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Has anyone worked in an ARK academy?
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ValancyRedfern · 18/02/2020 18:01

I've seen an interesting job in an Ark academy, but I'm concerned it seems to have shades of Harris about it. Has anyone worked at an Ark and have any insights? Thanks so much!

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EstebanTheMagnificent · 18/02/2020 22:38

They are pretty different to Harris - they have a much less cookie-cutter approach and there are more variations between their schools. They tend to operate in deprived communities and as a general rule discipline tends to be quite strict. They have a good infrastructure of support from their central team and there’s quite a lot of collaboration between the schools, with periodic joint INSET days.

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superram · 18/02/2020 22:46

It’s a stereotypical MAT that takes all autonomy from teachers, has huge staff turnover and is generally very cut throat. I wouldn’t but look at the individual school.

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superram · 18/02/2020 22:48

They also have ‘stop and jot’ or copying from the board as the rest of us call it, which has its place but not every lesson......

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EstebanTheMagnificent · 18/02/2020 22:54

‘Stop and jot’ isn’t, or shouldn’t be, copying from the board.

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ValancyRedfern · 19/02/2020 07:23

Thanks that's really interesting. The role is almost identical to a role I saw advertised last year (in a tiny dept so can't see them co-existing) so I am concerned about staff turnover.

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Piggywaspushed · 19/02/2020 08:09

I have just looked up 'stop and jot' drawn by the Scottish phrasing (turns out it's American).

Ermmm... I am confused. I didn't know that was so cutting edge but I'd just call it teaching! Do teachers really need to be directly instructed to get students to write something down during a lesson?? I presume it's the box drawing and giving it a name that draws attention to it. I can't say that's a deal breaker of done properly (def. not copying from board : that's a control freak version of it typical of some teacher's lack of trust in students!)

I do know that ARK does base a lot of tis teaching on the US Charter School systems. So much pedagogy comes from the US at the moment and this does make me wary. They are hardly stellar in student outcomes and social disadvantage , despite educational diktats and whims, remains huge in the US.

I don't trust any big academy chains but that's largely because I don't like being told what to do. I think what subject you teach can affect responses to the teaching and structures in the academy chains. PE teacher, meh : same (ish) job everywhere although you may be recruited for a second subject and end up in maths (see maths below...) . Drama or Art , don't necessarily expect your subject to be valued or even run. English and maths, expect to be scrutinised and micro managed to within an inch of your life.

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noblegiraffe · 19/02/2020 11:12

Do teachers really need to be directly instructed to get students to write something down during a lesson

Do they even have to do that any more in the brave new world of knowledge organisers?

I think it’s important to get teachers to think about what is on the board that they want kids to put in their books and what they just want them to follow or think about otherwise you get kids writing everything and kids writing nothing. I’ve not seen an actual policy around it before but it makes sense.

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ValancyRedfern · 19/02/2020 16:16

I had a look at the timetable. No morning break then a 25/30 mins lunch period which teachers are expected to spend with students. Which sounds exhausting! Definitely sounds very American charter school. Lots of 'shout-outs' and 'clicks' for students and staff. I do like a school with solid and strict behaviour management which they seem to have though.

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Piggywaspushed · 19/02/2020 16:59

It's not about writing things from the board, though noble : it's about getting them to stop and write something themselves in response to what they have been learning.

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noblegiraffe · 19/02/2020 17:47

Sounds painful. Getting them to write the title and date is bad enough.

Couldn’t deal with a school with no morning break and such a short lunch though. Do they finish really early?
I’m starving by break.

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Piggywaspushed · 19/02/2020 17:49

I think in the case of maths, the jotting consists of doing some sums! Revolutionary!

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malaguena · 19/02/2020 19:55

My opinion is that they are pretty close to Harris. Massive turnover of staff including admin, no staff room (because you don't want them to socialise), behaviour management was a huge faff where you had to spend ages calling parents every day. Lessons had to follow a particular format so not much creativity. No union presence whatsoever. I felt really disrespected as a professional and I would never want to work in one again. I visited many Ark schools and staff morale generally seemed quite low.

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BelleSausage · 19/02/2020 20:01

Stop and what now?

As if students keeping their own notes on lessons is a new thing. Before everyone got so obsessed with books and triple impact marking this is what the bloody books were for- student notes.

Knowledge organisers, on the other hand, can be really brilliant (if actually used properly).

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donquixotedelamancha · 19/02/2020 20:06

No morning break then a 25/30 mins lunch period which teachers are expected to spend with students.

That would be a no for me, straight away. I know someone who worked in one for a couple of years. Don't know the details but he hated it and it drove a very good young teacher out of the profession.

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ValancyRedfern · 20/02/2020 08:57

Yes I've come to that conclusion donquixote. It's depressing that nearly every school around me is either an Ark or a Harris, or local MATs which are just as bad. Very hard to find jobs in schools I'd consider working in! (Probably because the staff in those schools stick around longer so less vacancies!)

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PlomBear · 20/02/2020 12:29

I went to an interview at an Ark academy for a SCITT. Didn’t like the atmosphere at all, nor the head teacher!

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