On 1 May, pupils, parents and staff were welcomed to their brand new school building at ARK Brunel Primary Academy on Middle Row, north Kensington.
Richard Welsh is a current primary trainee teacher at ARK Conway Primary Academy in west London. He was previously a teaching assistant at the same school, but decided to start a career in teaching and joined the ARK Teacher Training programme.
We asked him about his experiences as an ARK trainee teacher and his hopes for the future after becoming a newly qualified teacher (NQT).
What school are you training at?
I’m at ARK Conway Primary Academy in London.
Which year groups and subjects do you teach?
I teach Year 2 predominantly but teach Art and Sports, Health and Fitness to all Key Stage 1 and reception classes and also French to years 1 and 2.
What did you do before you joined ARK’s teacher training programme?
I worked as a teaching assistant at Conway and prior to that I was a European Motor Claims Negotiator for seven years.
What do you find the best and most difficult parts of teaching?
The most difficult for me is currently the lack of hours in the day to fit everything in and the best part is absolutely working with the children. Seeing them fulfilling their potential with enthusiasm and a smile is incredible.
What’s a successful teaching strategy you use in the classroom?
One technique I’ve adopted from my training is the development of questioning strategies and, more importantly for me, allowing appropriate response time. It’s opened my eyes to really improving the children’s understanding and stretching them through differentiation techniques.
What three words would you use to describe our teacher training programme?
Challenging, supportive and rewarding.
Where do you see yourself making the biggest difference in 5 years’ time?
I have really been enjoying raising the children’s self-awareness and teaching them how to keep fit and healthy. I would love to progress this further by promoting it within the curriculum. Further down the line, I see myself helping to lead a school to achieve an outstanding Ofsted and enabling all children from all backgrounds to fulfil their potential.
What’s the best thing you have learned so far on the programme?
Even though it’s really hard work, it’s so rewarding that I don’t want to stop! I have been constantly motivated and supported by the staff at my school.
If you could create a t-shirt for ARK Teacher Training with a slogan, what would it say and why?
ARK Teacher Training: the journey’s a good one! Something along those lines as it definitely feels like a journey. It’s not easy but it’s very worthwhile and will continue even after the training year.
Find out more
Our teacher training programme is open to graduates and career changers and lasts for one year, at the end of which trainees receive qualified teacher status (QTS) and a PGCE. We provide regular, practical support which continues even after the programme has been completed.
Learn more at arkschools.org/ark-teacher-training.