Barbara Alcaraz (Chair of Governors / Community Governor)

Barbara has lived in Croydon all her life and held roles in education and adult education.  From 1998 to 2011 she worked as Health and Safety Manager and Deputy Facilities Manager at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill.

Barbara has breadth of experience in governance working with different schools within the London Borough of Croydon.  In addition to supporting Atwood Academy she is a governor at Red Gates special school where she has served for 4 years and has held a variety of roles.

Barbara believes in the importance of a well-balanced, inspiring and enriched curriculum for all children, whatever their background and needs. She will help to ensure that the school has a highly motivated and inspiring team of staff in all areas of the school to support this.

Since joining Atwood Trustees in April 2021 Barbara has offered support in several areas and in September 2021 accepted the role of Chair of Governors to the Board.  She is committed to working with Atwood Academy and supporting the Board of Trustees and staff across all areas of governance.

Matthew Irvine Bsc Hons, PGCE, MA (Vice Chair / Community Governor)
Matthew is an Assistant Head of Provision at a Secondary Specialist Provision in Croydon. He is a Designated Safeguarding Lead and has a wealth of experience as a senior leader within education. Matthew is devoted to children experiencing an exceptional education. He is passionate about mental health, the wellbeing of pupils and staff, and in inclusive education.
Matthew believes in the power of community and in the important role parents/ carers, staff and governors play in ensuring each child at Atwood is successful. He is looking forward to being part of ‘Team Atwood’.

Carl Knightly (Vice Chair / Parent Governor)

Carl is a parent governor with a son and daughter currently at Atwood.  Carl is the Link Governor for a variety of subjects including religious education and RSE, and also provides governor support in respect of communications, and community engagement.
Away from being a governor, Carl has worked in senior roles focused on leadership, strategy, operations and communications in both the public sector and the non-for-profit sector.
Carl cares deeply about seeing children receive the best of everything and get the best start they can have in life.


Anna Carroll (Parent Governor)

Anna is a parent governor and currently has two children at Atwood.

Anna has worked for a global insurance company for the last 20 years and has had various roles across the UK, most recently as an Underwriting Excellence Specialist.
Anna is keen to ensure that all children are given the same opportunities to thrive.
Matthew Nolan (Parent Governor)
Matt is the father of twin daughters in their Reception year at Atwood Primary Academy and is the school's Safeguarding Governor. He is a Metropolitan Police officer with approaching 19 years' service, enjoying a very varied career which, among much else, has taught him how to be an effective communicator.
Most pertinently, his current role is as a youth engagement officer. This entails taking a proactive approach to improving the opportunities and prospects for young people. In addition, he is an accredited federation representative. This peer-elected role has offered him a great deal of training and experience in matters of discrimination, diversity, advocacy, health & safety and grievance management. Within his career he has spent a good number of years in community policing and as such is experienced in problem solving and strategising in partnership with local stakeholders.
Matt now wishes to apply his experience and skill sets to pursuits outside of the policing arena and make a positive contribution to his local school community as your parent representative. He hopes to play an impassioned and active role in giving our young students the tools and opportunities they deserve to achieve their fullest potential.

Robert Veale (Head Teacher)

Educated at Lewes Old Grammar School and Canterbury Christ Church University where he studied for a degree in Teacher Education and Religious Studies, Mr Veale commenced his teaching career in Kent in 1996.  Mr Veale has taught in six schools, ranging from Voluntary Aided, Maintained and two Academies across three different local authority areas.  He has taught in the majority of the primary phase ranging from Reception to Year 6 and has held various responsibilities for subject areas ranging from RE, PE, art, science, collective worship and behaviour across the six schools.

Mr Veale commenced his NQT year in a village school on the outskirts of Sittingbourne, in Kent.  After successfully completing his NQT year, he was promoted to Art leader.  Mr Veale gained further promotion leading science at Whitstable Junior School and was instrumental in developing investigative science across the school.  Mr Veale became an Assistant Head teacher whilst teaching in Canterbury and embarked on his NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) which he attained in 2007.  During this time, he developed his understanding of the Extended Services agenda and worked with a range of different stakeholders in order to improve the educational outcomes for children. He then took up post as a Deputy Head teacher in a large junior school in Ashford, before commencing his first headship in Medway in 2010.  Mr Veale became substantive head teacher of Atwood in 2015.

