The DNA of Ark Academy
Is based on the six pillars of Ark Schools and developed into our own unique ‘feel’ generated by a genuine buy in for our core values. Our values are also underpinned by our habits and ‘the way we do things around here’. We believe that in Ark Academy the following principals are tangible and central to achieving our mission from reception through to Year 13.
A place of opportunity, a culture of aspiration and exceptional pupil outcomes
Students will develop the characteristics that support their academic achievement and will become thoughtful citizens who make good choices in their lives. We set very high expectations for all our pupils, whatever their starting point. We believe every child can realise their potential with the right teaching and support. Progress, from every starting point matters to us. We want every child at Ark Academy to do well enough to be able to go to secondary university or pursue a career of their choice. We ensure that our pupils understand the wide variety of opportunities and pathways that are available to them.
- We hold high expectations for all our pupils. Nothing is as important as the work we do to impact on the learning and lives of our students – staff go the extra mile to make a difference.
- Our mission is alive and real – we inspire and inform children through our Ark Ambitions programme, giving children insight and opportunities throughout their journey through the whole academy.
- Great outcomes for children do not come without hard work. Staff and children know that we must work hard. Critical to this is maintaining a high expectation. This begins with details such as uniform – we do not allow children to walk past a staff member with an untucked shirt and uniform is checked every day. Handwriting is expected to be of a high standard.
- If we set the bar for our expectations high, the children will rise to meet them and so will we.
First-class teaching underpinned by outstanding subject knowledge and a robust curriculum of carefully crafted lessons
Teaching and learning is the main thing. The promotion of high quality learning is at the heart of all our endeavours. We aim to inspire a future of passionate learners by delivering challenging and engaging lessons. Our teachers have both excellent subject knowledge and pedagogy and are passionate about challenging each child to engage, stretch themselves and develop a love of learning. We use data intelligently to support our planning and ensure teaching is meeting the needs of students and improving outcomes.
- For all of us here, we know that teaching and learning is, and will always be, the main thing. Despite everything that goes on to distract us, we must remember that the quality of teaching that the children receive is our biggest lever to success.
- We rigorously monitor staff and give regular feedback in a supportive and developmental manner. Opportunities for high-quality training are always available from within the school or from the Ark network.
- We achieve excellent teaching through teamwork - everyone wants to help everyone else be better at what we do. Teams plan together and have a strong focus on dialogue and teamwork. We know that to achieve our mission we must collaborate so that we are all part of a larger aim – to make sure that 2 + 2 is greater than 4.
Exemplary Behaviour and strong ethos based on Civitas
Self-regulated pupils and embedded routines which foster a culture of continual learning and mutual respect
There is a compelling and inclusive moral purpose which drives the school forward and is represented by and reflected throughout the school by our motto and core value ‘Civitas’. All members of our community recognise the meaning and spirit of Civitas and that we strive to reflect it in our daily lives. We want all our pupils to enjoy school and develop enthusiasm for learning alongside an understanding of their future role in society. Effective management and clear consistent routines ensure that we maximise the time for learning and pupils are taught to be self-disciplined and self-regulating.
- Ark Academy is a purposeful place of learning characterised by a respectful, orderly environment where teachers can focus on teaching and students on learning. We support one another and our students by the use of consistent routines.
- We are compassionately ruthless in ensuring that all students know and understand what is expected of them.
- Simply: consistency is king. We know that routines are a team game and we share and implement practices and routines across the school, working as a team to give our students a consistent experience and create an excellent climate for learning. As a result, our students will know that routines help create an excellent school.
- Our reward system is based on the four core values of: civitas, excellence, persistence and participation.
- All our students and staff know that Civitas is about being a better human being and we expect our students to develop as role models for those who follow them. We support Civitas in a variety of ways but significantly through our relationships.
- These permeate our school life and support our vibrant House System which supports team spirit, relationships and a positive school culture.
