All Academy governors know what their legal responsibilities are and how these fit in with the responsibilities of the Principal, the Sponsors, the Local Authority and the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. Governors are a crucial part of how schools/academies operate. They play both a supportive role, but also one related to accountability and challenge. As Sponsors of the Academy, the City of London Corporation and City, University of London make up the vast majority of the governing body. There is, however, also representation from the community, staff, parents and the local authority. Governor’s responsibilities are listed in the Academy’s funding agreement.

The City of London Corporation offers us physical support in terms of sponsorship, but equally important are the partnerships we are forming with the schools in the City and with the business world. This Academy is a “business and enterprise” specialist. Our sponsorship allows us to make links with business, draw on the expertise of mentors, and set up work experience opportunities in the City. The links are not just to the financial world, but also through the livery companies to law and accounting. Equally important is our link to City University London which offers another source of expertise and a range of partnership activities. All this is focused on providing our students with additional opportunities and direction, and supporting the regeneration of London boroughs. City, University of London has expended tremendous amounts of time and are committed to the success of our students. We have made strong links with the University and our students benefit from having access to one of the top University’s in the country.

For further information about how to become an Academy governor, then please contact us. If you would like more general information about the role of the governor, then please click on the link below.

Governing Body Meetings

Governor Committee Attendance 2016-17

Governor Committee Attendance 2017-18 Business and Pecuinary Interests of Directors

Governing Body Members

The Full Governing Body consists of the following:

Chair of the Full Governing Body

Professor Richard Verrall

Sponsor City, University of London

Professor Verrall is Professor of Actuarial Statistics at Cass Business School, City, University of London. From 2011 to 2018 he was Vice-President (Strategy and Planning)  for the University, leading on the development and implementation of City’s Strategy and oversees the planning processes within the university. As an academic, his expertise covers the reserving processes which general insurance companies follow to meet their solvency requirements. He was a coauthor of a study which is now used by the legal system to assess the amount of damages that should be awarded for loss of earnings due to an accident. He is Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries.

Deputy Chair of the Full Governing Body

Mr Eamon Martin

Sponsor Governor, City, University of London

Eamon Martin is the Deputy Chair of the Academy’s Governing Body. He has  played a leading part in City, University of London’s sponsorship of the Academy  - assisting with the transformational journey taking place at the Academy.   At City, University of London, he is the Director of a Centre which provides preparatory courses leading to Degree and Masters study at the University. During the course of his career, Eamon has worked at a number of Universities within London (including Goldsmiths College and London Metropolitan University) - holding senior roles within academic and student support services. He has also previously served as the Chair of the Governing Body of a secondary School in South East London.

Sponsor Governors

Mr Henry Colthurst

Sponsor Governor, City of London Corporation

Henry Colthurst graduated in Law from Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1980. He spent the first fifteen years of his working life as a broker in the London insurance market before making the switch to underwriting in 1995. He has managed insurance businesses with involvements around the world from London and Singapore. He continues to act as a director of two insurance businesses at Lloyd’s and was elected to Common Council in 2013 as a member for Lime Street. Henry chairs the Mossbourne Federation of schools, is chairman of the City of London Corporation Education Board and is a trustee of Governors for Schools. He has been married to Sophie since 1982 and has three children and two grandchildren.

Lady Curran

Chair, Curriculum and Community Committee
City, University of London

Helen’s background as a teacher, in schools across the country, makes her very aware of the importance of high quality education to the lives and life chances of young people.  She has been a magistrate for several years so is used to listening, challenging where necessary and making difficult decisions.  Living in Islington, Helen feels privileged to work in the interests of young people in our community.

Natasha Lloyd-Owen 


Natasha Lloyd-Owen is a City of London councillor and the Lead Member for Young People on the City of London Corporation’s Children and Community Services committee. 

Natasha works as a criminal barrister, lectures on Transnational Criminal Justice and is a trained community mediator.”


Ms Marion O'Hara

City, University of London

I represent City, University of London on the Board of Governors. I served a 4 year term from 2011 – 2015 and was the Chair of the Personnel, Finance and Premises Committee for part of that time. I re-joined the Academy’s Governing Body in August 2016.
I have worked for City, University of London for over 20 years and am currently Deputy Finance Director. I am a qualified accountant and have extensive experience of budget and financial management in the education sector. I live in Leytonstone, and I was a parent governor at a primary school there during my childrens’ school years. I am keen to do what I can to encourage young people to recognise the value of education and make the most of the opportunities they are given, and am pleased to work with the staff of the City of London Academy Islington with this aim in mind, as well as to use my experience to oversee the financial management of the Academy. In July 2019, I was given a City, University of London Icon award for my services to the community, which recognised my contribution to COLAI as well as the University

