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 iconMaster Funding Agreement

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 elected parent governor
  • One elected teaching staff governor
  • One elected 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 operates a joint governance model with the LGB from Ark William Parker Academy. The LGBs meet jointly nine times a year to consider issues that affect both academies and separately for academy specific discussions.


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


Lucy Monk (Principal)

Rebecca Curtis (Executive Chair)

I joined ARK Schools in 2009 after over 10 years in various school leadership positions in inner London secondary schools including as a founding small school headteacher at Evelyn Grace Academy. As Director of Education Support I oversee the work of the Ark education team in providing support and training to schools across the network.

Karen Chang (Vice Chair and Sixth Form 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 as Sussex Representative on the WEA Southern Region Board. I also teach courses on Chinese History and Culture. I have always been passionate about education. It has been my privilege to serve as a Helenswood governor and on the joint sixth form Parkwood committee these past few years.

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

Mark Boles

As a father of three Girls, all attending Helenswood, I have a particular interest in education from a parent’s perspective. I first became a Governor at Helenswood in 2009. I am a Chartered Building Surveyor by day and run a local Surveying practice. As a Chartered Building Surveyor, I am able to offer further professional skills in relation to premises and Buildings. I am a member of the Hastings Round Table and attend regular business networking groups locally. Outside of work I enjoy cooking and am a keen cyclist and enjoy cycling challenges to help raise money for local Charities.

Daisy Christodoulou (Achievement and SEND 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 (Teaching and Learning 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 Governor and Marketing & communications 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.

Robert Lloyd (Behaviour and Safety 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.

Jon Perriss (SMSC Link Governor)

I am a geography teacher, rugby and hockey coach as well as a boarding housemaster at Tonbridge School. I have been in the profession since 1995, working in New Zealand, London and Norwich. I played National League Hockey for the Harleston Magpies and East Grinstead, captaining both club 1st XIs. In my teens, I was part of the National Youth Music Theatre, touring the country and performing at the Edinburgh Festival. I have become a governor because I wanted to be able to use some of my experience to aid and assist the learning experience of young people.

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.


LGB Name Term Dates Gov type and Term Relevant declarations of interest Attendance at meetings 2014/15
Mark Boles 01/09/2013 Ark Nominated  

4 out of 7

Karen Chang 01/09/2013 Ark Nominated
  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)

5 out of 7

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

6 out of 7

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

6 out of 6

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)

4 out of 7

Catherine Denning-Johnsons 01/09/2013 Ark Nominated
  1. Employee of: Hastings Borough Council (Sector Development officer) ; Muddy Race (Freelance Journalist Running Publication)
  2. Spouse employed at UK Power Networks
  3. Trustee:  Hastings Furniture Service charity

3 out of 7

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

5 out of 7

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

5 out of 7

Lucy Monk 01/09/2013 Principal
  1. Member:  Association of School & College Leaders (ASCL)
  2. Heath Monk: CEO of the Future Leaders Charitable Trust

7 out of 7

Jon Perriss 01/09/2013 Ark Nominated
  1. Employment: Tonbridge School

5 out of 7

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

6 out of 7

Barbara Browning 01/09/2013;   


Ark Nominated (former)
  1. Employment: Hastings Borough Council

3 out of 3

Gaby Hill 01/09/2013;   


Chair (former)
  1. Employment: Self-employed trading as 1066 Web Marketing
  2. Memberships: Labour Party, Chair of local residents association, networking with a number of local businesses through BNI and Federation of Small Businesses

2 out of 4

Anthony Seymour 09/12/2010;   


Teaching Staff (former)
  1. Employment: Head of MFL and Staff Governor, Helenswood Academy
  2. Member of:  Liberal Democrat party/ previous candidate in local elections; Amnesty International; The Woodland Trust; the ATL teaching union

3 out of 3

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