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Guiding Principles: The Six Pillars of Ark Schools

Book open Reading time: 3 mins

Ark is on a mission to transform lives through education, ensuring every child has access to the knowledge and skills needed to access real opportunities in life. Hear more on their six pillars, which lay the foundations for a safe, nurturing and diverse teaching environment where learners (including teachers!) can thrive...

#1 High expectations

We believe that every child has the potential to achieve great things. We don’t set goals based on background or circumstances. Instead, we encourage every pupil to be the very best they can be. We set high expectations across the board but provide the support our students need to aim high and succeed. Our view is that with the right education and enough motivation, every pupil has the power to pursue their desired path in life.

According to the latest Department of Education data, Ark primary schools collectively surpassed the national average for key stage 2 by 16 percentage points.

#2 Excellent teaching

Teachers have a big impact on a young person’s life and play a pivotal role in their learning experience. That’s why we take careful steps to ensure every staff member we recruit – from trainee teachers and clerical staff to qualified teachers – shares our values and is committed to bringing an outstanding education to all.

We work closely with our teaching staff, offering continuous training and development opportunities at every stage of their career to keep our standards high and our people fully engaged. And to ensure every pupil receives the support they need, we’ve developed unique data management tools which enable our teachers to monitor progress and highlight where extra support is needed.

“Ark’s focus on teacher development and support enables us to influence student outcomes tremendously. We’re focused on equipping teachers to navigate the challenges of today’s society sensitively, acknowledging students’ uniqueness, backgrounds, and individual issues.”

– Sophie Bell, Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at Ark John Keats 

#3 Knowing every child

Every pupil is different and requires varying levels of support and attention. We therefore take a personal approach to teaching, organising our schools in a way that allows students and teachers alike to build strong relationships with open communication at the heart.

We believe we can achieve the very best results when families and schools work together, providing the support, encouragement and guidance our pupils need both in and outside of the school environment. To do this, we prioritise regular communication with parents, keeping them in the loop and well-informed about their children’s targets, progress and behaviour. 

“Whether you’re a lunchtime supervisor or an executive principal, we all recognise that no matter our job, we’re contributing to ensuring children thrive.”

– Judith Hunt, Operations Director

#4 Depth for breadth

We prioritise building strong foundations in English and maths. Students with a clear grasp on these core subjects typically excel in others.

To give our pupils the best chance of success, we’ve developed Mathematics Mastery and English Mastery programmes that empower our teachers to provide more opportunities to boost confidence and academic performance in their pupils.

“It’s really empowering my students in speaking and listening. They’re learning a life-long skill and now that they have time to talk their ideas through, they feel more confident giving their opinions. They’ve verbalised it, so they know how to write it.”

– Dominic Quigley, Key Stage 3 Lead

#5 Exemplary behaviour

We work hard to create an inclusive and respectful teaching environment that embraces individuality and allows everyone to focus on the things that matter. We limit poor behaviour and disruptive actions by encouraging our pupils to take accountability and work on their self-discipline. 

Likewise, good behaviour is recognised and reinforced to build a positive culture within our classrooms that prioritises teaching and learning and makes every minute of the lesson count. 

#6 Always learning

Education can and should go far beyond the four walls of the classroom! As well as supporting the ongoing learning of our teachers with additional training, we provide a number of opportunities for our students to develop their knowledge outside of their usual school days. From weekend masterclasses and revision sessions to residential stays, day trips and summer schools, we provide our students with new opportunities to access a rich and rewarding education that gives them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in whatever they put their minds to. 

Visit Ark's profile to find out how you could be in the classroom transforming lives next September!