(Pictured, William Parker Academy Principal Designate Mark Phillips, and Lucy Monk, Helenswood Headteacher)
ARK Schools welcomes two new Hastings schools into its ranks, marking the network’s expansion into its fourth metropolitan area, joining academies in London, Birmingham and Portsmouth.
Helenswood School, an all-girls school in Hastings, will join ARK in September 2013 and become Helenswood Academy and nearby all-boys school William Parker Sports College will reopen as ARK William Parker Academy. The schools’ shared sixth-form college, Parkwood also joins ARK.
Helenswood governors and Headteacher Lucy Monk met three potential academy sponsors before deciding on ARK Schools. "We felt strongly that Helenswood has the greatest affinity with ARK Schools,” she said. “Their reputation for academic excellence and focus on high aspirations gives us an exceptional partner with whom we can create a truly outstanding school."
Gareth Bendon, Chairman of William Parker’s Governing Body said: “The College has seen many changes since it was founded it in 1619. We expect the growth in capacity, leadership and expertise that will come from joining the ARK family of schools will offer transformational opportunities for the boys, while the distinct identity of the College, its traditions and its relationship with its many partners will continue and flourish.”
Sophy Blakeway, Director of Education at ARK Schools, said: “We are delighted to welcome Helenswood and William Parker into the ARK Schools' network. Both schools have a long history in Hastings and we believe that working together we can provide outstanding educational opportunities for students in the area. Together, we will continue to raise standards and attainment, ensuring every pupil has access to the highest quality education."
Both schools will remain single sex and will continue to jointly run Parkwood Sixth Form. Helenswood retains its commitment to delivering outstanding performing arts opportunities. William Parker will remain a Church of England school, and continue its close relationships with the Parish of St Clement & All Saints and the William Parker Foundation. Each school retains its ethos and values.
Of the ten ARK academies so far inspected by Ofsted nine have been rated good or outstanding. It has the highest value added rating (for progress made between the end of key stage 2 and GCSEs) of any major academy chain.