Sarah Edwards - Literacy Lead Teacher

 

Why did you become a teacher?

I used to work in museums and archives.  We did a lot of outreach work with schools and I really enjoyed working with the children – so after eight years I decided to retrain.

What was your route into teaching?

I did a PGCE at Birmingham City University – there were two placements as part of that – one in Walsall and one in Wolverhampton.  My first job was in this school for four years before it became an academy, and now we’re just coming to the end of our second year as ARK Tindal Primary Academy.

What have been the biggest changes that you’ve seen since the school become ARK Tindal?

Behaviour has improved hugely – I think it’s because we have really strong systems in place and that’s been from day one.  The transition itself was a very positive process – the children had a new school uniform which made them feel like it was a fresh start.  The whole school was also redecorated so the staff felt like it was a fresh start as well.

ARK Tindal is a community – and the children are the priority.  Everybody who works here is doing it for the children.  There are incredibly high expectations, of the children and the staff, and it’s been like that from day one.  That doesn’t change, and it shouldn’t - it’s hard work but the results speak for themselves – the children are doing so well.  It’s a pleasure to work here.

What’s the best thing about ARK as an employer?

The training and access to support.  I’ve had a huge amount of training since we became ARK Tindal in September 2012 – and all of it has been quality training.  The majority of it is delivered in house and it is good.  ARK also works very closely with providers such as Ruth Miskin Training – the reading programme – but they don’t just buy training courses – they work with the providers to develop programmes that teachers in ARK Schools need.  It’s really very good.

Is it helpful being part of the ARK network?

Being part of a network is a positive thing.  We often talk about other ARK schools and what they’re doing – because we want to do well - it’s slightly competitive in a positive way!  We have training and meetings together – it’s lovely to be a part of that but ARK Tindal is definitely my home.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for ARK Tindal?

We’ve made huge progress – so the challenge is maintaining that progress and continuing to improve. 

What is it about ARK Tindal that makes you get up in the morning and come to work?

The children.  They are amazing.

What do you like doing outside of work?

I travel from Shropshire so I don’t have very much time - I actually bought my house in Shropshire with the intention of finding a job closer to home but after the transition to ARK I enjoyed it so much that I stayed!  I also do yoga – and we’re just starting a yoga class for staff here in the school twice a week so I’m doing that. 

 

Deborah Texeira - Key Stage 1 Lead Teacher

Why did you become a teacher?

I’d always wanted to be a teacher but I didn’t have the qualifications I needed to go to University.  I did a variety of jobs after I left school but I’d always liked working with children so I thought I should give myself a proper chance.

What was your route into teaching?

I went to University when I was 28 – I worked part time and went to do an access course – then went to university in London and trained to be a teacher. 

When did you start working for ARK?

I started last April (2013) – before that I worked for two independent schools over the course of five years.  Prior to that I worked in state schools in Acton and Richmond in London.

What appealed to you about working in an ARK school?

I did a lot of research on the internet and I really liked the ethos – the fact that ARK helps the most deprived children.  I thought I could make a real difference and give something back.  The fact that ARK works around the world also really appealed to me.

Do you think it’s beneficial to be part of the ARK network?

Absolutely.  Within three days of starting I was at the leadership talk with John McCarthy (Britain’s longest held hostage in the Lebanon hostage crisis) and being introduced to the ARK senior management team.  I had a real sense that I’d joined something that felt small and friendly – but that is big at the same time.

What’s the best thing about ARK as an employer?

I’m being trained within an inch of my life – the opportunities are fantastic.  I’m doing an NPQML (National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership) which I’m really enjoying.  We get to meet with people from the other schools and you build a network which is not something that I’ve experienced in other schools.  In a year I’ve done more than I did in the ten years of my previous teaching.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for ARK Tindal?

I think it’s raising the attainment because many of our children have lower than average starting points – so the priority has to be getting them to where they need to be before they leave us.  But as our current Reception and Year 1 come through, who’ve been with ARK from the beginning, I think that will start to change.

What’s the one thing that gets you out of bed in the morning to come to work?

The children - and the fact that every day is different - Rebecca (head teacher) is very good at getting us involved in lots of things. 

What do you like doing outside of work?

Well Alice who is our housekeeper is a virtuoso violinist and she’s teaching me the violin – she also teaches the children but I’ve started having lessons with her after school.  I’m also a really keen gardener so I like to grow things, and to cook – I trained as a chef for three years before becoming a teacher so I love to cook – I’m a creative person.