Press release

Successful academy chain to train up a new generation of teachers

ARK Schools, one of the most successful academy chains in the country, has been approved to provide teacher training.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


ARK has today been approved to deliver its own teacher training, as part of the government’s drive to ensure aspiring teachers benefit from the expertise and experience of some of the best in the business.

ARK is one of the country’s top-performing non-selective academy groups, responsible for 27 successful inner-city academies in Birmingham, Hastings, London and Portsmouth. It is renowned for providing children from all backgrounds an exceptional education and real choices about their future.

Chief Executive of the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) Charlie Taylor said:

ARK Schools is one of the most successful academy networks in the country and I am delighted it has decided to develop its own training programmes to grow the next generation of outstanding teachers.

Chief Executive of ARK Lucy Heller said:

I am delighted that ARK has been officially accredited to provide teacher training. This will enable us to develop a pipeline of exceptional teaching talent into our schools. Attracting more ambitious and bright graduates and career switchers will drive up standards for pupils, building on our success from School Direct to date.

ARK’s academies will join the 77 schools in England already approved by the NCTL to deliver initial teacher training. It will work in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University, offering trainees the best possible school-led training enhanced by university input, support and academic accreditation. This September, ARK welcomed 53 trainees through its School Direct programme, and had 20 applications for every place offered.

Dr John Moss, Dean of the Faculty of Education, said:

Canterbury Christ Church University is very pleased to be working as ARK’s partner on its School Direct programme, following its recent accreditation. Our shared vision is about developing outstanding teachers who, with strong support and challenge, make an impact on pupil learning and attainment as soon as they enter the classroom.

As an accredited provider of school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) a school, or group of schools, is responsible for managing all aspects of the teacher training programme, from recruitment and selection to the assessment of trainees. The programme is taught by experienced, practising teachers. The NCTL was set up by the government in April 2013, to improve the quality of the education workforce and drive the shift towards a self-improving, school-led system. By 2016 schools will be properly equipped to provide:

  • initial teacher training
  • continuous professional development
  • school-to-school support
  • the recruitment and training of the next generation of school leaders

ARK Teacher Training will provide recruits with access to more than 1,000 teachers and leaders who have experience of raising standards in some of the most challenging schools and disadvantaged communities.

Aimed at bright graduates with a UK degree or equivalent, recruits will be placed in one of ARK’s academies. Training will be provided not just by teachers in that academy, but from those in the wider network.

Under this government, the best academy chains and teaching school alliances are now playing a greater role in training the next generation of teachers. As the number of SCITTs increase, more teachers will be equipped to deliver the highest standards of education.

Notes to editors

  1. For more information on the school-centred initial teacher training programme, visit the National College website
  2. For more information on School Direct, visit the School Direct website
  3. For more information about ARK Teacher Training visit the ARK Teacher Training website
Published 13 December 2013