I am writing to introduce myself as the principal of Ark Evelyn Grace Academy, and to share my vision for the future of the school.
I previously co-founded an outstanding Ark school in Brent, Ark Academy, where I served the families and communities of Stonebridge, Harlesden and Chalkhill.
I cannot tell you how excited and honoured I am to serve the families of Brixton. I wish to work with all our parents by building on the firm foundations that already exist; and build and cultivate its reputation for great teaching, exemplary behaviour and unrivalled opportunities beyond the classroom.
Vision for Ark Evelyn Grace Academy
The EGA 'Culture Wheel'
Our core purpose is to educate and teach our students so that they become cleverer and kinder and leave this academy, ready to become the solutions and not the symptoms of any disadvantage that may be found in the community or wider society.
Teaching is indeed a noble profession and to teach in a disadvantaged context is nobler still. However, to simply turn up and teach is never enough. Education is only transformational if every student has a consistent diet of six great lessons every single day. Great schools develop great teachers so that all students might secure the very best outcomes in their chosen subjects. Only then will our students be able to leave this school and compete for the very best positions in their chosen career.
Therefore, it is my job and that of the senior team to create the conditions where every teacher can teach without fear of interruption and to provide the opportunities for every teacher to grow. Great schools should be communities of learners, where no one ever thinks they have arrived and are continuously seeking to improve and advance. No teacher can grow without being observed and observing others as we learn from one another. You would not allow a surgeon to operate on you without being assured that they had years of practice and had observed numerous experts in their field. Teaching may not be life or death, but education can be the difference between great life chances and poor ones. Therefore, we have a duty to be the very best that we can be and provide an equality of opportunity for all our students. The best way to achieve this is through observation, feedback, reading and practice.
Ultimately, we learn best when we learn together and this means that we train, plan, teach, reflect and share…together. There can be no secret gardens where excellent resources or practice is hidden from view. If we are all committed to building the understanding of every student, then we all work together and are consistent in all that we do. That means we are keen to observe and be observed and model the kind of learning dispositions we expect in our students, where they are hungry for advice and guidance on how to get better and gain greater understanding. After all, an outstanding school is simply one that does what it says it does. A policy or handbook should never just sit on a shelf and gather dust, it is a working document that all staff must understand and routinely apply.
Great organizations are consistent, coherent and transparent, where everyone understands their role and their contribution to the whole. This staff handbook is one of several ways of providing the kind of clarity over our responsibilities and procedures that all enable us to work to the very best of our ability.
I intend for Evelyn Grace to be the school of choice in the local community, whose reputation is centred on great teaching, exemplary behaviour and unrivalled opportunities beyond the classroom. This will only be achieved through our collective efforts.
As teachers we know that there is no substitute for hard work and this, above all else, will help our students understand and achieve excellence. We will help each student gain a firm knowledge and understanding so that the passion for their subjects grows and matches that of every one of us.
Schools are not just a place of learning; they are a journey of self-discovery is, intellectual enquiry and growth. That should be as true for every member of staff as it our students. However, this goal is only possible if we work consistently and in harmony.
The journey towards all our futures starts here.
I look forward to meeting you.
Principal, Ark Evelyn Grace Academy