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.

Ark Blacklands, Ark Castledown and Ark Little Ridge Primary Academies are 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 Ark master funding agreement. There are also supplemental funding agreements for each individual school in the network, including Ark Blacklands and Ark Little Ridge.

Every school in the Ark network is the legal responsibility of the Ark Schools Board.  The board focuses on statutory duties and delegates most day-to-day responsibilities to each school’s individual Local Governing Body (LGB). This means that Ark Hastings Primary Academies governors are able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

 PDF iconSupplemental Funding Agreement

PDF iconArk funding and restatement agreement

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

Our local governing body

From September 2016 Ark Little Ridge and Ark Blacklands shared one local governing body (LGB), and in July 2018 Ark Castledown joined the LGB. This means that the schools are provided with further opportunities to work closely with each other, enabling more effective school to school support and bringing the benefits of governor skills to all three schools.

Ark Hastings Primary Academies LGB is made up as follows:

  • Six to 10 members appointed by Ark, to include the Chair – usually people with a local connection or interest who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area
  • Ark Blacklands, Ark Castledown and Ark Little Ridge Executive Principal

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

The LGB meets four times a year.

Contacting the governors

The current Clerk to Governors is Charles Shaw ( 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 contact Charles Shaw (above). If you have any governance-related queries, please contact


Current governors

Lorraine Clarke (Executive Principal of Ark Blacklands, Ark Castledown and Ark Little Ridge Primary Academies)


Micky Sandall (Chair and Finance link governor)

I joined Ark in March 2009 as Chief Finance Officer of the international charity that shares a Head Office with Ark Schools. Prior to this I was Finance Director of the Royal Society of Medicine. Originally qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen, I worked in Malawi, East Africa, for over three years. I have nearly 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and was Finance Director for the Caribbean and Middle East regions of Cable and Wireless. I also sit on Boards and/or Finance Committees of three other Ark family education charities: Teaching Leaders, Future Leaders and STIR. I have three adult children, live near Tunbridge Wells and have had a long association with the Hastings area as my parents and grandparents have lived in and around the town.






Sarah Kowitz (Founding partner associate governor)

I moved with my family to Hastings from New York in 2004 and have been involved with a number of community issues ever since. Born and educated in London, I graduated from the faculty of English and American Studies at the University of East Anglia in 1984 and then trained as a reporter at the Kent and Sussex Courier. I later worked in Hong Kong as the Education Editor of the Hong Kong Standard before becoming a freelance writer and photographer based in Kuala Lumpur. I care deeply about the importance of primary education and believe passionately in the educational and therapeutic qualities of the natural environment.





Fiona Lewis (Safeguarding and Marketing and communications link governor)

I am a Practice Manager for Children’s Services at East Sussex County Council. My previous role was as a Child Protection Chair and Independent Officer; which involved overseeing Child Protection and Looked After Child plans for children throughout East Sussex and brought me into contact with schools across the Country. I have also been an Associate Tutor / Lecturer on the Postgraduate and Masters Social Work programmes at Sussex University for the past 14 years. I grew up in Hastings and feel strongly that children in the town should be provided with the same opportunities and ambitions as those in other areas of the country. I have had three children and two step-children at Blacklands so feel that I have a good understanding of what the Academy has to offer, its strengths and those areas where there is the potential to improve.






Natasha Tewkesbury (Vice Chair and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) link governor)

I live in Hastings and have two daughters, both of whom attend Ark Blacklands Academy. I currently work as a Customer Services Manager for Hastings Borough Council, and previously worked as a Senior HR Partner. I have over 15 years’ experience as a Human Resources professional in the public sector. I have a keen interest in the area and the primary academies, and believe that as a governor who offers both support and challenge, I can aid the improvement and development of the academies for all pupils.

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






Amie Barr (Teaching & Learning and Outcomes Link Governor)

Since 2017 Amie has been Network Vice-Principal for Mathematics at Ark, leading a School Improvement Fund project across 12 schools in Hastings to improve the quality of teaching and learning of mathematics in Key Stags 2 and 3. Prior to this she was the Ark Network Lead in maths for a year. Before joining Ark she worked in a variety of Maths related roles for Harris Academies as well as being a Maths Teacher and Head of Post-16 Maths at Lord Williams School in Thame. Amie has a first degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Bristol and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Oxford University.






The Register of Interests and attendance information for 2018/19 is shown below:

Governor Term Dates Term Type Declaration of interest Attendance 2018/19
Micky Sandall 01/09/2014- Ark link  Member of Finance Ctees of Ambition School Leadership, which provides leadership training to teachers, and STIR and PEAS, both of which are independent education NGOs with historical links to Ark. Member of Ark Schools Risk and Audit Ctee. 
Director of Governance of Ark, including responsibility for Governance across all Ark schools, and a member of the executive combined Ark/Ark Schools management team.
I am not aware of any conflict of interest as a result of the above positions.                
4 out of 4
Sally-Ann Hart 01/09/2014- Ark nominated Magistrate with the Eastern Bench, working in Hastings and Eastbourne Magistrates’ Courts. Currently not in paid employment. Shareholder: Perryfield Consulting.  Memberships: The Law Society; Hastings and Rye Conservative Association (Chair: Brede Valley branch); The Magistrates Association.                Elected District Councillor (Rother District Council) 3 out of 4
Lorraine Clarke 01/09/2014- Executive Principal

Member of National College                                            Member of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT)               


Partner owns his own building company ‘DLB'

3 out of 4
Sarah Kowitz 01/09/2014- Founding partner Trustee of the Fairlight Arts Trust and the Kowitz Family Foundation 0 out of 4
Fiona Lewis 01/09/2014- Local Authority rep Practice Manager Children’s Service East Sussex County                                            Associate tutor and lecturer at University of Sussex, Sussex Institute, Social Work department 3 out of 4
Natasha Tewkesbury 01/09/2014- Ark nominated Corporate Customer Services Manager at Hastings Borough Council                                            Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 4 out of 4
Amie Barr 01/09/2018 - Ark Link Employee of Ark 3 out of 3
Chris Connor 26/02/2019 - 31/08/2019 Ark Link Employee of Ark 1 out of 2