Tonight's Parents' Forum

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this evening's Parents' Forum has been cancelled. Apologies for any inconvenience. If required, please contact 01424 753040 for more information.


Academies are schools funded by the government with the freedom to govern independently – but all are accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. To share resources and best practice, many are part of multi-academy trusts – a network of schools under one legal body.

Helenswood Academy is part of Ark - a leading education charity and one of the country’s top-performing academy operators. Ark is non-denominational and does not make any profit from running its schools.

Ark’s relationship with the Secretary of State is set out in the master funding agreement. There are also supplemental funding agreements for each individual school in the network, including Helenswood.

Every school in the Ark network is the legal responsibility of the Ark Schools Board. This board focuses on statutory duties and delegates most day-to-day responsibilities to the Local Governing Body (LGB). This means that, unlike in most non-academy governing bodies, governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

PDF iconAmendment and Restatement Agreement

PDF iconHelenswood  Academy Supplemental Funding Agreement


Ark Helenswood’s LGB is made up as follows:

  • Six to 10 members appointed by Ark, including the Chair - usually people with a local connection or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area.
  • Helenswood Academy’s Principal
  • One  parent governor
  • One  teaching staff governor
  • One non-teaching staff governor
  • One local authority representative from the East Sussex County Council

Ark aims to create a balanced group that will have the right skills, connections and dynamic for the LGB to work well and support the school in achieving exceptional performance:

  • Good insight into the specific challenges at the school and the general challenges of operating top-quality schools
  • Excellent community links
  • Specific skills as needed by/relevant to the school
  • A link to the senior executive team of Ark

Ark Helenswood Academy LGB works closely with governors from Ark William Parker Academy. The LGBs meet jointly three times a year to consider issues that affect both academies including Ark Sixth Form East Sussex.


The current Clerk to Governors is Jess Wilks ( Governors can be contacted through the clerk and the parent governor can be contacted through the school office.

If you are interested in becoming a governor, please visit If you have any governance-related queries, please contact


Tracy Dohel (Principal)

Karen Chang (Chair and Marketing Link Governor)

Born in Hawaii, I grew up in Los Angeles. I migrated north to the San Francisco Bay area to study political science at Stanford University. After getting a BA in Political Science, I did my grad degree at the Graduate School of Education. Following that, I briefly taught high school history, law and civics. I then went on to run a five school secondary system In the San Francisco Bay area.

I now serve as Chair for Stanford’s alumni interview and outreach programme in the UK and Ireland and am on the Stanford Women's Board. This reflects both my commitment to opening doors to higher education for all students and in encouraging high aspirations among young women.

I also teach courses on Chinese History and Culture. I have always been passionate about education and have volunteered and taught at all levels from pre-school to university.

I am very honoured this year to serve as Helenswood Chair of Governors.

Daisy Christodoulou (Outcomes Link Governor)

I am the Research and Development Manager at ARK Schools. Before that I worked for Future Academies as CEO of The Curriculum Centre and as an English teacher at Pimlico Academy. I read English Literature at Warwick University and trained as an English teacher on Teach First in 2007.

My book, Seven Myths about Education, was published by Routledge in March 2014. I wanted to become a governor at Helenswood because I am interested in seeing a different side of schools than the one I am used to as a former teacher.





Mike Denning (SEND Link Governor)

In 2011 I took early retirement after 35 years as a Secondary School teacher. From 1992 until then I was a member of the Leadership Team of a large comprehensive with special responsibility for data analysis, management of the examinations office and mentoring NQTs. I now do seasonal work as an examination invigilator and a marker for GCSE History. I also work as a volunteer for the National Trust.

I chose to become a Governor as a way of continuing to use my experience and expertise to help improve the quality of education and prospects of the young people of Hastings, where I have lived since 1985.

My interests include being a life-long supporter of Chelsea Football Club, reading, travelling and music. Since retiring, I have also developed a passion for baking and cooking.

Juliet Fisher (Parent and Safeguarding Link Governor)

I decided to become a governor at Helenswood Academy as I had experience as a parent governor at a local primary school (which recently became an academy) as my daughter moved from Year 6 to 7 I wished to continue as a parent governor at her Secondary school.

In my time as parent governor I have received training and gained experience in  child protection, Ofsted, health and safety, finance (understanding school budgets) and much more.

Being a parent I know what I would look for from a parents’ perspective when it comes to our children’s educational needs and am looking forward to how the academy is going to move forward and progress with the times and the effect this is going to have on our children.




