Governance & Funding

Governance is a key element of the leadership and management of the Trust itself and of the schools individually and collectively. Please click here to see our Governance Structure. 



The Trust (itself accountable to DfE) is the body to whom schools are directly accountable. It delegates autonomy to each Local Governing Board/Body (LGB) or School Improvement Board (SIB) according to the Scheme of Delegation.


The Trust Board is made up of experts in UK and international education as well as private sector professionals with a wide range of commercial experience and expertise. In keeping with our vision we also place an emphasis on attracting Trustees who have backgrounds and networks in Sport and the Arts. The Board acts as guardian to the Trust vision, and ensures that progress towards its fulfilment is underpinned with the highest standards of compliance with our regulators so that public funding is very well-used.


Serving as a governor in a GST school requires a commitment to the seven principles of public life and to a code of conduct which puts the school and its pupils at the centre. GST governors meet formally every thirteen weeks (i.e. once every school term) and much of the real work is done between these meetings, through Working Groups and individual contributions to the school’s life according to each governor’s skills and the needs of the school.


The role is very different from that of a governor in a Local Authority school, recognising that the Head is the school’s Chief Executive and the Board is there to advise, support and challenge through appropriate channels and to evidence the impact that governance is having on the school’s progress. As in the world of non-executive directors, GST governors are expected to bring their skills to bear and to work in co-operation and collaboration with the staff team, the whole Local Governing Body and the Trust to bring about rapid and sustained improvement for the pupils they serve.


The Trust is responsible for the appointment, performance management and professional development of the Heads, though the LGB’s work has a vital role to play in highlighting and evidencing the impact that the Head and governors are making through their termly meetings. Through their work in and for the school, governors come to know the school community and to be well-informed about its performance, able to talk about it confidently and accurately to the Trust, to Ofsted, to parents and to interested local groups.


We very much appreciate the work that governors do and the part they play in the success of the schools they serve and indeed of the Trust. We hope that governors find reward in the impact they make on young lives and their individual experience of the living reality of the GST motto: Proud Traditions Wide Horizons High Achievement.


The East London Governing Board is:

Graham Clifford

Justin Creasey

Sharon Hinkson

Denise Omard

Anne Powell

Gemma Sant

Julie Taylor

Margaret Upama



Graham Clifford – Head, Willow Brook

Graham is Head at Willow Brook. Being both a poet and a teacher, Graham first studied Fine Art and Creative Writing before going on to complete his PGCE. Graham’s teaching career has seen him design and run creative writing workshops, teach poetry and introduce children to Modernist, Romantic and Contemporary Poets. Throughout his poetry career, Graham has appeared at a number of festivals and events, had his work translated into Romanian and German, and has one of his poems chiselled into the paving in Walthamstow, East London.


Justin Creasey – Executive Head, Riverley

Justin was appointed Executive Head after moving up through the leadership team since September 2013. His leadership experience across primary schools includes Art and Design, Head of year 6, Assessment and Mathematics Subject Leader. He has a Certificate in Mathematics Specialist Teaching and has a keen interest in school improvement and curriculum innovation. As a former professional dancer and musician, Justin values all areas of achievement including performance art and musical theatre. Currently, Justin plays the French horn and performs with a London Wind Band and a semi-professional London Orchestra. Justin’s interest in early development and child psychology drive his ambition to develop pupil voice throughout all areas of school life. He believes that a GREAT school is a place where every decision made is driven by, and centred around what is best for the children in it.


Sharon Hinkson – Disabled Children and SEN

Sharon is a Medical Secretary within the NHS working for CNWL (Central North West London) in central London. She has been a Governor for many years, starting off as a Parent Governor and is now a Community Governor. As a Mother and Grandmother, Sharon is very passionate about education including Special Education Needs, where she herself has had personal experience. Having had children attend Riverley, Sharon has been able to watch the proud traditions and wide horizons grow from strength to strength. In her spare time, Sharon is a volunteer for many local community groups. She is also a good listener and a keen problem solver. Sharon loves listening and dancing to music.


Denise Omard – English, Early Years Foundation Stage

Denise is the Mother of a child currently at Riverley. As a Governor she believes it is her duty to guide and support the school in their decision making process as well as represent parents to ensure all children receive an outstanding education. She is currently working for the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) which is part of the NHS and has experience as a Projector Trainor for Coutts. When she is not at work, Denise is looking after her daughter, reading or enjoying physical pursuits like Zumba. She is extremely approachable and happy to talk to parents about any concerns or just to say hi.


Anne Powell – Chair

Anne has a long and proud association with Riverley Primary School. She was appointed Head in April 2013 after working there as a teacher and leader for many years. Her leadership experience includes key curriculum and inclusion priorities across all primary key stages. Leading in diverse, inner-city schools was always Anne’s ambition and she has devised innovative approaches to working with hard to reach communities. As a music graduate, she is always looking to promote the arts in education and was proud that Riverley hosted the first Griffin Arts Festival (GAF) in July 2014.


Gemma Sant- Head, Riverley

Gemma began teaching in 2009 and joined the leadership team at Riverley as an Assistant head in 2013. Gemma was then appointed to Deputy Head and further to Head in 2017. Gemma has a keen interest in teaching and learning and has a Masters in Education. She believes that schools should inspire learning in children whilst educating them to grow into independent, confident and accomplished young people. Through her leadership, Gemma is committed to the coaching and professional development of her colleagues paving the way for further progress in the field of education.


Julie Taylor – Community

Julia Taylor has been employed in the media for over 20 years where she has worked with photography professionals and magazine editors. Her honours degree in Communication and Cultural studies with Public Media has helped in assisting Willow Brook and Riverley advertise and promote themselves within local magazines, newspapers and websites. Having a son at Willow Brook prompted her to co-found the Friends of Willow Brook PTA which has now been running successfully for 4 years. The Friends of Willow Brook bring together children, parents and the local community in fun and engaging events such as the summer fairs and winter discos and help community cohesion as well as raising funds for the school. She has also trained in alternative health therapies and has volunteered for ‘Groundwork’ the green spaces charity. Her interest in helping the school become great for all children in the diverse community of Leyton lead her to become a Governor.


Margaret Upama – Vice Chair, Maths and Vulnerable Groups

Margaret is a retired teacher who taught at and was a member of the Senior Leadership Team of Church Mead Infant School and was working at the school when it was rebuilt and became Riverley Primary School. Having been part of Riverley since it opened, Riverley is very close to her heart and she continues as a Governor to develop the school using her experience, skills and knowledge. Margret’s experience ranges from working in Children’s Homes, to teaching in schools, to being a Professional Tutor at the University of East London. Her expertise are in Mathematics, where she holds a Masters Degree in Mathematics Education. Now retired, Margaret enjoys handcrafting, reading and writing.


Humairah Joomun – Clerk

020 8539 4535


Alison Perisic – Hub Operations Manager


Supplemental Funding Agreement

GST Memorandum of Association

GST Articles of Association

Griffin Schools Trust latest Annual Report and Financial Statements

Governor’s Register of Business Interest 2018/19

Governor’s Attendance 2017/18