Academies are schools funded directly by the government (rather than via the local authority). They have more freedom to innovate. However, academies are still accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. To share best practice and maximise the use of resources and best practice, many are part of multi-academy trusts – a network of schools under one legal body.

Ark Alexandra Academy is part of Ark Schools – 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. All our schools are non-selective.

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.

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, unlike in most non-academy governing bodies, Ark Alexandra Academy governors will be able to concentrate on the things that really matter – educational strategy, school outcomes and aspiration.

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

Ark Alexandra Academy’s LGB is currently being constituted, but it is likely to be made up of six to twelve members appointed by Ark, including the Chair. These are usually people with a local connections or interests who are committed to supporting educational opportunity in the area and will include those who were governors at Helenswood and William Parker. There will be a governor appointed by the Diocese. The Executive Principal and Principal of the school will attend LGB meetings.

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 outcomes.


If you wish to contact our Governors, please address your query to our Regional Governance Officer, Charles Shaw at

Clifford Smith - Chair of Governors

  • Role: Chair
  • Link: Curriculum

I have a background in finance and was formerly a governor at Ark Helenswood and chair of governors at Ark William Parker. Prior to that I was a governor and chair of governors in maintained schools in East Sussex for a number of years. I live locally, my sons were educated at William Parker and my daughter at Helenswood.

Jonquil Cargill

  • Role: Parent Governor
  • Link: SEND

I have worked as a journalist for most of my working life, primarily for the Daily Telegraph as well as other broadsheets and magazines. I have also worked in broadcasting at the BBC and independent radio stations. In the last few years I have changed lanes into writing film scripts. I have a BA in Philosophy and English.

Helen Bostock

  • Role: Sponsor Governor
  • Link: Values and Ethos, Behaviour and Attendance

Helen Bostock is Head of Senior Hiring at KPMG, the professional services firm. She has been with KPMG since 2018. Prior to this she was a Director in the Human Resources department of Barclays Plc where as part of the Leadership, Talent & Resourcing Team she had global responsibility for Early Careers, including graduate and MBA recruitment and development. Helen was formerly a Managing Director and global head of campus recruitment at Credit Suisse and prior to this spent 17 years at JPMorgan in a variety of HR and Marketing roles.

She is a former board director and Vice President of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (now the Institute for Student Employers) and a former external trustee for the Centre for Recording Achievement, a charity focused on promoting lifelong learning. She was a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Thought-Leadership Council, University of Leicester and a member of the advisory board of the Wilson Review on University/Business Collaboration (2012). She is currently a trustee of the charity, Let Them Shine.

Helen has a keen interest in coaching and mentoring having previously worked as a careers placement counselor for the London School of Economics.

Helen holds a BSc in Sociology from the University of Kent at Canterbury. Her interests include the Anglo-Zulu War, theatre and live music. She lives in Hastings and is married with one daughter.

Mary Quinn

  • Role: Sponsor Governor
  • Link: Primary Outreach

Mary Quinn is Deputy Head at Ark Blacklands. She has a proven track record of consistently improving Key Stage 2 results. Before joining Ark Blacklands in 2016, she worked for ten years as a Year 6 teacher and English Lead. As Lead Coach at Ark Blacklands, Mary successfully nurtures and coaches teachers, developing their skills and improving the practice of not only NQTs but established teachers who wish to move from good to outstanding. Mary has a passion for reading and the necessity for children to keep reading as they progress through school, in order to reach their full potential. She is excited about continuing this work as a Governor of Ark Alexandra alongside helping support Year 7 with their transition to secondary school.

Sarah Thake

  • Role: Sponsor Governor
  • Link: Safeguarding, Health & Safety, Relationships and Sex Education

Sarah is the Training Manager of a large chain of leisure facilities, bringing with her a wealth of experience in managing the delivery of accredited courses. She has extensive experience in working with a variety of awarding organisations and facilitating rigorous audits, both internally and through external parties, such as the SFA and OFSTED. Sarah finished Helenswood in 2004, at this point she entered the leisure industry as a lifeguard, steadily progressing into higher level management. She has now forged a career in the vocational learning sector, so has lots of experience in managing the delivery of courses and ensuring an exceptional learner journey. Sarah is excited to be a Governor as she feels her knowledge and experience can help to build on the good work that is already being done. She feels it is important to instil good practice and work ethics for future generations.

Reverend Luke Dean

  • Role: Nominated by Diocese of Chichester Board of Education
  • Link: Church Schools

As a late developer, doing poorly at school I didn’t complete any further education until I was 30. However I gained experience in life; worked on a building site with the site-engineers for three years and drove delivery vans, buses, coaches and articulated lorries for four years. Following further education became a land and hydrographic surveyor and software engineer specializing in locating aircraft lost in deep sea. With 3 colleagues subsequently started a software company focussed on land mapping applications. That company was sold to one based in the USA and led to the requirement to move to the USA which re-ignited the interest in ordination. I did move to the USA and there met my wife but moved back to UK in 2005 to start theological college. I have been a vicar in St Leonards-on-Sea since October 2011. Hobbies include computing, motorcycling, cycling, running, skiing and keep fit.

Mark Tewkesbury

  • Role: Sponsor Governor
  • Link: Finance

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.

David Hinton

  • Role: Sponsor Governor
  • Link: Vice Chair, Community and Enrichment, CEIAG

David is Founder and Managing Director of The Work People, and 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.


  • Yvonne Powell, OBE - Executive Principal
  • Stephanie Newman - Principal
  • Victoria Cockram - Regional Associate Principal