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School and network programmes

We want our students to achieve great exam results and, at the same time, build resilience, independence and character. We work hard to balance the two things: helping our students to master the core subjects, and encouraging them to develop other skills that will allow them to flourish in the wider world. 

To achieve this, we run programmes within our schools to ensure that all of our students have access to excellent teaching, as well as outstanding enrichment activities - from our corporate mentoring programmes to our annual Music Gala at the Barbican. Our school programmes are ensuring that Ark students' special educational needs are identified early and comprehensively supported; our partner programmes have offered opportunities from corportate mentoring with top firms to outdoor adventure experiences; and our successful summer school partnership with Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, has given students the chance to experience independent study in the US for free.

Through each of our programmes, we aim to develop our students, personally as well as academically.


By the age of three, children from more disadvantaged backgrounds have heard around 30 million fewer words than children from affluent families – or 1,400 words fewer per hour. Children in the UK from low income backgrounds are 19 months behind their peers when they start primary school.

That's why Ark has developed focused early intervention programmes to help break this cycle. Working in partnership with ICAN, Ark has developed the Oral Language Programme (OLP) to foster better communication and literacy skills from an early age.

Great teaching changes lives. That’s why we want to make sure every child has a great teacher. We’re looking for the best – both graduates and career switchers – to join our programme and train to teach with us. Ark Teacher Training is part of School Direct – this means you’ll spend one year training in one of our 31 schools, before qualifying as a teacher. It’s the perfect start to a successful and rewarding teaching career.

Up to 10% of pupils will find it difficult to read and spell accurately because they have dyslexia. This affects not just their academic achievement, but also their confidence and self-esteem. We partner with the Driver Youth Trust to deliver the Drive for Literacy programme, which screens pupils for literacy difficulties and identifies those  who need extra support. The programme also provides training for teachers, helping them to support children in the right way.

When a child has strong foundations in English, they're more able to succeed in other subjects - and outside school too. That's why we've developed English Mastery, a year 7 English curriculum designed to help children become literate and love literature.

It's a programme that combines books, lesson plans and also an online teaching platform, so that teachers can help their pupils develop a strong grasp of grammar as well as a love of literature. The skills and knowledge children develop will enrich their lives long after they have left school.

Music is a core part of life in many of our schools. Designed to build confidence, ability and harness a life-long love of a variety of music, the Ark Music Programme offers a wealth of experience for all pupils at all levels.

Developing skills beyond the classroom is just as important as achieving good exam results. So we work to find ways to help pupils develop the knowledge and experience that will enable them succeed at university and beyond.

To run these programmes, we often partner with leading corporations and well-respected universities. It’s all part of our mission to make sure that every student has the choice of going to university or into a career that's right for them.