. She then became the firm’s Managing Partner with responsibility for driving financial performance, business development, people management, and the firm’s corporate social responsibility programme. Since leaving her role, she has been active in the third sector, volunteering with various charitable organisations helping unemployed and disadvantaged individuals (many of them young people) to get into work. 

Kitty Benzecry Sponsor Appointed from 1 February 2022 for a four year term. 

Kitty is a Management Consultant at Deloitte, working mainly to help Public Sector organisations to navigate their most pressing challenges, develop strategies for the future and implement change. At Deloitte she is also a Mental Health First Aider, trained in giving advice to others around wellbeing. She is responsible for running initiatives for, and providing support to over 500 people. Kitty has a BA in Economics from Exeter University and prior to joining Deloitte taught Science at a secondary school in East London. In her spare time, she is the mentor for a young carer. Kitty is passionate about whole child education, believing that all children should have equal access to great teachers who believe in giving children the necessary skills to become a well-rounded individual.

Ms Fjolle Bunjaku – Co-Opted Governor; Member of the Curriculum and Standards Committee; Member of the Academy’s Health and Safety / Premises Committee; Health and Safety / Premises Link Governor; Appointed February 2019  

Fjolle is a Project Manager with Network Rail, the owner and maintainer of the UK’s railways. Fjolle has worked on large infrastructure projects such as High Speed 2 and Crossrail. Most recently, Fjolle is working on the King’s Cross project, working to improve connectivity between trains and increase capacity on the London North Eastern route. In her work within the rail industry, Fjolle aims to encourage industry engagement with schools interested in forming networks with STEM employers. Fjolle is committed to ensuring that pupils have a safe environment to study. Fjolle grew up in the Swiss Cottage area and attended school nearby. She is passionate about providing all students with equal opportunities to achieve a broad and holistic education. Fjolle is particularly interested in ensuring that students from diverse backgrounds feel empowered to achieve their full potential.

Ms Helen Connor – Sponsor-Appointed Governor; Member of the Finance and Audit Committee; Year 7 Transition Link Governor; Appointed December 2015

Helen is the head teacher of Rhyl, a primary School in the London Borough of Camden. She has previously been a head teacher of two successful inner city primary schools in London with strong practice in the area of inclusion and special educational needs. She is attracted to the academy’s innovative approach to the curriculum and progressive teaching methods and has a particular interest in supporting the academy to enable all students to explore a career path which is individually designed so they can reach their future potential.

Mr Ajith Das Sponsor Appointed Governor; Member of Finance, Audit and Risk Committee; Appointed February 2022.

Ajith Das is the Head of EU Engineering Planning & Automation with Amazon Transportation system. His team is responsible for the project delivery of engineering infrastructure for the middle mile network of Amazon in the EU. Prior to this he has also worked as an engineer in the Oil & Gas industry. Ajith has done his Bachelor of Technology from India and Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Columbia University, New York.  Ajith has experience of strategic leadership, operations management, change management, financial planning  and organisational growth. Coming from a family with three generations of educators, Ajith is passionate about holistic education with a focus on skill sets required to lead a happy and successful life.

Councillor Alison Kelly – Local Authority Governor; Chair of the Staffing Committee; Member of the Finance and Audit Committee; Safeguarding Link Governor; Appointed September 2013

Alison has been a governor at the UCL Academy since 2013, nominated by Camden Council. Alison is a councillor in Camden, where she chairs the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee. Alison was employed in senior roles in public bodies for many years, working with families with children with special needs, managing all services to children and young people in an inner London borough and then in the Audit Commission where she became Head of Governance. Before becoming an education officer, Alison worked with the government, the Open University and CIPFA on developing materials for school governors. She also had a weekly column in the Times Education Supplement for several years. Alison has always lived in Camden and has chaired various Camden schools, including secondary, primary, special and nursery schools. Alison is an active trustee of a human rights charity and of a national institute for group psychotherapy. Alison is a devoted and adoring grandparent.

Ms Jessica Learmond-Criqui Sponsor-Appointed Governor; Member of the Staffing Committee; Member of the Admissions Committee; HR/Recruitment Link Governor; Appointed July 2012

Jessica has served on the Governing Body of the UCL Academy since September 2012. As a mother of two young children, one of whom is about to enter secondary education, Jessica is interested in the education system and the link between the ability to develop children to reach their maximum potential through education and the realisation of their career and lifetime goals and aspirations. She is passionate about securing high standards of achievement across all areas of the curriculum and in the provision of an enriched and inclusive education for all while exploring the particular advantages which UCL as a sponsor can bring to the Academy. Jessica is a solicitor specialising in employment and business immigration.

