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

PDF iconAccountabilities Framework Summary - September 2017-September 2018.pdf

PDF iconArk Schools Memorandum & Articles of Association.pdf

The Ark Schools Articles of Association, Master Funding Agreement and Accountabilities Framework can be found on the Ark Schools website here.


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


Governors can be contacted through the clerk, Charles Shaw (

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


Yvonne Powell (Executive Principal)

Yvonne Powell has been the Principal at Ark Walworth Academy since 2012 and, before that, headed Little Ilford School in Newham.  Yvonne was recognised for services to education in The Queen's Birthday Honours in 2012.  She supports the leadership at Ark Helenswood and Ark William Parker and is passionate about improving the opportunities for children in Hastings.


David Hinton (Chair and Sixth Form & Careers 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 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. 

Liz North (Marketing Link Governor)

A senior communications and campaigning professional, Liz has worked in the not-for-profit sector for almost 20 years, and since June 2017 has been Director of External Affairs at health charity the College of Podiatry. Liz’s charity experience includes senior roles at ChildLine and Macmillan Cancer Support, at pioneering online youth charity YouthNet and most recently as Director of Communications and Campaigning at children and young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent. Liz has a strong interest in leadership development and is a Board Member of the Chairs and Facilitators Executive of respected cross-sector leadership organisation the Windsor Leadership Trust, where she regularly facilitates on leadership programmes. Liz moved from London to East Sussex at the end of 2015 having built close ties with the area over many visits to close family in Hastings and annual holidays near Bodiam.

Clifford Smith (Safeguarding Link Governor)

I have a career and background in finance and have been a governor in maintained schools in East Sussex for a number of years, including six years as Chair of Governors during which governance was rated outstanding by Ofsted. More recently I was appointed to a school in special measures and assisted that school to be rated as satisfactory the following year. I am Chair of Governors of Ark William Parker. All of my children have attended Parkwood and / or the former 'federal sixth' with Ark Willam Parker.

Lorraine Clarke (Link Governor)

I am the Regional Director & Executive Principal of the Ark Hastings Primary Academies, taking Ark Blacklands Primary Academy from special measures to 'outstanding'  within 3 years and Ark Little Ridge Primary Academy from special measures to 'Good' with 'outstanding' for Leadership & Management and Early Years within 18 months. Prior to this I worked in a number of East Sussex schools as well as serving as a Detective Sergeant in the Sussex Police for 10 years.

In 2005, I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to relocate to Arizona, U.S.A in order to teach in the local community and lead on innovation based on my experience and knowledge of the British education system and curriculum.  I hold a 2:1 Degree (Hons) in Psychology and Post-Graduate qualifications in both Policy and Education.

Mark Tewkesbury (Finance Link Governor)

Mark has lived in the Hastings area for 20 years, and has two daughters at an Ark primary in the area, which gives him a good understanding of and a vested interest in the standards which the schools strive to achieve. He works from home for a large banking group and in his spare time he is a volunteer Coxswain for the RNLI in Hastings, which sees him leading a team in unpredictable and challenging circumstances.

All Appointments are made by the Director of Governance for Ark Schools.  The term of a governor is three years, except for the Principal, who remains a governor for the duration of their time in post.  The register of interests and attendance for LGB governors can be found here: PDF iconArk Helenswood LGB 2017-18 - DOI and Attendance.