May is a hectic time for teachers. Not only are they preparing students for end of year exams, it's also one of the busiest times of the year for recruitment, as teachers seek to explore their career options.
Matt Jones is the head teacher of Ark’s Globe Academy. 56% of pupils at the school are on free school meals and 38% speak English as an additional language, both well above the national average. Here, Matt writes about how he’s managed to turn the former Geoffrey Chaucer Technology College from a school in special measures to one with consistently strong Ofsted and exam results.
The hallways of Ark All Saints Academy are calm in a hectic south London neighbourhood. Children here refer to themselves as ‘scholars’ rather than students, and they walk confidently and with purpose through the school’s corridors, on their way to clean and orderly classrooms. There’s no shouting to be heard, and no sloppy uniforms to be seen.
A group of us at Ark (@ArkSchools) and PEAS (@PEASchools) are collaborating to work out how to approach the School Information System (SIS) in developing countries. The first task is to get something working for the PEAS network of 24 secondary schools in Uganda. But we'd also like our solution to be viable for publicly funded schools in any developing country.
The poor quality of much education provision in developing countries is a well-rehearsed problem; yet solutions are elusive. Low cost private schools struggle to show that their quality is materially higher than that found in the public system. On the other hand no successful models exist for quality reforms in state education, either. Given this situation, there is increasing interest in a third alternative in which the state invites non-state organisations to manage public schools - an arrangement commonly called a public-private partnership (PPP) for education.
Earlier this year I travelled to India as part of an Ark delegation, to meet with local teachers and policy leaders to discuss ideas for improving educational outcomes throughout this vast nation. The problems are daunting in their scale: India has more than 1 million schools throughout the country (by way of comparison, the UK has only 25,000) and huge differences abound in terms of social class, castes, school sizes, languages spoken, budgets and outcomes.