While each Ark school has its own ethos and character, they all draw upon the same principles – our six pillars – in support of our shared mission to transform lives through education.
1. High expectations
We believe that every child can achieve great things. So we set high expectations for all our pupils, and we do whatever it takes to meet them. Our aspirations are no lower for our most vulnerable pupils.
2. Excellent teaching
A teacher affects a pupil's achievement more than any other factor. We work side-by-side with teaching staff, supporting them with training and development so that they can deliver excellent teaching. To make sure that no pupil is left behind, we've developed data management tools which help teachers to monitor progress - this shows when pupils, or indeed teaching staff, need extra support.
3. Knowing every child
We organise our schools so that every child knows, and is known well by, every adult in the school.
We also recognise that children do best when families and schools work together. We keep parents well informed about children's targets, and we involve families in all aspects of school life.
To nurture a love of reading and develop fluent communication skills, we also dedicate more time to literacy and English. We make sure that all of our teachers recognise the barriers that children face in building literacy skills, and we offer tools and expertise to enable teachers to best support students who need more help.
4. Depth for breadth
When children build firm foundations in English and maths, they find it easier to do well in other subjects too. That's why we prioritise depth in these subjects, giving our pupils the best chance of success.
We've developed Mathematics Mastery, and English Mastery which aim to improve attainment, enjoyment and confidence in maths and English. Their approach is based on tried and tested methods from around the world, and is endorsed by Ofsted. Mathematics Mastery partners with over 500 schools outside Ark, and English Mastery is working with more than 60 schools.
5. Exemplary behaviour
Our schools are characterised by a respectful environment, where teachers can focus on teaching and pupils can focus on learning. We teach, recognise and reinforce good behaviour, and we don't tolerate poor behaviour. We don't accept any excuses, and we don't make any either.
6. Always learning
To make sure children have enough time both for core subjects and for extra-curricular activities, many of our schools run a longer school day. Others are open at weekends and during school holidays, offering masterclasses and revision sessions. Many Ark schools offer residential stays, day trips and summer schools. In every school, no time is wasted - every hour of every day is devoted to children learning.