Hints & Tips

Top tips for a great teacher training application

By | Hints & Tips

We often get asked ‘what makes a great teacher training application?’ While the experience and passion will have to come from you, we’ve come up with five simple tips to make sure you can avoid the easy mistakes and submit the best application you can. 

1. Think carefully: Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers, but can also be incredibly challenging. We’re looking for people who are really sure this is what they want to do and know this is the right career for them, as well as being sure they support our mission. If you’re invited to an assessment day with us, you’ll need to be ready to talk about this clearly and passionately.

2. Get some hands-on experience: The best way to prepare for a career working with young people is to gain experience of working with young people. Whether that’s securing some experience in your local Ark school, or coaching sport to young people in your community, it’s all useful experience which will help to strengthen your application.

3. Do your homework: There are many ways to train as a teacher so we want to hear why you want to train with Ark Teacher Training in particular. As part of our recruitment process, we’re also looking for evidence that you understand Ark as an organisation and the context which we work in. We recommend taking a look through our website and watching this video to learn more about the work we do.

4. Dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s: Read our eligibility criteria carefully to ensure you meet our requirements for the programme and be proactive in filling in any missing gaps, particularly if you completed your qualifications outside the UK. You’ll also need to complete a subject knowledge test if you pass our eligibility screening, so be sure to spend some time looking at the curriculum of your chosen subject.

5. Practise and perfect: Alongside the subject knowledge test, you’ll complete a situational judgement assessment, which looks at how you’d react in different school situations. There are some sample questions for this on our website, which you can use to practise. We’d also recommend practising for your interview with us, if you’re invited to an assessment day, so you can answer our questions confidently.

Followed our tips and ready to submit your application? Apply today and join us in transforming lives through education. 

Teacher Training applications – a step-by-step guide and what happens next?

By | Hints & Tips

It may seem complicated and long-winded, but applying is easy! Follow our step-by-step guide to complete your application and read on to find out what to expect after you hit submit.

Step 1: Before you apply, check you meet our programme criteria. Any questions? Get in touch.

Step 2: Decide what you want to teach and where. We offer a wide-range courses from primary to physics, music to MFL, in four locations across the UK.

Step 3: Complete our online eligibility form and apply via our website


Step 3: Search for Ark Teacher Training on UCAS via our provider code 1CS. Fill out your application which will include writing a personal statement, listing references and completing a professional skills test.

Step 5: Apply!

So, what happens next?

You’ll have to complete a couple of online tests, this includes a subject knowledge test and situational judgement test (you can try out a few practice questions).

If you pass the online screening, you’ll be invited to an assessment day, this consists of a pre-prepared presentation and an interview with our recruitment team.

If you’re successful at the assessment day, you’ll be invited to a school assessment, where you will visit your potential training school to deliver a short lesson and have an interview with a member of the senior leadership team.

If you’re successful at the school assessment – congratulations! You will receive a conditional offer from our recruitment team.

Before you start in the classroom in September, you will have:

  • Tutor induction meeting
  • School orientation experience
  • Two-week summer school

Ark Teacher Training is committed to safeguarding students in our partner schools. As part of your assessments and checks you will be asked to completed an enhanced DBS check as well as other background checks and questions focused on the protection of students.

Why choose School Direct?

By | Hints & Tips

Ark Teacher Training is a school-led teacher training programme known as School Direct. The School Direct programme is suitable for both recent graduates and career changers. Two main types of funding are available for Ark Teacher Training via School Direct: bursaries for recent graduates and salaries for career changers.

As a School Direct trainee, you will complete your training in a school of your choice, whilst also gaining experience in other schools during your training. You will be in the classroom from day one, but we won’t throw you in at the deep end. You’ll receive 500 hours of face-to-face training, focusing on both theory and practice, as well as support from in-school coaches, a dedicated tutor and education experts throughout your training.

