What is our vision?
Every community deserves access to a standard of education that matches the very best state or private schools in the country. At Ark Pioneer, we work tirelessly to deliver that high standard of education and realise every pupil’s potential to be a knowledgeable, articulate and successful individual. When pupils leave us, they will do so with real options: to go onto the best universities and courses in the country or embark on the career path of their choice.
Our school is built on six pillars, which is present in all aspects of our practice, setting our long-term vision and driving day-to-day decision making.
Pupils at Ark Pioneer 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 is at the heart of everything we do at Ark Pioneer. We inspire pupils to think more deeply and more broadly about the world around them and the opportunities it presents. Ark Pioneer pupils understand the impact that school and further education can have on their future life. Our teachers introduce and discuss further study, career options and aspirational role models. Guest speakers share their career insights each half term. Our pupils visit a university each year, with visits increasingly tailored to individual aspirations as they get older. This gives each of them a comprehensive understanding of a range of careers and the qualifications, skills and experiences they need in order to pursue them.
Pupils recognise how their learning, character and personal development supports their future prospects and can reflect on this when making decisions about their future. Ark Pioneer offers an extensive enrichment programme. This gives our pupils the opportunity to develop lifelong talents, skills, interests and passions.
Rigorous, Academic Curriculum
At Ark Pioneer, our curriculum offer provides each pupil with a solid foundation for further study and preparation for university. Each subject leader has crafted a rigorous curriculum that promotes curiosity, develops a depth of understanding and includes a thorough base of content.
Ark Pioneer subject leaders have planned backwards from university to provide a rigorous curriculum that promotes curiosity and explores the big ideas underpinning each area of study. Each subject includes a thorough base of knowledge and develops a depth of understanding that supports future learning in that subject area.
Pupils at Ark Pioneer have a longer school day allowing them to study a wide range of subjects. More time for English and maths ensures that pupils develop literacy and numeracy skills to a very high level. We forensically track how pupils are doing in order to identify underperformance and plan appropriate support. In addition to regular assessment in lessons, pupils benefit from challenging cumulative tests in termly exam weeks, which test mastery of the content taught. Assessments are preceded by a whole school drive for revision, focussing on research driven revision skills. Pupils and teachers review and reflect on each assessment; identifying gaps and taking steps to address them, developing a growth mindset in each pupil.
Our teachers are passionate subject and curriculum experts with an excellent understanding of the intellectual journey they will be taking their pupils on. Each lesson is underpinned by high expectations and teachers challenge every child while fostering a curiosity for learning.
Every Ark Pioneer teacher has 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. Teachers are passionate about their subject, asking pertinent questions that deepen understanding and fostering a curiosity for learning in every pupil. Lessons are planned effectively and teachers allow adequate time to embed new knowledge, understanding and skills. Academic language is a feature of our lessons.
We emphasise progress rather than attainment. Our teachers will systematically check pupils’ understanding and act to correct any misconceptions and each pupil will be provided with individual feedback aimed at moving his or her learning forward. We create an excellent climate for learning in every classroom. Pupils are encouraged to try hard, to take pride in all aspects of their work and to participate fully in every lesson, embracing every challenge we set them. Teaching at Ark Pioneer is a team effort: each teacher plans collaboratively with their department. We continuously improve our teaching and our curriculum, making intelligent use of data and our collective experience to achieve excellent outcomes for our pupils.
Our school environment is calm, respectful and focussed on learning. We teach self-discipline and develop a sense of responsibility in all of our pupils.
At Ark Pioneer, we provide a focussed and purposeful environment that allows pupils to learn, to show and receive respect and to develop the behaviours that allow them to play a full role in society. We set high standards for behaviour and explain to parents and pupils how these standards are key in creating and sustaining an excellent school.
Pupils are inducted and practised in lesson routines so there is a positive climate for learning in every classroom. School is calm and orderly; all transitions are managed carefully to maximise time for learning. Our systems for behaviour are clear. They have been designed to enable pupils to reflect on and learn from their mistakes and develop their ability to make good decisions. All staff implement our systems consistently and in a kind and respectful manner.
At Ark Pioneer, we build on each child’s character and habits to support their academic and personal development. We want each child to grow into thoughtful and engaged members of society, acting responsibly and making good decisions.
At Ark Pioneer, we build on each child’s character and habits to support their academic and personal development. Our Values & Character programme teaches pupils about our community values and personal attributes through concrete examples. In-class discussion, assemblies and presentations by external speakers give our pupils the language and structure to explore issues relevant to society, while also instilling the values that will guide their personal development.
We develop the key learning dispositions needed to succeed at university and in the workplace in every pupil. Pupils learn to be independent and organised. We teach them how to take notes and conduct research, how to listen, discuss and debate; we build their confidence speaking in public.
Providing the right support for pupils means knowing each individual well. We arrange a home visit with their family before they start at Ark Pioneer Academy.
Ark Pioneer is a community of professionals who strive for excellent practice and constant improvement. High quality training and development is part of daily life at our school.
At Ark Pioneer, we provide consistent, high quality training to every member of staff, whatever their role.
First and foremost, our school environment fosters excellence in teaching. Our teaching practice is developed through weekly collaborative planning, weekly coaching and whole school training programme, supplemented by annual training days and a comprehensive induction for new staff. Our mentoring and coaching programme concentrates on developing individual practice. We place high value on learning from each other through regular learning walks and observations and we have an ‘open-door’ policy for all lessons.
Secondly, all teachers are leaders at Ark Pioneer. Teachers are encouraged to think strategically and we listen to their ideas on where we can make improvements. Teachers 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 run leadership-focussed training sessions and offer one-to-one support. This involves joint monitoring activities, co-planning key aspects of each role and evaluating strategic planning. We also observe and provide feedback on delivery of training, on coaching / mentoring and on leading collaborative planning meetings.
Effective Organisation at Ark Pioneer
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 are careful and deliberate in how we allocate our time and resources. Our calendar and timetable facilitate effective team work, from weekly co-planning and training sessions, to strategic analysis and evaluation days. We do not have meetings after school, but make them a central part of our week, with a clear purpose and impact on our practice. Deadlines are given a term in advance and we allocate time for planning and reviewing so that it can be a considered and high leverage part of our annual cycle. We have an open dialogue about workload and organisation and provide guidance for staff on prioritisation. In summary, we work together efficiently to ensure we can deliver our vision fully in all aspects of our school.