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

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 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 iconAmendment and Restatement Agreement

PDF iconArk Little Ridge Supplemental Funding Agreement

Our local governing body

From September 2016 Ark Little Ridge and Ark Blacklands shared one local governing body (LGB) as Ark Hastings Primary Academies, 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 (  

If you are interested in becoming a governor, please visit 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, 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.



Sally Ann Hart (Vice chair and People link governor)

I am the mother of three teenage children and have lived near Rye for 17 years. I am a qualified solicitor, initially specialising in corporate finance at a London City firm and more recently in family law, following a career break to raise my children. I am currently not practising. I have been a magistrate in Hastings and Eastbourne for ten years in the adult criminal and family proceedings courts. I believe that a good, all round education, where teaching is excellent, achievement is rewarded, expectation is high, boundaries are firm and kindness to each other is celebrated, is essential for every child. I am looking forward to supporting the school in its aims in this and achieving the very best for every child. My interests include family, food, tennis, skiing and walking two very naughty Jack Russells!



Rob Edworthy (Leadership and management link governor) 

I was born and grew up in Crowhurst, and attended local schools before gaining a teaching degree at Portsmouth University. I was a primary school teacher in East Sussex, Germany and Hampshire before returning to East Sussex with my wife and three sons and took up the headship of a village school.  We became a fostering family and I took my second headship before becoming a senior manager in a Further Education College. I have led responsibilities in most of curriculum subjects, Special Needs, Child Protection, and Looked After Children, and I was on the Hastings Local Safeguarding Children Board. I became a Social Worker by completing a Master’s Degree, and worked with Hastings CRI in supporting ‘hard-to-reach’ families in crisis. I have been a foster father for over 18 years and I recently started my own Independent Fostering Agency. I enjoy playing the guitar, riding a motorcycle and watching rugby union.



Jeremy Gray (ICT link governor)

I have lived in the Little Ridge area for the last 14 years. I have  two sons, one of whom currently attends Ark Little Ridge Primary Academy. I am a manager in the Civil Service, where I have worked for the last 16 years. Whilst being a civil servant I have been involved in project and risk management and currently run an operational delivery team. Prior to joining the Civil Service I spent time working in Holland, Belgium and France in both the construction and tourist industries. Outside of work, my time is mainly spent transporting my sons to a variety of clubs and activities.



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 Reviewing 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 (Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) link governor)

I live in Hastings and have two daughters, both of whom are at Ark Blacklands Academy. I work for Hastings Borough Council as a Senior HR Partner, and 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.







Governor Term dates Term Type Declaration of interest Attendance 2015/16
Micky Sandall 01/09/2014- Ark link Member of Finance Committees of Future Leaders and STIR (both Ark-related organisations)                    

Member of Ark Schools Risk and Audit Committee

CFO of Ark, a Member of Ark Schools

6 out of 6
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)

6 out of 6
Lorraine Clarke 10/09/2014- Principal Member of National College                    

Member of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT)

Partner owns his own building company ‘DLB'

6 out of 6
Rob Edworthy 01/04/2016- Local Authority rep Registered manager and director: independent fostering agency (5Fostering) 2 out of 2
Jeremy Gray 01/09/2014- Ark nominated Two relatives are Ark employees (cousin and cousin-in-law) 6 out of 6
Sarah Kowitz 01/09/2014- Founding partner Trustee of the Fairlight Arts Trust and the Kowitz Family Foundation 5 out of 6
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

6 out of 6
James O’Donoghue 01/04/2016- Ark link Employee of Ark International                    

Ambassador and former participant of Teach First

1 out of 2
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

6 out of 6
Sarah Bailey 01/09/2014-30/07/2016 Principal   6 out of 6
Ray Chapman 01/09/2014- 16/05/2016 Ark nominated Amadeus                    

Hastings Pier Charity

White Rock Trust

3 out of 4
Mark Charlesworth 01/09/2014-30/07/2016 Ark Nominated  Explorer Scout Leader                 

Employed at Shepherd Neame

2 out of 6

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.