I am delighted to report that Ark Blake Academy launched successfully in September 2020 with 180 pupils and an exceptionally strong Founding Team of staff. We have an ambitious and inclusive vision for excellence in our Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. Our vision for Ark Blake’s Culture and Ethos is centred upon our core beliefs and Blake values which provide a powerful and aspirational basis for the personal development of every pupil.
The goals set for each of the four Project Board Meetings (PBs) were met in the pre-opening year[i], culminating in a highly successful Pre-Opening Ofsted Inspection. We were pleased that Catherine Old (HMI) passed Ark Blake as ‘likely to meet expectations’ in every category, with no reservations.
Our pupils attended school for one full induction day on 7th September, with term officially commencing on 14th September 2020. It was a real pleasure to be able to present each pupil with their Ark Blake tie on Tuesday 15th September to mark the start of their journey as an Ark Blake pupil.
Over the first weeks of term we have been focusing on making our pupils feel welcome and confident in returning to school. We have sought to get to know the Year 7s well through setting baseline assessments and sharing this information with teachers. We have been perfecting our routines around the school, including line up and the start and ends of lessons. These routines are helping to create the environment in which pupils will be able to flourish.
Alongside establishing a calm and purposeful environment, we are enjoying providing opportunities that promote enjoyment of school and reward excellent effort and aspiration. Falcon, Eagle and Hawk House events have been taking place and pupils have begun being appointed to positions of responsibility. The first House event of the year is our ‘Music Slam’ singing competition launched in Music Lessons. I enjoyed visiting the classes and have even been tempted to join in the singing! Other events that have taken place include our ‘Spelling Bee’ competition. Pupils have also been gaining merits and House points for demonstrating the BLAKE values in lessons.
My senior team and I are currently completing Ark Blake’s 2020-21 Academy Development Plan and I look forward to sharing this with governors. Ark Blake’s five strategic priorities for this year are:
Firstly, to establish and embed an inclusive Culture and Ethos for Ark Blake, centred on excellence and our Blake beliefs and values.
Secondly, we will establish a consistently high quality of Teaching and Learning that enables all pupils to make rapid and secure progress.
Thirdly, we will plan and implement an ambitious, rigorous and sequential curriculum.
Fourthly, we will ensure the Academy is fully inclusive, and all pupils make rapid and secure progress.
Our fifth priority is to ensure the continuing success and sustainability of Ark Blake Academy over the next five years.
I am very proud of how the Founding Team has risen to the challenge of launching a brand-new school during such challenging times. All members of staff have responded to the challenges faced in the East Croydon community with professionalism and an even greater sense of determination to deliver on our ambitious aims.
I look forward to being able to welcome you to the school to witness our amazing building, staff and pupils at first hand. In advance of this, please take a moment to watch this short video about our school at https://arkblake.org/
Mr Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw | Principal | Ark Blake Academy
[i] Please see P6 Appendix: 2019-20 The Pre-Opening Year