Ark is an international educational charity with a network of 34 schools in the UK and one school in India. Founded in 2002 as Absolute Return for Kids, Ark’s head office is in central London. Internationally, the charity also has offices in New York, Harare and New Delhi.
Ark schools are non-selective and educate children from poorer communities with a history of educational underachievement. It believes that too many children, especially those from poorer communities, are being failed by the schools they attend.
Ark runs a network of 34 academy schools in the UK, located in Birmingham, Hastings, London and Portsmouth. Ark’s UK schools encompass nurseries, primary schools and sixth forms. In July 2015, Ark launched its first school outside of the UK – in Delhi, India. In total, Ark educates over 20,000 pupils. It employs teachers and has a central administrative team.
Ark’s educational philosophy is based on reinforcing good behaviour among pupils, and not tolerating bad behaviour, prioritising English and Maths, longer school days and data management tools to assist teachers in monitoring students’ progress.
Ark also develops teaching models which can be used in other schools. Mathematics Mastery, Ark’s maths teaching framework, has been endorsed by Ofsted and is now being used in nearly 300 schools across the UK.
Ark also starts ventures which develop into independent organisations. Future Leaders, set up in 2006, aims to find inspiring leaders for challenging schools. The programme identifies individuals with the potential to be school leaders and gives them relevant training.
Teaching Leaders is a programme that assists teachers moving into a middle leadership role to continue to help pupils progress. Individuals can take part in ‘Teacher Leaders Fellows’ while for groups there are ‘Teacher Leaders Teams’.
Broadening the focus beyond teaching, the Frontline programme aims to recruit and develop outstanding individuals to be leaders in social work. Frontline sets out to attract people who might not have considered a career in the profession before. A two-year programme, Frontline gives graduates and people switching careers both academic and social work experience.
Ark’s chief executive, in post since 2004, is Lucy Heller. Heller was formerly joint managing director of TSL Education, a subsidiary of News International. Former Cabinet minister, Baroness Sally Morgan, is an adviser to the Ark board. Ark’s co-founder, Ian Wace, is chairman of its global board.
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