We want our students to achieve great exam results and, at the same time, build resilience, independence and character. We work hard to balance the two things: helping our students to master the core subjects, and encouraging them to develop other skills that will allow them to flourish in the wider world.
To achieve this, we run programmes within our schools to ensure that all of our students have access to excellent teaching, as well as outstanding enrichment activities - from our corporate mentoring programmes to our annual Music Gala at the Barbican. Our school programmes are ensuring that Ark students' special educational needs are identified early and comprehensively supported; our partner programmes have offered opportunities from corporate mentoring with top firms to outdoor adventure experiences; and our successful summer school partnership with Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, has given students the chance to experience independent study in the US for free.
Through each of our programmes, we aim to develop our students, personally as well as academically.
By the age of three, children from more disadvantaged backgrounds have heard around 30 million fewer words than children from affluent families – or 1,400 words fewer per hour. Children in the UK from low income backgrounds are 19 months behind their peers when they start primary school.
That's why Ark has developed focused early intervention programmes to help break this cycle. Working in partnership with ICAN, Ark has developed the Oral Language Programme (OLP) to foster better communication and literacy skills from an early age.
Ark Teacher Training is a one-year training programme that allows graduates and career changers who want to become teachers to learn from some of the best teachers and leaders in the profession. Based in an Ark school of your choice, you have daily access to teaching & training approaches that have led Ark schools to become the most successful academy network in the country.
Up to 10% of pupils will find it difficult to read and spell accurately because they have dyslexia. This affects not just their academic achievement, but also their confidence and self-esteem. We partner with the Driver Youth Trust to deliver the Drive for Literacy programme, which screens pupils for literacy difficulties and identifies those who need extra support. The programme also provides training for teachers, helping them to support children in the right way.
When a child has strong foundations in English, they're more able to succeed in other subjects - and outside school too. That's why we've developed English Mastery, a year 7 English curriculum designed to help children become literate and love literature.
It's a programme that combines books, lesson plans and also an online teaching platform, so that teachers can help their pupils develop a strong grasp of grammar as well as a love of literature. The skills and knowledge children develop will enrich their lives long after they have left school.
Music is a core part of life in many of our schools. Designed to build confidence, ability and harness a life-long love of a variety of music, the Ark Music Programme offers a wealth of experience for all pupils at all levels.
We know there is much more to student success than passing exams. We work to find ways to help pupils develop the knowledge, experience and skills that will enable them to succeed at university, in an apprenticeship and beyond into the world of work.
To support our schools, teachers and students with this work, we often partner with businesses, universities and other third sector organisations. 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.