Developing skills beyond the classroom is just as important as achieving good exam results. So we work to find ways to help pupils develop the knowledge and experience that will enable them succeed at university and beyond.

To run these programmes, we often partner with leading corporations and well-respected universities. It’s all part of our mission to make sure that every student has the choice of going to university or into a career that's right for them.

We run programmes to help students get ready for university

To accomplish this, we often partner with leading corporations and well-respected universities. It’s all part of our mission to make sure that every student has the choice of going to university or into a career that's right for them.

Corporate Mentoring

We offer mentoring and work-related learning programmes, which are delivered by partners including Actis, Bloomberg, and J.P. Morgan. Some provide face-to-face and e-mentoring from experts in their field, to help students develop and hone key skills, explore their career options and familiarise themselves with the corporate world. Typical programmes offer sessions on higher education and career planning, CV writing, interview techniques, presentation skills and a Dragons’ Den style pitch.

Bursaries

Thanks to our generous partners and donors, we can offer a range of bursaries. These bursaries enrich our students’ learning and allow them to carry on studying after their GCSEs. For example, we pay for students to attend summer school programmes at leading universities, and we give book tokens to Year 11 leavers who are about to start college. For Year 13 leavers going onto higher education, we offer bursaries ranging from £3,000 to £30,000 to help with the financial costs of university life.

Phillips Exeter Summer School Programme

Every year, we choose six Year 10 students to attend the Phillips Exeter Academy Summer School in New Hampshire, USA, where they live and study with their peers from across the globe for five weeks. Students can take classes in Observation Astronomy, Italian and Architecture, and do extracurricular arts activities and athletics. The summer school shows students what it's like to live and study independently, and improves their social and academic skills. This programme is fully-funded and completely free for students.

Work Experience

During the school holidays, students in Years 10 to 13 can do work experience placements with leading businesses. During their placements, students take part in projects and challenges designed to develop and hone their employability skills. This in turn leaves them better able to compete for the best graduate jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships when they finally leave school.

Jeremy's story

Former Walworth Academy student Jeremy Ogunleye, who has just completed a degree in English Language and Literature at Oxford, says: “It’s been a life-changing experience and a challenge that was made possible with help from Ark and the Reuben Scholarship.”

Jeremy was one of the first recipients of The Reuben Scholarship Programme at Ark – securing £10,000 per year to help fund his studies. Awarded to talented Ark students, the scholarship is designed to ensure that those from disadvantaged backgrounds can take up places at top universities.

“Because of the Reuben Scholarship, I never had to worry about money, which was lucky because they don’t let you have a term-time job at Oxford. It went towards my living and course costs – for instance, if I needed a book and all the library’s copies were out, I could buy a copy.

“Oxford has been sensational – I’ve had three of the best years of my life.”