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

Charlotte Foulston

Sharon Hinkson

Denise Omard

Anne Powell – Chair

Sabrina Reilly

Gemma Sant

Julie Taylor

Margaret Upama



Graham Clifford – Head, Lammas

A published poet, Graham began his teaching career in 2003, with his school leadership roles beginning in 2009. Graham initially joined Willow Brook in 2014, was appointed Head of School in Summer 2015, and is now Head of Lammas School & Sixth Form. Graham has a career to date that includes extensive school improvement and development and he has an absolute commitment to driving forward improvements in provision for all children. His work in the field of CPD illustrates his commitment to the ethos that investment in staff is vital.


Justin Creasey

Justin has leadership experience in primary and secondary schools as a Head, Executive Head and School Improver. A maths specialist, he has a keen interest in pedagogy and curriculum innovation and since joining GST, he has worked with schools to make sustainable step changes in outcomes and to speed their journeys to Griffin Great. Justin believes in developing ambitious and dynamic learning cultures by creating inspiring environments, where everyone feels a sense of belonging and pride. A former professional dancer and musician, Justin plays the French horn with a London Wind Band and a semi-professional London Orchestra.


Sharon Hinkson

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

Denise is the mother of a former Riverley Pupil. 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.


Sabrina Reilly – Head of School for Riverley

Sabrina began her teaching career in Ireland and was then delighted to join the Riverley team when she relocated to the UK. Sabrina has nurtured talent by leading the Griffin NQT programme for the past three years, enabling newly qualified teachers to become confident practitioners. Many of her mentees are now taking up leadership roles, having benefited from being part of this dynamic learning community. Sabrina’s determination that the needs of every child should inform all decisions, have led her to develop the curricular and extra-curricular opportunities that define a Griffin Great school.


Gemma Sant- Executive Head, Riverley and Willow Brook

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, and is now Executive Head of Riverley and Willow Brook. 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

Julie Taylor has been employed media for over 20 years where she has worked with photography professionals and magazine editors. Her 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. 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 led her to become a Governor.


Margaret Upama

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



Address of Chair:

Willow Brook Primary, Church Road, Leyton, London, E10 7BH


Supplemental Funding Agreement

Griffin Schools Trust latest Annual Report and Financial Statements

Griffin Schools Trust Articles of Association

Griffin Schools Trust Memorandum of Association

Register of Business/Pecuniary Interests

Board Members’ Attendance