Mr David MacBrayne – Staff Governor – Teaching; Member of the Curriculum and Standards Committee; Member of Staffing Committee; Equalities Link Governor; Staff Voice Link Governor; Appointed September 2019  

Ms Michelle McCalden – Parent Governor; Member of the Admissions Committee; Parental Link and Communications Link Governor; Appointed September 2018

Michelle is a parent of a Level 1 student at The UCL Academy as well as a younger child currently attending nursery at a local primary school. She enjoys taking part in the vast array of local community events on offer around Swiss Cottage and is keen to help further strengthen the communication link between the parents of students and the Academy. With strong and clear channels of communication for both parents and teachers to provide feedback and information to one another; our children at the school will be able to excel and feel ever prouder of their school and their own personal achievements. Similarly, teachers will feel better supported by parents in their teaching goals and parents will feel more involved in the learning and all around personal development experiences of their children.

Elshaymaa Molokhia – Parent Governor; Member of the Curriculum and Standards Committee; Pastoral and Student Wellbeing Link Governor; Appointed November 2020.

Elshaymaa is a parent of four children, three of which currently attend The UCL Academy (Levels 3, 2 and 1). The fourth child graduated from The UCL Academy last year and is now continuing his studies at university. Elshaymaa is an art teacher with both BA and MA degrees in Fine Arts and a PGCE in teaching. She has taught art at Richmond College and has also worked as a PR consultant at UNESCO.
Elshaymaa is passionate about education and has gained extensive experience as a governor in Camden schools over the past 14 years. She has held the positions of Chair and   Vice-chair of the Governing Board at Beckford Primary School and Vice-chair of the Governing Board at Haverstock Secondary School. Elshaymaa supported both schools through 3 successful Ofsted inspections and 3 successful headship appointments. Elshaymaa believes that the key to providing our students at The UCL Academy with a unique, world-class education is effective and collaborative working relationships between stakeholders; sponsor, trustees, governors, staff, parents, students and the local community.

Mr Gregory SmithSponsor-Appointed Governor; Member of the Curriculum and Standards Committee; Member of the Admissions Committee; SEND Link Governor; Appointed February 2019

Gregory became a governor at The UCL Academy after having lived nearby for the past few years and in wanting to contribute to the excellent Academy. Gregory is a civil servant in Westminster, and spends most of his time focused on Government regulations. Gregory has a strong interest in data analysis, and hopes that his skill set will bring value to the Governing Board, and the school.

Mr Matthew Swales – Sponsor-Appointed Governor; Vice Chair of the Governing Body; Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee; Finance and Risk Link Governor; Appointed September 2016

Matthew is the Director of Finance for Services & Reporting at University College London (UCL), leading a team of around 100 in the delivery of a full range of financial operations and advisory functions. Prior to joining UCL, Matthew was Group Head of Finance at London Business School and his early career included 10 years with the private organisation responsible for delivering the 2012 Olympic Games. Matthew is a chartered accountant, a sponsor appointed governor and currently Chair of the Academy’s Finance and Audit Committee.

Mr Mark Quinn Sponsor-Appointed Governor; Member of the Staffing Committee; Staff Wellbeing and Development Link Governor; Appointed July 2018.

Mark was born and grew up in Northern Ireland and, after three years working at the University of Gdansk in Poland, moved to England in 1994 to become a History teacher. Mark taught in schools in London and Essex for 22 years, taking on roles such as Head of Sixth Form and Assistant Headteacher for staff development, and studying for the National Professional Qualification for Headship and a Masters in Education. Mark undertook associate work for Middlesex University (school-based Masters) and London Metropolitan University (teacher training) before joining the Institute of Education at UCL full time in 2017. He now mainly works on middle leadership and research and development programmes, largely in London schools. Mark is a founding member and Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. When not working or spending time with his family, Mark likes to write fiction. His first novel was published in 2016.

Ms Caroline HoldingSupport Staff Governor; appointed 2021.

For Governing Body parent updates 2019/20 click here, for 2020/21 click here

For the Governing Body Meeting Attendance in 2020-21, please click here.

Members of the Academy Trust

Members of the Academy Trust are appointed by the sponsor, UCL (University College London). The role of the Academy Trust Members is distinct from those of the Governors; they do not play a role in the strategic direction or day to day management of the Academy, but they have responsibility for a small number of significant decisions, as detailed in the Memorandum and Articles of Association, primarily to ensure the accountability of the Governing Body. The Chair of Governors is a member of the Academy Trust, as stipulated in the Academy’s Articles of Association. 

The Academy Trust members meets bi-annually with the governors, and the current members are:

  • Professor Anthony Smith – Chair of the Academy Trust (appointed 2 February 2015)
  • Professor Lucie Green (appointed 9 January 2018)
  • Dr Clare Goudy (appointed 2 February 2015)
  • Professor Norbert Pachler (appointed 3 July 2018)
  • Dr Sam Smidt (appointed 2 July 2019)

For the Register of Interests of current Governors and members of the Academy Trust click here.

The following governors left the governing board at the end of their term of Office.

Ewan Labrom – 31 August 2021
Errol Simpson – 31 August 2021
Deb Thomas – 30 September 2021
Penny Longman – 8 January 2022
Jade Huang – 25 January 2022