Teaching and Learning

There is only one 21st Century skill. And that is the ability to act intelligently when you are faced with a situation for which you have not been specifically prepared.”
Seymour Papert

It is this belief that drives the Teaching and Learning agenda at Ark Academy. We believe that all students and staff are learners and all students are treated as intelligent and individual. They are taught demanding content; being expected to explain and find connections and to think in a disciplined manner; not to re-call information or carry out formulaic responses. We structure our teaching around core concepts that turn subject matter into useable knowledge.

Teaching is at the core of everything we do – without outstanding lessons we can’t be an outstanding school. We take the belief that one lifetime is not enough to develop the craft of teaching and that as soon as you stop learning you stop improving.

“Six great lessons a day, consistently across the school.”

This was the observation by the lead Ofsted Inspector in November 2010 and was a vindication of the hard work of all our staff. In order to maintain this we place a primacy on staff training and on developing the craft of teaching.

We do this in a number of ways, including:

  • We have 18 classroom observation rooms where teachers can book themselves in to have their lesson recorded and then watch it and deconstruct it afterwards – on their own, with their department or with their coach.
  • We carry out an average of 12 lesson observations a week – everyone observes everyone – this is because we believe that we learn best when we learn together.
  • We run compulsory staff training every Tuesday afternoon on aspects of Teaching and Learning that need to be developed – either having been picked up through our observation schedule or forming part of our annual development plan.
  • As an all-through Academy we use the expertise from different stages to develop each other – Secondary teachers observing Primary lessons and vice-versa.
  • As a member of the Prince’s Teaching Institute we enable our teachers to access the latest thinking and expertise from the leaders in their academic discipline.

All of this helps us ensure that every member of Ark Academy is a learner and that every pupil receives outstanding learning and makes outstanding progress in every lesson.

Click here to read about the Ark Academy Learning Centre for students and staff