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Questions people ask us

Frequently asked questions

Will I get paid on the programme? If so, how much?

All places on Ark Teacher Training are funded through the School Direct training routes. There are two types of funding for School Direct: salaried and bursaried.

Salaried: If you've worked for three years or more since graduating, you may qualify for a salary. This will be based on the national Unqualified Teacher Scale - the exact amount you're paid will depend on the school you work in, the location of that school, and the kind of work you've already done before. Your school will pay for your tuition fees.

Bursaried: If you graduated less than three years ago, you may qualify for a government bursary. These are designed to help you with your tuition fees and cost of living during the training year. The amount depends on your degree class and the subject you teach, and could be anything up to £25,000.

Whichever funding you get, you'll also qualify as a student during your training year. This means you're eligible for student discounts nationally.

Where will I be based?

We have primary and secondary schools in London, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Hastings. When you come in for an assessment, we'll talk to you about which ARK school or location you’d like to work in. Then, if you gain a place on the programme, we'll agree a school with you based on the number of places available. Although we can’t promise that there will be a space available at your first choice school, we won't make you work in a school or area that you don’t want to work in.

Find out more about our schools.

How do I apply?

You need to submit an online application through UCAS. However, this is often a long process, so we're happy to accept a CV and covering statement from you while you complete your application.

We'll be reviewing applications on a rolling basis until we fill all our places, and will aim to get back to all applicants within two weeks. Places fill fast - apply early so you don't miss out!

What will the training look like?

The training is the perfect balance of theory and practice. You’re based in the classroom from day one, so once you’ve learnt something new you can put it into practice the very next day. The manageable, bite-sized feedback you get each week makes it easier for you to learn and quicker for you to progress.

The main features of your training year are the school orientation experience, summer school, weekly coaching, weekly co-planning, weekly training sessions, contrasting school experience, and your PGCE award.

Although you're in the classroom from the beginning, we won’t drop you in the deep end. We give you a huge support network, both in your school and from our central team of education experts.

What will I learn in my weekly training sessions?

The weekly training sessions form part of the blended learning element of the course. The sessions cover a variety of topics, from creating objective-driven lessons to managing the emotional charge of the classroom.

Your training is structured around the ARK Great Teacher Rubric. This is a unique framework that underpins your development from a complete beginner to a master teacher. Through your training you’ll focus on the specifics of behaviour, planning, teaching, assessing and professionalism.

Am I eligible for the programme?

In terms of academic qualifications, you need a 2:1 or above at degree level from a UK Higher Education institution, or an equivalent qualification*.

If you have a 2.2 but can demonstrate a real aptitude for teaching we may consider your application. But we will ask you to complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course to really hone your understanding of your subject.

In terms of your GCSEs, you need at least grade C in English, maths and, if you want to teach at primary level, science.* We won't be able to process your application until you've met the minimum GCSE grade requirements.

If the subject you wish to teach is not the same as your degree subject, we'll need you to have a strong A-level in that subject. We may ask you to complete an SKE course.

*If you didn't take your school exams or undergraduate degree in the UK, we'll need you to provide us with a NARIC certificate of equivalency for both at the time of application. You must be a UK or EU national to qualify for any government funding - in other words, a bursary or salaried position.

Work Experience: By the time you decide to apply to Ark Teacher Training, you need to be certain that teaching is the right career for you. You need to have some experience with young people, even if it’s not in the classroom. We’ll ask you about this at interview stage, and how your experiences convinced you to become a teacher.

Personal Qualities: We want you to show us that your motivation for teaching stems from a commitment to working with children from vulnerable backgrounds.

We want to see that you’re proactive and great at coming up with solutions. You need to be a strong communicator, with an optimistic approach and the resilience to thrive even when you’re faced with challenges. You’ll need to be passionate about learning - and able to instil the same passion in pupils.

We believe teachers never stop learning. That’s why we want people who are always looking to get better - people who are continuously reflecting on and improving their practice.

We encourage anyone to apply – from new graduates all the way to those looking to change career into teaching.

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I’m not a recent graduate – can I still apply?

Yes. We want the brightest and best people for our children. That doesn’t just mean graduates – it means those looking to change career too. Our current trainees have been nurses, soldiers, lawyers and doctors, and can bring their skills and experience into the classroom.

I’ve already done a teacher training course - can I still apply?

If you have already trained and achieved Qualified Teacher Status, you don’t need to train again. We’re only looking for people who haven’t yet achieved Qualified Teacher Status. If you are already qualified and are interested in working for ARK Schools, have a look at our careers page to see if we have any vacancies that suit you.

What is School Direct?

School Direct is the name of the government programme which enables schools to select and train their own teachers. Trainees spend one year learning on the job, with regular support. As part of our programme you also gain a PGCE. You can find out more on the DFE website.

What happens if I’m shortlisted?

If you’re shortlisted, we’ll give you a date for your round 1 assessment. This assessment will include a written exercise, a panel interview, a group activity and a presentation on a subject of your choice.

If you’re successful at round 1, we will invite you for a round 2 assessment. This will be in one of our schools, and will involve some interaction with students as well as a final interview. After that, we’ll let you know whether you’ve won a place on the programme – we will finalise our decision through UCAS too.

If I’m selected, when would I start?

You’d start your training in September 2015, but there would be several days of induction and training in the late summer too.

Can I defer for a year?

Unfortunately, no. We can only take on trainees who are ready to start their training next year. However, we would love to talk to you about your career path and how to make a strong application when you’re ready to apply.

If I’m not accepted first time round, can I apply again?

Absolutely. For some candidates who aren’t accepted this time round, it might be helpful to go and spend some time getting more work experience before trying again. Unfortunately we’re unable to offer feedback due to the very high volume of applications we receive, but we will decline your UCAS application so that you can apply to other programmes. 

I have a disability. How will you support me?

We want to make sure that our training programme is open to everybody. So, if you do have a disability we will do everything we reasonably can to make special arrangements. If you would like us to do so at the interview stage, please provide details on your application form. This won't affect your application in any way.

What happens at the end of the year when my training is finished?

We are committed to supporting our trainees beyond their first year. Last year, every trainee who completed the course was offered a teaching position within the ARK network.

As you continue your career with ARK, there will be opportunities to develop and progress, quickly. We have a range of teaching and leadership pathways within the ARK network, from beginner teacher to experienced headteacher and everything in between.

I have a question. Who do I contact for more information?

If you want to find out more, come along to one of our information events. If you can't come along to an information event, sign up for one of our online webinars. We have the following events scheduled: 

  • Ark Teacher Training: Information Evening - 6pm to 7.30pm, Monday 5 October, London
  • Ark Teacher Training: Information Evening - 6pm to 7.30pm, Tuesday 27 October, London
  • Ark Teacher Training: Information Evening - 6pm to 7.30pm, Monday 9 November, London
  • Ark Teacher Training: Information Evening - 6pm to 7.30pm, Tuesday 1 December, London

Email teachertraining@arkonline.org to confirm your attendance. Please include your full name, a contact number and the event you wish to attend.

We are currently planning more events for 2016 so watch this space to ensure you don't miss out!

For more information you can also read our blog.

If you have a question that we haven't been able to answer in these FAQs, please email teachertraining@arkonline.org or call us on 0203 116 6353 and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

For regular updates about our programme, subscribe to the Ark Teacher Training newsletter.