We are a brand new, non-selective, non-denominational secondary school which opened in Ealing in September 2021.
Ark Soane, like all Ark schools, is designed around six core ideas: excellent behaviour; a curriculum that enables student mastery and leads to exceptional results; high quality teaching; development of student character; raising student aspirations; and developing our teachers to become leaders in education.
We are proud to be named after John Soane – the great architect and educator closely associated with this area. He believed that architecture students of his day needed to be well versed in literature, mathematics, classics and history, among other subjects, and that they should explain their ideas with “clearness, correctness and effect”. We aim to provide that standard of education to all our students: a challenging curriculum taught with kindness, with many opportunities for students to express themselves with pride and eloquence.
We know that every child can succeed, and we insist on their success by setting the highest of standards: a commitment to work hard at all times, to learn from every opportunity, and to behave impeccably. We also know that children encounter barriers to their learning and we work with children and their families to overcome these. This combination of high expectations and kind support provides Ark Soane students with every opportunity to succeed.
We know that children are curious, and that they deserve to be stretched with a challenging curriculum that requires effort and resilience. Our curriculum provides a strong foundation to develop students’ knowledge and looks to provoke their curiosity and interest in further study. Our students understand the importance of what they are learning and are prepared to work relentlessly to master that knowledge. We know that struggle is an essential part of learning and we provide additional lessons and support for those who struggle in any topic, so that no child is left behind.
We know that children who love school will be able access the university and career of their choice. We have recruited an outstanding team of passionate and commited founding teachers who are experts in their fields and are determined to foster a love for their subject amongst our children. Our teachers know individual students’ strengths and areas for development and work tirelessly for their success.
We know that children can learn from every activity and every encounter. All Ark Soane children participate in extra-curricular activities that have been carefully designed to grow their independence, their academic skills and their compassion. All children have opportunities to attend universities and meet employers from Year 7 upwards and are supported to meet their ambitious goals for after school.
In September 2021 we opened our doors to 180 Year 7 students, who had the privilege of being the only year group in the school and the opportunity to shape Ark Soane for future generations. This year we are delighted to welcome our third cohort of students to the school and open our full premises.
We are committed to delivering a highly challenging curriculum in a calm and purposeful environment with great teaching, outstanding behaviour, kindness and respect for all our students.
We look forward to welcoming you to our school.
Our mission is to ensure our pupils have the education and character to go on to live happy, fulfilled lives as the drivers of their own destinies.
Our school’s vision is founded on Ark’s six pillars:
1. High expectations – Students have high expectations for everything that they do.
We have the highest expectations of students both academically and in terms of their conduct. All adults expect all children to be able to achieve top grades in external exams, regardless of their starting points, and work “smart” to ensure they do. Along with academic success, Soane pupils are kind individuals who take full responsibility for their choices. Non-academic time is used to make children aware of the breadth of possibilities open to them and raise their aspirations. We use Assemblies, form time, and special events including university visits to teach students about a wide range of careers and connect their choices to their learning, and to demystify the university experience.
2. Exemplary behaviour – Explicit, consistent teaching of routines ensures strong student buy-in and creates a calm, purposeful school.
Ark Soane Academy is a calm, purposeful and well-ordered school. Teachers are consistent in their sky-high expectations of children’s behaviour and explicitly teach of self-discipline, leading children to develop life-long habits of self-control, focus and hard work. All classrooms are ordered and focused to maximise time for learning. Teachers behave in a calm, kind and respectful manner with children, understanding that their role in behaviour management is to emphasise purpose not power, and to communicate why we have the routines we do. Many of our classroom routines will be communicated with non-verbal signals, meaning teacher-talk can remain focused on learning. Teacher consistency means that the vast majority of instructions are met with 100% compliance first time.
3. Depth for breadth – A curriculum full of cultural capital, thoughtful planning and frequent assessment enables exceptional academic achievement.
Our curriculum is rigorously academic that leads to exceptional achievement and full readiness for university regardless of whether students choose that route. The curriculum is Ark-aligned, knowledge rich, contains the “best of what has been thought and said,” and takes inspiration and guidance from the best schools and universities in the world. The timetable is organised so almost all academic subjects are taught daily, with additional time for English, Maths, Science, Humanities and Languages. Frequent reading for 30 minutes with form tutors exposes children to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction and builds cultural capital. The organisation of the school day maximises time for learning, with students receiving homework with a clear purpose to consolidate learning or encourage deliberate practice.
4. Excellent teaching – Teachers are subject experts who plan rigorously, believe in the limitless potential of every child and deliver engaging and energetic lessons to enthuse students.
