Ark Pioneer Academy is a brand new 11-18 secondary school which opened in Barnet in September 2019. We believe that every child has the ability to be a knowledgeable, articulate and successful individual; our aim is to realise this potential and enable every pupil to go on to the best universities in the country or into a career of their choice. Our school will be built on six pillars, which will be present in all aspects of our practice, setting our long term vision and driving day to day decision making.


Our six pillars:

High Aspirations

Pupils at Ark Pioneer will understand the opportunities that education gives them. With our teaching and support, each pupil will realise his or her full potential and have the opportunity to go to university or pursue the career of their choice. 

Raising aspirations will be at the heart of everything we do at Ark Pioneer. We will set challenging academic targets for each child. Our teachers will co-plan lessons thoroughly and make forensic use of assessment. They will be relentless in their efforts to ensure each child makes progress from their starting point and achieves outstanding outcomes. Parental partnership will be strong and teachers will meet with parents regularly to discuss their child’s progress and development.

We will inspire pupils to think more deeply and more broadly about the world around them and the opportunities it presents. Ark Pioneer pupils will understand the impact that school and further education can have on their future life. Teachers will introduce and discuss further study, career options and aspirational role models. Guest speakers will share their career insights. Pupils will visit a university each year, with visits increasingly tailored to individual aspirations as they get older. This will give them a comprehensive understanding of a range of careers and the qualifications, skills and experiences they need in order to pursue them.

Pupils will also benefit from an extensive enrichment offer. This will give them the opportunity to develop lifelong talents, skills, interests and passions.


Excellent Teaching

Our teachers will be passionate subject and curriculum experts with an excellent understanding of the intellectual journey they will be taking their pupils on. They will challenge every child, cultivating energetic and engaged learners who work hard and participate fully in every lesson.

Every Ark Pioneer teacher will have excellent subject knowledge and a detailed understanding of the curriculum, recognising how each lesson’s learning fits into the pupils’ broader development within the subject. Lessons will be planned effectively and teachers will allow adequate time to embed new knowledge, understanding and skills.

Teachers will be passionate about their subject, asking pertinent questions that deepen understanding and foster a curiosity for learning in every pupil. Academic language will be a feature of our lessons.

We will emphasise progress rather than attainment. Each pupil will be provided with individual feedback aimed at moving his or her learning forward; our teachers will systematically check pupils’ understanding and act to correct any misconceptions.

We will create an excellent climate for learning in every classroom. Pupils will be encouraged to try hard and take pride in all aspects of their work. They will participate fully in every lesson and embrace the challenges we set them.

Teaching at Ark Pioneer will be a team effort: each teacher will plan collaboratively with their department. We will continuously improve our teaching and our curriculum, making intelligent use of data and our collective experience to achieve excellent outcomes for our pupils.


Strong Discipline

We will create an environment that is calm, respectful and focussed on learning. We will teach self -discipline and develop a sense of responsibility in all of our pupils.

At Ark Pioneer, we will provide a focussed and purposeful environment that allows pupils to enjoy school and to learn. We will set high standards for behaviour and we will explain to parents and pupils how these standards are key to creating and sustaining an excellent school.

Pupils will be inducted and practised in lesson routines so there is a positive climate for learning in every classroom. School will be calm and orderly; all transitions will be managed carefully to maximise time for learning. Our systems for behaviour will be clear. They will be designed to enable pupils to reflect on and learn from their mistakes and develop their ability to make good decisions. Staff will implement our systems consistently and in a kind and respectful manner.


Rigorous Curriculum

At Ark Pioneer, our curriculum offer will provide each pupil with a solid foundation for further study and preparation for university. Each subject leader will craft a rigorous curriculum that promotes curiosity, develops a depth of understanding and includes a thorough base of content.

Ark Pioneer subject leaders will plan backwards from university to create a rigorous curriculum that promotes curiosity and explores the big ideas underpinning each area of study. Each subject will include a thorough base of knowledge and develop a depth of understanding that supports future learning in that subject area.

Pupils at Ark Pioneer will have a longer school day allowing them to study a wide range of subjects. More time for English and maths will ensure that pupils develop literacy and numeracy skills to a very high level.

We will forensically track how pupils are doing in order to identify underperformance and plan appropriate support. In addition to regular assessment in lessons, pupils will benefit from challenging cumulative tests in termly exam weeks, each of which will be preceded by a whole school drive for revision, focussing on subject-specific revision skills. Pupils and teachers will review and reflect on each assessment identifying gaps and taking steps to address them.


Instilling Values

At Ark Pioneer, we will build on each child’s character and habits to support their academic and personal development. They will grow into thoughtful and engaged members of society, acting responsibly and making good decisions.

At Ark Pioneer, we will build on each child’s character and habits to support their academic and personal development. They will grow into thoughtful and engaged members of society, acting responsibly and making good decisions.

Discussions, assemblies and presentations by external speakers will give pupils the language and structure to explore issues relevant to society, while also instilling the values that will guide their personal development.

Pupil will also develop the skills needed to succeed at university and in the workplace. They will learn to be independent and organised. We will teach them how to take notes and conduct research, how to listen, discuss and debate; they will be confident speaking in public.

Providing the right support for pupils means knowing each individual well. We will visit every pupil in their home with their family before they start at Ark Pioneer academy.


Quality Training

Ark Pioneer will be a community of professionals who strive for excellent practice and constant improvement. High quality training and development will be part of daily life at our school.

At Ark Pioneer, we will provide consistent, high quality training to every member of staff, whatever their role.

First and foremost, we will create an environment that fosters excellence in teaching. Our teaching practice will be developed through our weekly collaborative planning and whole school training programme, supplemented by annual training days and a comprehensive induction for new staff. Our mentoring and coaching programme will concentrate on developing individual practice. We will place high value on learning from each other through regular learning walks and observations and we will have an ‘open-door’ policy for all lessons.

Secondly, all teachers will be leaders at Ark Pioneer. Teachers will be encouraged to think strategically and we will listen to their ideas on where we can make improvements. Teachers will have ownership of assessment data and use it to improve their teaching and the curriculum.

Thirdly, we are committed to developing everyone who takes on leadership positions within the school. We will run leadership-focussed training sessions and offer one-to-one support. This will involve joint monitoring activities, co-planning key aspects of each role and evaluating strategic planning. We will also observe and provide feedback on delivery of training, on coaching / mentoring and on leading collaborative planning meetings.


Effective Organisation at Ark Pioneer

We will organise our time effectively to ensure we can successfully deliver our ambitious vision for our school in a sustainable way.

We want Ark Pioneer to be a school that makes a lasting impact on the local community, consistently and sustainably delivering an exceptional standard of education for local children. Successfully delivering this vision means we must be a school where everyone has time to do their job well.

As a whole school, we will be careful and deliberate in how we allocate our time and resources. Our calendar and timetable will facilitate effective team work, from weekly co-planning and training sessions, to strategic analysis and evaluation days. We will not have meetings after school, but will make them a central part of our week, with a clear purpose and impact on our practice. Deadlines will be given a term in advance and we will allocate time for planning and reviewing so that it can become a considered and high leverage part of our annual cycle. We will have an open dialogue about workload and organisation and provide guidance for staff on prioritisation. In summary, we will work together efficiently to ensure we can deliver our vision fully in all aspects of our school.