Depth for breadth
A knowledge rich curriculum and promotion of a growth mind-set which is underpinned by the principles of learning.
All pupils will secure firm foundation in English and mathematics and this underpins excellence in the other subjects. Our curriculum is rigorous and knowledge-based which is reinforced by regular assessments that cumulatively build students’ knowledge. We offer a broad range of subjects from Early Years through to KS1, 2 and 3. We believe in bringing learning to life, indoors and out, with an emphasis on engaging and purposeful learning.
- Our curriculum is rich in knowledge and is based on engaging, linked and purposeful learning.
- Our reading, writing and maths programmes bring challenge, rigour and ensure that children go to secondary school with very strong foundations of academic achievement.
- High academic achievement in literacy and maths is important to us but so is the “whole child”. Our curriculum is broad and children engage in a wide variety of enrichment experiences, from debating to roller-disco, from the local park to famous universities.
- We have a wide variety of visitors and trips that enhance the children’s experience through the primary phase.
Knowing Every Child
Fostering relationships with pupils and families, enabling all individuals to flourish
Ark Academy values the diversity and inclusivity of our school. We know it is important that every pupil knows they are well known by their teachers, so that every individual can flourish. In Ark Academy we explicitly develop through our core values and our unifying motto, Civitas, the character and habits which support pupils’ academic and personal development. Our pastoral system ensures that every child has an adult who will listen to them. Positive relationships between students and adults reinforce a culture where children are safe and maintain excellent behaviour and commitment to learning. Regular assessment enables us to know how children are doing and how we can help them improve. Full communication with parents ensures that we work in tandem in the best interests of the child.
- We value the strengths and individuality of all pupils. Relationships between the school, the family and the child are critical for us to achieve our goals. Anything that impacts relationships, impacts on learning
- Our teachers understand the most impactful intervention happens in the classroom knowing the class in front of you and ensuring their need is being met is our key commitment.
- We never give up and always look for solutions to comprehensively support groups or individual children who are at risk of under-achieving
- Part of a child’s experience is a rigorous approach to assessment. We regularly assess children on an ongoing basis as well as our three main periods of formal assessments. Dialogue, data analysis and planning together ensures that we use this information to meet children’s needs and move them forward as much as we can.
Always Learning in Ark Academy
Developing and nurturing talent through comprehensive tailored CPD for staff at all stages of their career.
We put professional development at the heart of what we do in Ark Academy. We are always learning. We are committed to identifying talent and nurturing individuals to create a community of exceptional teachers, highly skilled support staff, thoughtful managers and strategic leaders.
Excellent teaching is underpinned by high quality professional development which supports teacher progression. We are a community of learners. It is in our DNA to talk, observe, plan and reflect together. Throughout the school, we offer our “Ark Ambitions” programme alongside a range of practical and creative subjects in order to inspire and inform even our youngest pupils.
- Teaching is a craft we can always improve. We invest heavily in our provision of professional development. We know that this is the key to the development of our students and to us as educators. We also recognise that all teachers need their subject knowledge refreshing and developing.
- An Ark teacher is one that wants to improve. Every teacher has a mentor who will give weekly coaching and feedback. Weekly coaching is intrinsic to our practice and is a central focus of the senior leadership team.
- We develop our knowledge and skills in Ark Academy in a variety of ways that link together to provide a wide range of opportunities to learn both on the job and from experts. Our teaching practice is developed through weekly mentoring, the weekly training programme, weekly co-planning meetings, through observation and feedback and, where possible, through co-teaching working alongside more experienced professionals.
- Through our talk, training and observation we have a shared understanding and a common language that ensures the consistency of our agreed approach. We know the key conditions needed to create this community of learners are trust, risk-taking, collaboration, co-construction, common goals and shared values. All of these underpin our DNA.
- As a member of both our region and Ark Schools we have regular opportunities to share practice and train together, attend joint monitoring visits or collaborate within our subject area. We are also a member of The Prince’s Teaching Institute which supports the development of subject knowledge.