_dsc9696Unsure if School Direct is right for you? Hear from our trainees…

“I knew that my strength and comfort was in university life. What I really needed, was lots and lots of practice at teaching. Being fully immersed in life at Ark Conway has been a great decision!” – Stephen Rodwell, primary trainee, Ark Conway Primary Academy.

“The availability of the salaried route through School Direct made my career change from journalist to teacher possible, otherwise it wouldn’t have added up financially.” – Chris Gray, primary NQT and former Ark Teacher Training trainee, Ark Oval Primary Academy.

“I chose the School Direct route because I wanted to be embedded in a school and gain a more realistic perspective on teaching life. It seemed like a practical route with a lot of support. There are a lot of benefits including: getting to know the school and pupils really well, being supported by many people but in particular my coach and also the weekly training sessions where we can combine theory and practice.” – Kate Henney, English trainee and recent graduate, Burlington Danes Academy.

“I was looking for the route into teaching that would give me the best training possible. Initially I wasn’t sure what the best route for me would be, but as I found out more about School Direct and Ark Teacher Training, I made up my mind. I’m very happy I did because now, I can’t imagine a better way to train.” – Tom Ding, maths teacher and former Ark Teacher Training trainee, Ark Academy.

“School Direct was right for me because I’d already been to university and felt very secure in my subject knowledge so was eager to get as much experience in the classroom as quickly as possible. However, my aim was to become an outstanding teacher and to do this you also need to look deeply into the pedagogy of great teaching practice. School Direct perfectly balances the theory and practical sides to the training so that, in my opinion, you’re able to progress at the optimum rate. For example, during my training year I was in the classroom 5 days per week but with Thursday afternoons ring-fenced for a training session. This was invaluable in helping me work through any challenges I had in the classroom while still giving me plenty of time to put everything into practice in school.” – Brett Johal, English teacher and former Ark Teacher Training trainee, Ark Globe Academy.

“I liked the idea of becoming an important part of a school, not just a short-term figure. The relationships I have built with parents and families have been really valuable and the School Direct route helped support that.” – James Merel, primary trainee, Ark Academy.

“I chose the School Direct route because I wanted to get into the classroom as quickly as possible. I also wanted to train with Ark, as I was really impressed with them.” – Vicky Cartwright, English trainee and career changer, Ark All Saints Academy.

Ready to apply? Find out more here

Our tutors’ top tips for your first term

By | Hints & Tips, Our Trainees

Starting the first term of your teaching career can be a daunting experience. We asked our Ark Teacher Training tutors Hannah, Jacynth and Michael to give you their top tips for making your September the best it can possibly be!

1. Always have the seating plan with you.

In the first couple of weeks this will really help you to learn the pupils’ names. Get to know your pupils, get to know how they feel about school and your subject, what they like, what helps them learn and what their aspirations are.

2. Always eat lunch.

You need to make sure you keep your energy up and eating lunch is a vital part of that. Teachers can’t survive on coffee alone! Make big batches of nourishing food to freeze, take it into school for lunch or eat it at home to prepare for an evening marking session.

3. Get to know everyone in your school.

From your department to the reception staff, from pastoral leads to school keepers. Make friends with everyone, it will provide you with a rewarding sense of community and you never know who you’ll need to call on for help.

4. Use your fellow trainees and teachers.

Share ideas for lessons and resources. Get excited about teaching together. You are not alone and there are plenty of people around to help and give you advice, guidance and feedback when you need it.

5. Script and practise as much as possible.

Standing in front of a class of 30 students for the first time can be intimidating. By preparing and practising what you’re going to say and do, nerves are less likely to get the better of you.

6. Be disciplined with your ‘free’ time in school.

Social conversations with colleagues are important (see tip 3), but keep an eye on the clock and set realistic time targets for given tasks in between lessons and before and after school.

7. Get into good life habits, now.

Have at least one weeknight and one day at the weekend completely off work. See your friends, do some exercise, sleep!

8. Don’t forget to smile!

Good luck in your first term and remember to enjoy it!