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Ark Priory Academy Acton

(30 Posts)
Intothewild Thu 24-Apr-14 11:49:55

Does anyone have experience with the ARK Priory Academy in Acton. We've just been offered a place and are not sure if we want to send our little one there. Thanks for any feedback you might have!

soozypoozy Fri 02-May-14 13:55:06

Hi, this might be too late for you now....I have two friends with children there. It's apparently a very long day for Reception, (8.30am-4pm) and lots of homework, which both my friends highlighted as a negative. However, it's a nice new building! Let me know if you want more info!

Jkb2014 Fri 02-May-14 19:29:56

What did you decide in the end? I'm also curious about how people view the school?

callamia Fri 02-May-14 19:37:34

I've worked with a different Ark school (secondary), and their ethos isn't for me. The buildings might be lovely, but they're not owned by the schools, so the school I worked with are very limited in terms of what they can do (work on walls etc) - this might not be true for this particular school however.

I'd be interested to hear more too.

ZigZapZip Sat 03-May-14 15:02:30

I 'know' ARK well.
It depends what you want really. If you want very high standards, no excuses culture and a lot of aspiration then ARK is great. It can go a bit too far with things like no talking in corridors (in secondary even) and IMO slightly too much focus on academics to the detriment to an all round education.
BUT they get great results, are highly organised and one of the best 'chains' out there. They are mostly in areas with high proportion of FSM students and so their ethos works for areas where aspiration would previously have been low. They have incredibly clear boundaries and rules and a very calm, hardworking atmosphere. I like the all-through nature of lots of the schools and the real commitment to every child achieving.
Really comes down to what you want from education, they are very different from 'cosy' primaries with creative curriculum approaches. Children still have fun but also work very hard.

Intothewild Tue 20-May-14 12:15:28

We did go for the ARK in the end. Am slightly nervous about it because their day is VERY long and I'd prefer a more alternative approach. However, I think it will suit my child because she is very keen to learn and likes structure. I prefer the social mix and high aspirations of the ARK to the private prep my daughter is currently in. Please keep the comments coming, I am keen to hear more! Thanks to everyone who has responded so far!

soozypoozy Thu 29-May-14 15:20:54

Perhaps the aspirations are a bit too high at this age? Not sure I'd want lots of homework for a Reception age child....

Intothewild Thu 29-May-14 15:36:21

I know, soozypoozy, it is a huge disadvantage. Do you have any other information from your friends who have their children there? Many thanks in advance!

soozypoozy Thu 12-Jun-14 17:39:28

One set of parents likes the hard working ethos, they don't really go in for creative play etc, but the other set aren't happy with the amount of work and lack of freedom and creativity within the day. They said their daughter is often very tired, however, they prefer ARK to their nearest school, which is Berrymede. There seems to be a lot less freedom to play and learn than in a typical Reception class, much less focus on drama, music, art, physical play etc. Both sets of parents say the school as a whole communicates badly with parents, but maybe that is to be expected at a new school? I guess it's a very personal choice!

soozypoozy Thu 12-Jun-14 17:40:10

Both lots of parents say that academically their kids are doing amazingly well.

noa33333 Tue 15-Jul-14 20:26:58

Hi, my daughter attends Ark priory in Acton.
It is long hours, there is daily homework and there is discipline.
However, my daughter loves her school. She las learned to read and write perfectly, she can do additions etc , she has improved her table manners incredibly (they all eat together and serve each other etc etc as one would do with family at home). The children learn to listen, to share, etc etc but they also play a lot and do sports. they go swimming in the brand new swimming pool next door, they have play time and PE etc (like any other school I suppose). So my daughter has exceeded herself (apparently), and she will be in year 1 on Sept. My son starts nursery at ARK as well. The parents there are really nice and organise drinks down the pub etc etc. I would recommend ARK, but again it is because I am very focused on education (I speak 3 languages and have a university degree, I would like my children to be encouraged to do the same).
Nothing wrong with good manners and promoting listening to others, sharing and learning at school.
Ask me anything if you want to know more. I know that there is a massive waiting list, so in a way you are quite lucky to be able to get in.
I feel like I was very lucky indeed

Intothewild Tue 29-Jul-14 15:13:33

Hi Noa33333, many thanks for taking the time to respond and describe your (and your daughter's) experience. We took the decision to send our daughter to the ARK. Our son will start in nursery as well, so if your son has a morning slot we will probably meet in September! I am quite excited now about embarking on this new adventure, and hope the children will enjoy it!

Valerie2014 Fri 08-Aug-14 10:27:02

Hi I was seriously considering ark acton for reception nxt year, but have just heard so e alarming new and really hoped anyone going there could give any insight as otherwise it's back to the drawing board for schools. There seems to be v positive and also some negative feedback but just heard that there was an issue with a child being hit and that the school handled it very badly. My source is reliable and heard this from a friend of the mother but not sure what yo do now. Please can anyone shed any light? Thanks soo much ps this is my first post on mums net

soozypoozy Fri 19-Sep-14 11:37:31

Hi, I've heard the same rumour. Can anyone shed any light on this?

