Helenswood academy plan to go ahead

Helenswood headteacher Lucy Monk
Helenswood headteacher Lucy Monk

HELENSWOOD School has confirmed that it will become an academy from September this year.

The girls’ school will join the ARK Schools network, and the announcement this week follows a consultation with staff and parents, which began in March.

Headteacher Lucy Monk previously told the Observer that being part of a high-performing network was a key reason that ARK Schools had been chosen as a potential partner.

In a letter sent to parents and carers this week, chairman of governors Gaby Hill, wrote: “For Helenswood, joining the ARK Schools network brings a wide range of benefits and opportunities for all staff, students and families.

“It will give us the opportunity to form links with other successful schools and to benefit from being part of a high performing network.

“The academic and extracurricular programmes on offer, as well as the network’s links with universities and other higher education institutions, will significantly increase the opportunities for our students.

“From September 2013 Helenswood will continue to remain a non-selective, nondenominational, single-sex girls’ school, with a specialist focus on the performing arts.

“We will continue to share a sixth form provision with William Parker Sports College. Helenswood will operate using the admissions arrangements currently in place.”

If William Parker is successful in its application to become an ARK academy, this will mean that all four of Hastings’ secondary schools will be academies from September (the others being The Hastings Academy and The St Leonards Academy).

Helenswood is the only one of the four to choose rather than be sponsored to convert.