Mr Ronald W. Zeghibe

City, University of London

Ron has 25 years experience in leading management buyouts, startups and corporate turn-around situations. He joined Xenomorph Software Holdings Ltd., as Chairman, at the beginning of 2016 to assist its rapid growth and to help it maximize the opportunities presented by the rapidly changing regulations in the Global Capital Markets. Currently, he is also the Non Executive Chairman of The Money Cloud, a cloud based solution for the price comparison and execution of foreign exchange transactions as well as a member of the Investment Committee of New Model Venture Capital. In 2016, he became a member of the Governing Council of City, University of London. He joined the Governing Board of City of London Academy in September of 2017. Previously, he spent 8 years as the Chairman of the Friends of the Royal Academy of Art.

Mr Russell Willmer

City of London Corporation

Russell graduated from Wadham College, Oxford with a First in Chemistry in 1981. From there he has spent over 35 years in the reinsurance industry in the City of London as both a broker and an underwriter. He founded the London operations of a US reinsurance company and has also been a non-executive director of a Lloyds Managing Agency. He is keen to support COLAI’s staff in their aim of delivering the best educational outcomes for the pupils and to aid the financial management of the Academy as Deputy Chair of the Personnel, Finance and Premises Committee. Russell has lived in Islington for the past 12 years and is a keen cricketer with 2 children.

HHJ Philip Katz QC

City of London Corporation

Philip Katz lives and works in the City of London. After a career as a barrister working in the field of criminal law, he now sits as a permanent judge at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey).
Having himself been educated in state schools with high standards, he is committed to promoting the highest standards of education at COLAI.


Past Master Michael Laurie

The Worshipful Company of Saddlers

Michael joined the Academy’s Governing body in September 2010. He has been a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Saddlers since 1966 and served as Master for the year 2001-2002. He has also been the Saddlers’ representative on the Council of City & Guilds since 1997. Michael served as a navigating officer with P&O Cruises, travelling the world working on a variety of ships. After “swallowing the anchor” he joined the management of a container port at Tilbury. Until retiring in 2015 he then worked as a marine consultant, primarily for marine insurers, either advising on managing risks to prevent accidents, or investigating insurance claims.

Mr Eric Sorensen

Community Governor

Community Governor

Ms Pauline Ewin

Pauline joined the Governing Body in 2009 and brings her experience of public sector secondary education from science teaching through to successful headships in a variety of contexts.  She has worked at senior local authority level, as an OfSTED inspector of schools and a lead facilitator for the National College.  Her current consultancy comprises design and facilitation of bespoke leadership and coaching programmes.  She uses her background in educational leadership together with her qualifications in Executive Coaching to mentor senior leaders in education and other contexts.

Local Authority

Vivien Cutler

Vivien was elected as a St Peter’s ward councillor in 2018 after a career of over 40 years in education and skills. Working mainly in schools in Islington and Tower Hamlets -  including a middle manager role at COLAI’s predecessor school, Islington Green – she held headships in both boroughs and was the first woman head of Highbury Grove. From there, she moved into senior positions in local authorities and also worked in the Civil Service, with a focus on learning and skills. 
She has experience both as a sixth form college and school governor and is currently a member of the governing body of the Richard Reeves Foundation. In May 2019, she was elected Chair of the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee of Islington Council.

Executive Principal

Miss Clare Verga

City of London Academy - Islington

Clare Verga is Director of Standards at City of London Academies Trust (COLAT) for secondary education since 2019. Clare is also Executive Principal of the City of London Academy Islington and City of London Academy Highbury since September 2017; having been Principal of City of London Academy Islington, currently graded outstanding, since September 2012.

Clare has a breadth of leadership experience, with over twenty years’ practice as a senior leader in several schools across Surrey and London. Clare specialises in educational leadership and management and she is currently completing her MPhil in Educational Leadership at the Institute of Education, UCL. Clare is a qualified Ofsted Inspector as well as a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.



Parent Governors

Ms Maria Larrain

Maria has been a parent governor since 2013 and has a child at the Academy. She has a background in media but has been an osteopath since 2009 and has her own practice in Hackney. She specialises in paediatrics and is an academic lecturer and clinical tutor in higher education. She is currently studying for an MSc in Medical Anthropology at UCL. She has years of experience as a volunteer working with children with SEN and complex medical needs. For many years she was also a parent representative in the Complex Needs and Transitions Steering Group in Hackney. She sees parental involvement in the Academy as being pivotal to its success. Maria is a fluent Spanish-speaker.

Mr William Paulton