David Hinton (People Link Governor)

David is Founder and Managing Director of The Work People, an award-winning social enterprise employment agency based in Hastings.
After leaving William Parker in 2003 David built a career in Human Resources with Hastings Borough Council. Since then he has worked for several public, private and third sector organisations delivering employment and careers services across East Sussex before eventually setting up The Work People in 2013.
He is a passionate advocate for social enterprise and regularly speaks at events across the UK and abroad. In 2013 he founded Social Enterprise East Sussex with the aim of supporting the social sector in the region.
He is Chair of the Hastings and Rother Adult Community Learning Forum and a founding member of the fundraising committee for the Seaview Project, a Hastings-based charity which tackles homelessness and supports vulnerable people.


Robert Lloyd (Sixth Form Link Governor)

Both of my daughters attended Helenswood and one is still at Parkwood 6th form.

I have a degree in Economics and History from University of Kent at Canterbury and so hopefully understand the importance of education in giving young people the best start in life.

My family moved to Hastings in 2006 having lived most my adult life in London.

I have had a variety of work experience; working as a Lloyds insurance broker in the city, an estate agent, in retail management, but mainly as a self employed builder and property developer.

I have traveled extensively, often overland, in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, South East Asia, China, USSR (as it was), Australia, as well as much of Europe. I enjoy photography, travel, and sailing as hobbies, and am an active member of the Hastings and St Leonards Sailing Club.

Fran Simpson

As ex Helenswood student, Fran is excited to be returning to the school which has many happy memories for her. With a keen interest in the arts which has continued to this day , Fran remembers fondly the many opportunities which Helenswood offered her. Fran has gone on to work in a range of schools supporting children from 0-11 and has 3 children of her own. With expertise in SEN and how to support vulnerable pupils Fran looks forward to building on the successes Helenswood Ark Academy has already had in offering quality teaching for all and raising aspirations within the local area.


Laurence Wells (Local Authority and Finance Link Governor)

As a management consultant, I bring experience of solving problems and improving standards in central and local government across different sectors including health, education, IT and the environment. My main area of expertise is in value management and evaluation, which translates as helping organisations focus on the right things and measure their success.

Prior becoming a consultant in 2008, I worked for the Home Office for two years and then as a manager in the NHS for seven, though my first real job after leaving school was the nine months I spent on the production line in a chocolate factory!

I have a varied educational background having attended schools in Kingston (Jamaica) and Kathmandu (Nepal) as well as Sandy (Beds), Welwyn, St Albans (both Herts) and East Dereham (Norfolk) in England. I gained a First class honours degree in International and Political studies from Coventry University and an MSc in International Relations from the University of Southampton.

My wife and I moved to St Leonards in Spring 2012 from London and our daughter was born a year later.

Name Term Dates Governor type and Term Relevant declarations of interest Attendance at meetings 2015/16
Mark Boles 01/09/2013 Ark Nominated 1. Chartered surveyor and partner at Meridian Surveyors   

2. Daughter studying at Ark Helenswood Academy

5 out of 9

Karen Chang 01/09/2013 Ark Nominated Chair
  1. Employment: WEA Lecturer
  2. Non-profit membership: Chair at Stanford University Undergraduate Interviewing Programme, UK/Ireland
  3. Governor: Pebsham Academy
  4. National Council (WEA)

8 out of 9

Daisy Christodoulou 05/11/2013 Ark Link
  1. Ark Research and Development Manager
  2. English Mastery curriculum pilot (designer)

8 out of 9

Rebecca Curtis 18/02/2015 Executive Chair
  1. Employee of Ark schools
  2. Member of the Association of School & College Leaders (ASCL)

8 out of 9

Mike Denning 01/09/2013 Ark Nominated
  1. Examinations invigilator (spouse included) at ARK William Parker (can involve supervising Helenswood Academy 6th form students; never as sole-invigilator/s)

7 out of 9

Juliet Fisher 01/09/2014 Parent
  1. Team Leader:  HMCTS (Ministry of Justice)
  2. Non-profit member: Beaver Leader of the Scouting Organisation
  3. Parent Governor, my daughter attends Helenswood Academy

7 out of 9

Robert Lloyd 01/09/2013 Ark Nominated
  1. Property developer
  2. Spouse is former teacher at Helenswood up until December 2013

8 out of 9

Lucy Monk 01/09/2013;        


  1. Member:  Association of School & College Leaders (ASCL)
  2. Heath Monk: CEO of the Future Leaders Charitable Trust

9 out of 9

Jon Perriss 01/09/2013;        


Ark Nominated
  1. Employment: Tonbridge School

2 out of 7

Laurence Wells 03/02/2014 Local Authority Rep
  1. Employment: Methods Advisory Ltd
9 out of 9

All Appointments are made by the Governance Manager for Ark Schools.  The term of a governor is three years, except for the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of her time in post.