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News8th February 2023

Ark scholarships: nurturing excellence

We know that there are many talented pupils in our network of schools and that they will thrive with the pathways, support and guidance that are available to their more affluent peers. Ark’s scholarships programme is deliberate about unearthing talent and giving these young people the opportunity they would not otherwise have to develop their passions and compete in the real world.

For the past year we have piloted scholarships in our Ark Music programme. Our 15 music scholars were selected from across our network of schools and demonstrated excellence in various musical genres and skills. Access to music at their school allowed them to discover their talent, and the scholarship allowed them to really develop it.

Over the past year, scholars have honed their skills through one-to-one tuition and coaching. They also attended away days where they were able to collaborate on music-making projects with their peers and industry professionals.

Though our relationships with the Royal Albert Hall, LCCM and ICMP (music collages), scholars gained valuable exposure to the music sector. They enjoyed access to exclusive experiences and attended several inspiring shows and concerts in a variety of musical genres.

Some have used their personal allowances to purchase musical equipment to support their practice. Items include home studio equipment and recording software, as well as instruments.

To date, 14 scholars have successfully gained Bronze Arts Awards. Twelve have proceeded to Year Two of the programme, pursuing Level 3 Gold Arts awards. We’re delighted that two of our exceptional scholars have gone to study at specialist music colleges. Both desire to remain connected to the programme and are now working with us in a volunteer capacity.

Building on this success, we want to grow our scholarship offer to support our pupils and nurture talent across the Ark network. This year we plan to identify our next cohort of music scholars and expand to sports scholarships. In the coming years, we would like to include academic scholars as well.

Case studies: Scholars share their experiences

Bea, a Year 9 guitarist and singer songwriter from Ark Acton, reflects on how the programme has impacted her personal growth:

“I felt I needed purpose. I didn’t have it until I released what a big place music had in my life. I am lucky enough to have an Ark Music scholarship. Everyone has encouraged me to come out of my shell and write more. It’s boosted my confidence and filled me with hope. The fact that people saw potential in me was mind-blowing. I’ve really found my home.”

Gavin, a violinist from Ark Pioneer, shares how much the programme has meant to him:

“My favourite thing about the scholarship programme was watching a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. It was my first time attending this type of concert. I want to have a music career [and] I think being in bands like Fusion will help to get me more comfortable to play in front of people. I feel nervous every time, but when [I’m] performing in front of people I know, friends that I have made, I feel more comfortable. It feels kind of amazing. I’m with a bunch of musicians. Ark music has given me a great musical experience!”

Theo, a singer and producer from Ark Evelyn Grace Academy, is now studying A-levels at ELAM, a music specialist college:

“I have loved everything and all the opportunities from the scholarship, like meeting new people such as other scholarship students, but also the professionals at the away days. My favourite events have been at LCCM. I went to a Youth Jam there which meant that I got to work with other young people, from other places across the country, on our own music and to make new music together. I also had a session with a professional producer. I think that was one of my best days ever. I worked with him, and two other scholarship students and we just learnt so much.”

Developing our scholarships offer

In the past month nearly £200,000 has been raised in support of Ark’s Scholarship Programme, which officially launched at the House of Lords in November 2022.

Alongside music, we will provide a platform for talented athletes to further develop their skills. Funding will cover professional coaching, appropriate kit and opportunities to compete at a higher level. Scouts will be attending Ark football and athletics trials during the Spring to identify promising players for elite teams.

We are tremendously grateful to the donors who have made these scholarships possible. Together we are creating opportunities for students to excel in the areas of their passion and ability.

If you would like more information about supporting Ark’s music and sports scholars, please contact Holly Mumford.