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 Castledown, Ark Blacklands and Ark Little Ridge 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 Castledown.
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 Castledown's governors are 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 Schools website here.

Castledown Supplemental Funding Agreement

Our local governing body

In July 2018 Ark Castledown joined the Ark Hastings Primary Academies LGB (also including Ark Blacklands and Ark Little Ridge). This means that the schools are provided with 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:-

  • 6 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.

The register of interests and attendance for 2018/19 can be found here:PDF iconArk Hastings Primaries Attendance & DoI 2018-19.pdf

Contacting the governors

The current Clerk to Governors is Charles Shaw (

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, moving into the role of Director of Governance in 2017. 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 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!
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.
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.
Amie Barr (Teaching & Learning and Outcomes Link Governor)
Amie is Head of Assessment at Ark. Prior to this Amie was 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 Stages 2 and 3. 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.
Chris Connor
Chris is in the Senior Leadership Team at Ark Alexandra Academy and is also a trained maths teacher. Born and raised in Hastings, he is actively involved in the Sea Cadets and has been teaching in Hastings for 12 years. He is passionate about education and making a difference to young people in the local community. His motivation for being a governor is to ensure that the young people of Hastings get the best possible start to life and understand the importance and values of the local community.