The GEMS Learning Trust is sponsored by our members, introduced below. We are also affiliated to GEMS Education. GEMS Education has provided high-quality, international education to over 142,000 children from 150 countries, for over 50 years.

GEMS Education dates back to 1959, when the company can trace its roots to a single school in Dubai, delivering education where there was no state provision. Today, the GEMS group owns and operates 46 schools, 30 of which are in the UAE, and five of which are based in the UK.

In addition, GEMS provides education services to 68 private and government schools worldwide. GEMS currently has more than 11,000 staff from more than 80 countries, teaching over 142,000 pupils from 150 nationalities. GEMS is the official education partner of UNESCO and works strategically with governments around the world. GEMS’s pupils have been accepted into the best universities across the UK and the world: 567 universities across 37 countries.


Our members


Jay Varkey, a member of the well known Varkey Family, has expertise in Business Development, with a focus in the GCC region. He is currently Group Executive Director and Board Member for GEMS Global. Having achieved his MA (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh, he began his Business Development role on a global basis with GEMS Education. This allowed him to develop professional and beneficial relationships with clients and partners both globally and regionally.  His knowledge and background in social infrastructure, especially in the education sector, leaves him well placed to support the GEMS Learning Trust on a voluntary basis.


Vikas Pota is Chief Executive of the Varkey Foundation, a registered charity seeking to improving global teacher capacity and promoting universal access to quality education. He has embarked on a programme to train 250,000 teachers in classroom pedagogy and is responsible for the development of the Global Teacher Status Index, which has resulted in launch of the Global Teacher Prize, which seeks to celebrate the achievement of classroom teachers.

He is also the convenor of the Global Education & Skills Forum, which has been dubbed as the ‘Davos of Education’, where he has launched, in partnership with the UN, a global advocacy campaign called ‘Business Backs Education’ to rally the private sector to deepen its engagement with global education initiatives.

Vikas serves on a number of international education panels and advisory boards, including the School of Leadership Afghanistan, which is the country’s first boarding school for girls, STIR education, and the Girls & Female Education Panel, the Teachers Task Force and the Global Alliance of Corporate Partners for Education – all for UNESCO.

Commercially, Vikas is also a Board Member for Arc – Skills For Work, which has set itself the mission to skill and train a million people into jobs in Africa. He also serves as Group Director of Corporate Affairs for GEMS Education, a company that owns and operates high performing K-12 schools globally.

As a result of his achievements, Vikas was selected by the World Economic Forum as a ‘Young Global Leader’ in 2013. This honour is bestowed each year to recognise the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40, nominated from around the world. Previous members of the Forum of Young Global Leaders include Larry Page, Founder of Google, Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook, and David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In 2014, he was elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce.

Vikas is the author of ‘India Inc: How India’s Top Ten Entrepreneurs Are Winning Globally’. He is regularly asked to provide commentary to the media, and has appeared in all major news outlets. He supports the GEMS Learning Trust on a voluntary basis.


Amar Purohit is currently a Business Unit Actuary for Travelers Syndicate Management Ltd, London, responsible for managing the quarterly reserving process, all pricing work, corporate and Lloyds planning for ASR business unit, and all underwriter requests. He devised a new strategy for the Kidnap & Ransom planning line, and carried out analysis for reserving, planning and pricing exercises for Airlines, Products, War, Space and Aviation PA. He sits on many internal committees including the Business Enhancement Group and the Charity and Community Committee to name but two. Amar is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and is actively involved in project co-ordination for Connect India, an Insight India programme for 15-17 year olds and Sewa Day.

DR HARRY ZIMAN, Chair, Member and Director

Dr Harry Ziman is a National Leader of Governance and a Director of the Independent Academies Association. He has chaired numerous governing bodies and is a recognised system leader. His services are much in demand to lead Interim Executive Boards of schools in both primary and secondary phases, and he is a regular speaker on the subject of governance at the Academies Show.  During his tenure as chair of Kelsall Primary School, the school was judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted; and throughout his governance, the school formed the first Teaching School Alliance. Dr Ziman has also chaired Interim Executive Boards at West Bank and Upton Heath C of E Primary Schools; both of which improved so rapidly, that Ofsted judged them as Good schools, post requiring Special Measures. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Harry also has a successful consulting business.


Formerly Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, Barbara initiated a programme of development across one of the largest and most successful providers of independent education in the UK- with over 4,500 staff, raising standards of attainment, establishing high quality professional development and leadership programmes, introducing an international dimension and establishing the first independent sector led, state-funded Academies.

Barbara worked with Lord Dearing and government on reviews of the National Curriculum, and a Ministerial commission to improve the quality and range of vocational qualifications. Her post included a wider remit to oversee all cross curricular themes, and equal opportunities, for both of which she had responsibility across the age ranges of 5-19. Barbara has also been Assistant Director of Education for a London Borough, and led on a major transformation programme to raise educational standards and quality of leadership for the 3-19 age range.

Barbara has been an External Adviser to one of the Public Examination Boards, a Sponsor representative on the SSAT’s Advisory Group, and a school Governor. She is a member of the Guild of Educators, a Trustee of the New Schools Network, and sits on the Steering Group for the national Academy Excellence Awards, as well as the Board of Directors for a London Theatre. She is International Patron and advises on Governance for a couple of the larger Academy Sponsor Groups. Barbara currently serves on a newly established Enquiry Panel into Education in London. Barbara is an independent member of the GEMS Learning Trust.