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News5th January 2022

Two outstanding Ark leaders acknowledged in New Year Honours list

Two outstanding leaders at Ark, Regional Director for Hastings, Lorraine Clarke and Ark Globe Academy’s Executive Principal Matt Jones, have been awarded OBEs for services to education in the New Year Honours 2022 Lists.

Lorraine, a former police detective sergeant, began teaching in 2001 and joined Ark in 2014 with roles including Principal and Executive Principal at several schools in the area that were in ‘special measures’ or in challenging circumstances. These schools turned around in a few years and are now ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ through her exceptional leadership.

She is passionate about influencing change in education across primary and secondary, and takes a hands-on approach by creating and supporting strong leaders and teams. In 2017, she won a Silver Pearson Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School.

Lorraine sits on the Hastings Opportunity Area Partnership Board, which supports local schools, health care providers and charities to access government funding to support children and young people in Hastings.

Lorraine was born and educated in Hastings and lives with her fiancée in Rye.

On her award, she said: “I am so proud to be working as part of an amazing team among the Ark network and particularly with fellow leaders, staff and school communities in Hastings.

“This award also reflects the hard work of my team in our schools, so I’m grateful to everyone. I believe in enhancing opportunities for young people in Hastings through education. Therefore, we have to continue developing successful schools that support children and young people to realise their ambitions.”

Matt Jones is a former professional footballer for Southend United. He joined as Principal of Ark Globe Academy in south London in 2012. The school is in an area with high levels of economic deprivation, meaning children face an enormous disadvantage in accessing the best universities. Yet despite this, a high percentage of Ark Globe’s sixth form students receive university offers, often going to a ‘top third’ university or a Russell Group university.

Matt is driven by social justice and mobility. In 2015, he became the Chair of the Southwark Association of Secondary Headteachers (SASH), which addresses issues in local secondary schools and their communities, and became Executive Principal of Ark Evelyn Grace Academy in 2019. Matt is also the Founder and Chair of The Elephant Group charity, supporting students from underrepresented groups to access top UK universities.

Matt was born in west London and now lives with his wife Charlotte and four daughters near Chelmsford in Essex.

On his OBE, he said: “I’m humbled and very proud. This award recognises the incredible work of so many brilliant people who’ve helped make Ark Globe what it is today. Our team and I are passionate about embedding lifelong learning into the school and the local community, and everyone has worked hard to create a culture of aspiration and high expectations for all our students.”