Hear from our teachers
Mr Welsh is a Year 2 teacher at Ark Conway. He joined as a teaching assistant in 2012, and today he is the school’s literacy lead and Lead Teacher.
In 2016, Ark Conway received the best Key Stage 1 results in the country and a 100% phonics check pass rate for the second year running. These outstanding results are a testament to the hard work of the school’s staff, who have a real passion for teaching. Everyone’s on board and it feels like you’re working in a really strong team.
“I chose to work here because it was a starter academy and a small school. I liked the idea that I could make a difference and progress as the school grew.”
Ark Conway has a strong spirit of collaboration, and teachers are supported to make a difference. The school’s successful co-teacher programme has seen outstanding graduates prepare for a career in teaching by spending a year working alongside teachers, before joining Ark Teacher Training.
All teachers at Ark Conway are observed by a member of the leadership team once a week, who set one clear, achievable action point to help staff get to the next level of their practice. There is a culture of constant development and training.
“There’s support on a daily basis - you can talk to anybody and they’ll help you. You can ask to do specific courses. My career has really progressed, and has done so in a way that means I can be confident in my abilities.
I’ve had the best experience over the last four years, and I know it’s just going to get better and better. I’ve never had a job I’ve absolutely loved before. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
Ms Collins is a Year 4 teacher at Ark Conway. She is also a Science Lead and a Teaching Coach.
“It’s my first year as an NQT, so I have a lot of responsibility for someone with my experience. Ark often give teachers responsibility early on in their careers and train them well.”
New teachers at the school are introduced to the ‘Conway lesson’, which combines behavioural strategies and teaching techniques. These are applied throughout the school. Pupil behaviour and engagement in learning is excellent, giving teachers more time to focus on teaching.
“In so many schools, teachers can spend 30 minutes a day just controlling a class. That wouldn’t happen at Conway. A lot of the hard work has been done for you. We have a school-wide policy and it is applied consistently.”
Teachers have two afternoons per week for planning, CPD happens every Monday and there is in-school training once a week. The school also fosters a culture of praise.
“We have weekly ‘Shout Outs’ in our staff meetings. If you think someone has done something great that week, you can give them a shout out in front of the rest of the teaching staff and that’s really nice.
There’s also a weekly yoga class for teachers, get-togethers at the end of each term, and parties at Christmas and party.
I would recommend working at Ark Conway. There’s a lovely small-school environment and atmosphere, along with the support of being part of a massive network. That’s the best of both worlds.”