Hear from two of our teachers to find out more about life at Ark Priory Primary Academy

Kharis, year 1 teacher and NQT+1

"I didn’t know very much about Ark at first. I liked the feel of the school when I came to the interview, they were really welcoming and I knew I wanted to work here. Luckily they offered me the job! The children are given so many opportunities to study lots of different things that most schools don’t do until secondary.

I’ve had more training with Ark than I could ever have expected. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the training. I have been given so many opportunities to improve. The NQT programme was especially good. It really helps to learn and develop your practice, and it’s a great way to work with your colleagues.

I like working in a starter academy, as there's a lot more opportunities. I started our Year 1 class because there wasn’t one when I came. We had a structure and framework that was based on the other Ark schools, but we had the freedom to incorporate things we thought would be beneficial. You’re constantly able to adapt that framework.

Our leadership team have an open-door policy and are always available. They’ll listen to my ideas or my concerns and have always helped me if I’ve needed guidance. The leadership is very flexible. If you show you’re dedicated and passionate, they will understand if things happen in your personal life. Quite often they’ll tell you to go home if you try to work late. 

Everyone is there to help each other, and because it’s a two-form entry school there’s also support from your parallel class teacher. We get free tea and coffee all the time. We always have breakfast cooked by the chefs on INSET days. On Christmas or special occasions we have a meal together with the children. We have regular get-togethers such as bowling and going out for meals. We're hoping to run more things, like yoga classes, as we get bigger.

We’re often praised for things that we do well. Monitoring visits are always really positive as they highlight how well we’re doing, and how consistently we’re working. We have something called ‘Golden Moments’ in our Friday meeting each week. We talk about something we’ve seen or done, or another teacher’s success that week. It’s a great way to celebrate each other.

The behaviour is very good in our school. I feel it’s because the routines and structures have been in place since they children have been in nursery. Class teachers adapt things for different age groups of course - but its part of the culture of the school."

Shannaz, reception teacher, Spanish and French teacher, NQT+1

"I applied to work at an Ark school because it reflected my vision of what education could and should be. As soon as I started at the school I felt that they believed in me completely.

There’s a lot of really good communication and it’s a very reflective culture. The leadership listens to our feedback, and I really do feel that I have a voice in the school. Here, you feel important enough to say what you think. This means you can really contribute to the development of the school and your student’s progress.

There are so many opportunities here. If you prove that you can do the work, and that you’re willing to be reflective and improve, there’s more room to grow a lot faster than you would anywhere else.

I feel supported. There’s always someone at the school who’s willing to listen. They encourage us to realise that work is not your life; they do want us to have a life outside of work. I work full time and have a 9 year old 6 year old. The school is very aware and responsive, and they encourage me to take time out for my family. They are supportive if the children are ill.

The longer working day really works for us. Most teachers work those hours anyway! It means that we can meet after school with other teachers and use that time for CPD. A couple of times a week we’ll have really good training on a theme that’s been chosen specifically for where the school is now.

The CPD has been incredible with Ark. I can’t think of any other place where teachers have had so many opportunities to continually develop in every respect. It really gives you confidence. I feel that every single training session I’ve been to has been really helpful.

It’s a really positive environment to work in. I’d recommend the support, the CPD opportunities, and the high expectations. It’s a place where you can really grow, because the people you work with believe in you, and you want to do better because you feel you can."