LetTheMusicPlay Fri 28-Nov-14 19:29:39

I was a member of staff at ARK Priory in Acton. I heard that there was no truth whatsoever in the allegation that a child had been hit. I can say hand-on-heart that the children are really, REALLY well looked after and SO happy. Yes, it may be a long day but better to be over-occupied in a positive way rather than the opposite, I think. Also, remembering that ARK is supposed to be for deprived children, of which ARK Priory has very few, a long day - 8.30 to 5pm if your child attends an after school club - is very useful if you are a single working parent/working parents. The one thing you will notice at ARK Priory, however, is the extremely high turnover of staff, so clearly ARK hasn't quite got it right - not that they care, they're very bullish about people leaving. They brush leavers off by saying that they weren't any good in the first place but I think you can only say that for so long then you need to ask whether something is not quite right. Personally I don't really understand the concept of treating the service users (the children and parents) so very very well, and treating the staff so very very ... differently. There's a new ARK Byron Primary opening 5 minutes walk away in Sept '15 - it will have the same Head Teacher as ARK Priory. The bottom line - I recommend it for your child, just don't work there.

Nolzie2015 Tue 06-Jan-15 13:30:24

Hi There, I know it's been a while since you've all posted on here but I'm keen to find out what are your thoughts on Ark Priory at this stage? im considering putting it as my first choice for my son (starting reception in Sept 2015) i was really impressed when i visited the school, but i did get the feeling they were trying to impress parents (maybe a little too much?) i thought the kids were a lot more disciplined than in the other schools i've visited. A lot of parents seemed to be desperate to get their child in there... My son is lovely but can get quite stubborn when he doesnt want to do something - discipline could be quite good but at the same time i want him to be happy and fit in!

Intothewild Thu 29-Jan-15 09:57:59

Sorry Nolzie2015, this might come a little late as I am sure you submitted your application two weeks ago already. I find the school very good, but one thing that seems to disturb me more and more is that one member of staff seems very grumpy at times and applies rather strange military style communication with the children. I have observed this a number of times now, but admit that I am not at the school that often, so I might just have picked the wrong moments in my observation. Otherwise no problems at all. The Headmistress is lovely and so are most of the teachers.

Beeaani Tue 21-Jul-15 14:01:10

Can anyone give advice on buying uniforms. How many sets should I buy. And from where. Thanks

Blaasofapute Wed 09-Mar-16 12:54:04

Hi. Any further thoughts on this school? My daughter is due to start next year (2017) and we want to apply for this one as it's the closest school to where we live. I love the focus on teaching and manners! Thanks

Matilda20 Wed 04-May-16 14:24:50

Hi. I would like some recent feedback too. thanks

ClaudieM Wed 05-Oct-16 10:47:59

Hi there....this feedback may be a little late but my son goes to Ark Byron which is currently based in the Priory building...due to move to the Park in 2017. I am very happy with the school. I really do believe that the academic teaching is second to none. My son has been there for 3 weeks and already has improved concentration and recall. It does have quite a serious atmosphere but the school is getting the children used to the routines and they are all polite and well behaved - teachers really do seem to know each and every child. In reception year the focus is on phonics and maths mastery but there is also plenty of opportunity to play and sing and they also do Spanish and forest school. Both schools also have extremely active Parents Associations who organise lots of extra curricular activities and fundraising events which are immediately filtered back into enrichment activities for the children. Hope this helps and please feel free to ask questions.

TRmum Sun 09-Oct-16 22:49:03

My son is in in Year 1 of Ark Byron. They are currently residing on the 2nd floor or Ark Priory and new school has been "promised" for Sept 2017.
I love the school! Prefer it to Ark Priory if I may, there's less homework than that to what Priory kids get and my son loves going to school as well.
Yes, there's truth to the fact that there's a high turnaround of staff- last year in reception, we had both classes teachers resign- one left at Christmas and the second one was suppose to leave at Easter, but she then changed her mind and stayed until the end of school year. I definitely agree to what the former member of staff says- great school for your kids, just don't work there!
What you can do though, if you do send your children there is to become an active member of PTA and try to make the lifes of teachers a little bit easier and be nice to them. They really are doing their best teaching the kids, but don't have much time for admin and other things, so communications does lack a bit. But, they are improving. Of course I can only claim this for Byron. Do join us, it's a great school! smile

user1471134011 Mon 10-Oct-16 10:54:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ClaudieM Mon 10-Oct-16 11:17:32

It ultimately depends on what you personally are looking for in a school. Another local school (rated good) that I looked at before accepting Byron never bothered to respond back to any of my queries about school clubs, lunches or after school care and I worried that if they couldn't be bothered to answer my questions, would anyone be bothered to really pay attention to my son? Priory/Byron did immediately. My son seems to be really happy and the teachers and staff look after them very well and are seeking to involve the parents. I have a feeling things may run even more smoothly when Byron relocates to its new premises. Both schools have lots of resources available to them including extra specialists to supervise during phonics to make sure children are in the right group for their development.....regarding staff leavers, I do know that one of the reception teachers relocated out of London and another transferred up a year to teach the current Year 1 so maybe not quite as much transition as it might first appear.....

Matilda20 Sun 23-Oct-16 13:53:18

Many thanks for the useful feedbacks.

Having been to both Byron and Priory open days, I was trying to figure out the differences between the schools.

I felt there was a slight difference in tone between the two schools because of the different personalities of the two head teachers.

I also got the impression that the Byron kids might get less homework and more of a chance to be outdoor, due to the close proximity of the park.

I like the focus on academics but I was also just wondering if there is still time for other enrichment areas such as art, music, and play in general. My child loves to learn but is extremely arty so wouldn't want that to be crushed.

Is there a lot of lining-up at Reception level?

Is Spanish taught by a mother tongue person?

The high turnover is a worry and I do hope teachers do not get burn-out.

I was also wondering how much freedom from the Ark network the single schools have to make the schools unique.

Thanks in advance

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