Every teacher at Ark Soane Academy is a subject expert who believes in the limitless potential of children, and their power as a professional to shape their futures. Teachers carefully adapt curriculum content to the needs of their classes; they consider misconceptions prior to teaching and note down any that come up in their lesson to improve resources for future years. Improving lesson resources is a collaborative effort: after a unit, teachers spend time together discussing how it can be improved. In lessons, teachers are highly responsive to students, and have no distractions from teaching their class: lesson time is sacred. Teachers' excitement and energy enthuses students when grappling with tough subject content, and a ‘culture of error’ is developed, where students are unafraid to make mistakes and teachers are curious about what has led to these misconceptions. Leaders observe and check in with teachers daily to ensure students experience a consistently positive climate for learning.
5. Knowing every child – We focus on every child to ensure that they develop the character and habits needed for success.
At Ark Soane we believe it is essential that every pupil knows and is known well by their teachers. We explicitly teach the mindsets and habits which support pupils’ academic progress and their development as kind, caring individuals who are self-motivated and keen to help others succeed. Our core messages are: work hard, be nice; team beats individual; students have limitless potential; it is always right to take full responsibility; and that students represent the school community at all times. We reinforce these messages in assemblies, tutor time, line-up, and other out-of-lesson times. All teachers “narrate the why” behind the message, and students understand how they will contribute to their success. Positive relationships between pupils and adults reinforce a culture where children are safe and maintain excellent behaviour and a commitment to learning. We value pupils’ wider experiences, providing access to a diverse range of high quality pathways and enrichment.
6. Always learning – Weekly coaching, collaborative planning, high quality teacher training and self-directed CPD motivates teachers to continually improve and commit to teaching for the long term.
Every member of staff deserves to be developed and every teacher can seek to improve the learning experience of their students. Every teacher's development is bespoke, with weekly one-to-one coaching supplemented by weekly whole-staff training. Collaborative planning meetings ensure teachers can deliver excellent lessons and continually improve their practice. Teacher feedback is vital and acted upon: leaders keep their doors open and encourage challenge from others. Leaders receive training in turn, and have ample time to coach, line manage others, deliver training and plan strategically. All staff development is founded on the notion of autonomy, mastery and purpose to ensure we retain teaching and operational staff for the long-term.
Staff culture and organisation – We are honest with each other, support and respect each other, constantly seek to improve and use time effectively.
Ark Soane Academy employs a culture of respectful honesty. We talk about others as if they are in the room. We address all concerns to the individual in the first instance or seek support from our line manager in advance if guidance is required. We never raise a problem without also suggesting at least one specific and actionable solution. There are no lengthy meetings, only professional development and strategic planning. Operational and logistical briefings are shorter than 15 minutes and frequent, so everyone knows what is happening and when. All staff members operate an ‘open door’ policy in their classrooms and offices. Leaders support teachers 100% of the time in front of the children, never undermining colleagues publicly and addressing concerns rapidly and privately. Our school is highly efficient and enables staff to find a good balance between work and home.
Ark Soane Academy is named after Sir John Soane (1753 – 1837) a renowned architect who designed the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Bank of England, where he worked for 45 years. Soane was the Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy and became a knight in 1831. Soane owned a home in Ealing, Pitzhanger Manor, 2 miles from our school site, which he designed and rebuilt. The building remains and is now an art gallery.
- Work hard – we put 100% effort in, every day, to everything we do.
- Be kind – we treat others how we want to be treated.
- Aim high – we all have the potential for greatness: we always strive for it.
Our values are underpinned by responsibility - we remember that each of us is responsible for how we live and can influence our destinies. We are honest with ourselves and each other, and we take pride in ourselves and how we are seen.
All members of the school community know that effort, not intelligence, will lead to exceptional results. Students develop a strong work ethic; they work hard in lessons and do not lose a single minute in off-task behaviour, knowing that their teachers will help to hold them to account. Students accept struggle as a natural part of learning and are driven to succeed, even when it is difficult. They make no excuses.
The value of kindness is explicitly taught and exemplified by students and staff at every opportunity. We know that we learn more as a team – as a class, year group and as a school – and we succeed and fail together. We celebrate the success of our peers and never try to bring other people down. We always have the most generous interpretation of the actions of others. We help others when we can because it is the right thing to do. If others are unkind, we never respond like them: we let a teacher know and rise above it.
Students know that they are the ultimate driver of their lives: their actions and choices lead to their futures, and it is never too late to make a brave choice to change the future. Students never blame others – they focus on what they can control. Our character programme ensures students have the strength to withstand any challenges life throws at them. They understand that by taking personal responsibility they “protect the hive” and can be a stronger cohesive team.