Mr Veale’s professional interests range from whole school improvement and development to implementing exciting new learning initiatives such as the International Primary Curriculum and Forest Schools.  He is particularly proud of the music and sport provision at Atwood as well as fostering a community spirit among staff, parents and children.  This community spirit is known as ‘Team Atwood’.

Beyond Atwood, Mr Veale is an academy member of the Schools’ Forum for Croydon, the body that oversees how funding is distributed to Croydon schools.  Also, as part of this work, Mr Veale is the Chair of the High Needs Block.  Working on behalf of the Local Authority, Mr Veale is trained to sit on Independent Appeals Panels for Admissions, and regularly sits on Independent Review Panels for permanent exclusions.  Extending his interest in special educational needs across the Borough, Mr Veale is the Head teacher representative for the Local Authority’s provision of Locality SEND Support, representing the Selsdon Cluster.  Finally, Mr Veale is the Chair of the South Croydon Catering Cluster.

Mr Veale is currently studying for an MA in Educational Leadership with the National College of Education.

Amanda Lawrence (Staff Governor)

Mrs Lawrence knew from an early age that she wanted to work with children after running her school's tuck shop at the age of 8. After a stint in insurance and accounting, she joined the Met Police as a Youth & Community Officer and then as a Child Protection Officer.

Mrs Lawrence has a long association with Atwood; her three daughters went to the school, and she has been a governor at the Academy over a period of 20 years. She also has experience as a governor at Forestdale and Riddlesdown.

Outside work, much of Mrs Lawrence's time is spent as a besotted nanny to baby granddaughter Sophia!

Becca Smith (Staff Governor)

Becca has been a class teacher for almost ten years, and is currently in her third year at Atwood Primary Academy.  She studied Psychology and Early Childhood Studies at Roehampton University, before completing the Graduate Teacher Programme with the Institute of Education.  Becca is currently teaching in Year 3 and loves inspiring her class to achieve their full potential.  She believes in the importance of teaching children to have a growth mindset, embracing mistakes and encouraging resilience.

Becca’s other responsibilities in school include being the shared English lead, with a focus on leading reading.  She has a passion for promoting a love of reading, something she aims to foster at Atwood this year.  Becca is also an ECT mentor, supporting a newly qualified teacher at the school.  This is Becca’s first governing role and she hopes to provide valuable insight from a teacher’s perspective and help ensure that all children at Atwood receive the best education possible.

Cameron Jones (Community Governor) 
BED, Dip. Teaching, Cert. Sport and Rec- (Board of Governors)

Cameron Jones has recently been appointed to the Board of Governors. He lives locally in Sanderstead with his wife and two young children and is a sports enthusiast. Cameron has been involved in education for the past 19 years and is currently Deputy Head at Cumnor House School for Boys. Originally from New Zealand, teaching senior PE at two large secondary schools, Cameron travelled to England in 2006 to further his career. Cameron Joined Cumnor House as a Director of Sport in 2006 before joining the Senior Leadership Team in 2012. He oversees the pastoral and academic provision of KS2 and KS3 at his current setting and is responsible for the operational development within his Deputy Head Role.

Cameron joined the Atwood Governing Board in February 2020. He is committed to utilise his skills and qualities in co-chairing the Teaching and Learning committee and having a keen oversight of Health and Safety. He is very much looking forward to working alongside the Governors, Headmaster and SLT to help enhance the current provision and support the strategic planning to ensure an excellent holistic education for all.  He is also excited about the opportunity to engage with staff, parents and the wider school community in order to ensure and maintain an environment where all pupils feel secure and able to enjoy new experiences, challenges and flourish as they transition throughout the school.

Andre Sarvarian (Community Governor)

Andre is a financial services professional with a breadth of experience across fund management and corporate finance advisory. He works for Finance Earth, one of the UK’s leading environmental impact investment advisors which develops innovative financial solutions and projects to address societal and environmental issues for conservation, climate and communities.

He joined the Governing Board as a Community Governor to support with strategy, resources and financial management, alongside supporting linked roles in curriculum development and good governance.

As a father with two young children, he is committed to working together with the senior leadership, educational and governing teams in Atwood to develop and widen access to unique children’s experiences and an education filled with variety and wonder, providing them with a foundation to be imaginative, compassionate and hard working allowing them to develop, persevere and flourish through school and where their passions take them.

Siva Ranjan (Community Governor)