Ark Evelyn Grace Academy

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Ark Evelyn Grace Academy is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Principal Tim Dainty
The academy was awarded the PTI Subject Leadership
Mark 2020 for outstanding subject leadership in science
Situated in the heart of Lambeth, South London, Ark Evelyn
Grace Academy proudly serves the diverse community in
which it is based. With a leadership team that believes
that excellent teaching and learning coupled with exemplary
behaviour enables every student to secure strong outcomes, no
matter what their starting point, the school has seen impressive
progress in recent years. Principal Tim Dainty charts the school’s
progress in more detail below.
When I became principal, one of my first tasks was to make changes to improve
behaviour and teaching and learning. Despite the challenges, we have worked
extremely hard over the past three years to raise education standards, secure
exemplary behaviour and drive academic success as we journey towards becoming
an “outstanding” school.
Our mission is to provide a transformational education that enables our
students to live happy and fulfilling lives. We have put immense work and focus
into restructuring lessons, redefining and strengthening our curriculum and
implementing firm behaviour expectations and routines for our students, all things
which work towards realising our motto of “cleverer and kinder every day”.
A new culture
The first change we had to make concerned behaviour, an essential foundation for
learning. Key to this was the implementation of a new structure. We believe that
»Principal: Tim Dainty
»Founded in 2008
»Location: Brixton, London
Borough of Lambeth
»Type of school: Secondary
»No. of pupils: 520
»EGA is part of the ARK family
of schools which are intent on
transforming lives in
challenging contexts
Ark Evelyn Grace
Highlighting best practice
students want to succeed, work hard
and follow their teachers’ instructions.
The most common reason for students
not complying with instructions is
that they either have not heard the
instruction or understood it. Therefore,
we believe that teachers must be exact
about what a student is to do. From
the moment students arrive at school
until they leave at the end of the
day, we have set clear and consistent
expectations. These are followed and
implemented by staff and are displayed
around the academy for students to
understand what is required of them.
By creating a coherent and centralised
behaviour system, and clearly
communicating these expectations to
students, we were able to drastically
improve behaviour. Punctuality and
behaviour have both improved,
and we now have an extremely
safe environment in which learning
can take place. Having achieved
this, we could move our focus to
Developing our curriculum
The quality of education has
significantly improved as a result of the
work that has gone into our curriculum
development. Our curriculum now
supports students to build the skills,
knowledge and cultural capital needed
to close educational gaps and to create
opportunities for future success. We
designed and wrote a vision for this
curriculum, which we delivered to all
stakeholders, and established a clear
set of priorities: “Know it, Say it, Write
it, Do it”. One of the main issues our
students struggle with is vocabulary,
and this has been a major focus of our
curricular changes and whole school
strategies as a result.
Another key change was implementing
a progression-planning model. We
identified the essential knowledge for
each subject in each year, sequencing
this knowledge in a scheme which aids
understanding for our students. This
complements our focus on mastery
and the framing of our curriculum
around “fertile questions”. This
involves structuring all of our schemes
of learning around questions to
stimulate our students’ curiosity and
develop their individual learning.
Beyond the curriculum itself, we have
implemented a varied enrichment
programme which allows students
to develop their talents beyond the
classroom setting. All Key Stage 3
students attend at least one after-
school enrichment activity each
week while students benefit from a
wide range of learning experiences
ranging from horse riding to theatre
workshops with the Old Vic, to
mentoring with business leaders and
“I would recommend
EGA to other parents
because the academy
has an extensive
curriculum” – Ms Barret,
parent at EGA
Our mission is
to provide a
education that
enables our
students to live
happy and
fulfilling lives
Supporting our teachers
As well as developing the curriculum,
we have also studied and improved
the way it is taught. To do this, we
identified key components of what
makes great teaching and how we
build student understanding. They
are as follows: explanation, checking
for understanding, modelling and
scaffolding, deliberate practice,
“making it stick” and four-part lessons.
To support these key components, we
use a coaching model which is informed
by that used in the Uncommon Schools
in the United States. This, coupled
with our use of the Great Teacher
Rubric, enables our teachers to set
themselves very precise ways in which
they can develop their practice and set
themselves the highest standards.
To ensure teachers have time to adapt,
we only focus on a few strategies at
a time and train, monitor, feedback
and coach until we can see that skill is
embedded by all our teachers. These
skills might include “cold calling”, the
way students transition into their lessons
or how we pose questions. Whatever
it is, we do not move on until all staff
members have acquired the skill.
We work tirelessly in teaching, guiding
and supporting all our students, so
that they may go on to secure a good
career or a place at a good university
and ultimately compete for the very
best positions in their chosen careers.
We know there is no substitute for
hard work and this, above all else,
will help our students understand and
achieve excellence.
Creating opportunities to
As a member of our community of
learners, our students are given regular
and precise feedback so that they can
develop and progress. We will help
each student gain a firm knowledge
and understanding so that the passion
for their subjects grows and matches
that of their teachers.
As a staff body, we are driven to
stretch and challenge all of our
students to become better people
so that they can make a positive
contribution to the academy and wider
community. We want our students
to leave this academy having become
both cleverer and kinder people.
To achieve this, we give them a
consistent diet of great teaching,
along with a range of opportunities
for leadership, responsibility and
personal development both in and
out of the classroom. We have a
character curriculum that is delivered
explicitly through tutor time. In these
lessons, students explore and develop
their circle of character strengths.
This informs the language that we
use when talking to our students and
rewarding them.
We are very proud of our students.
They do not all have easy lives, and
we work very hard to give them the
conditions in which they can flourish.
The journey has been arduous, but this
is exactly what we are achieving now.
Our curriculum
now supports
students to build
the skills,
knowledge and
cultural capital
needed to close
educational gaps
and to create
opportunities for
future success
EGA was awarded the
Inclusion Mark flagship
status for the 2nd year

This article was sponsored by Ark Evelyn Grace Academy. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.