Life at Ark William Parker Academy

Alice Whitby, Head of Literacy, relocated from London to work at Ark William Parker Academy in Hastings last year. We spoke to her about her life in Hastings and what it’s like to work at Ark William Parker.

How did you come to relocate to Hastings and work at Ark William Parker?

Alice Whitby

Alice - I joined Ark William Parker in September 2016 as Head of Literacy. Prior to that, I was working at a school in London as a Literacy Coordinator. When I first arrived, I immediately liked the atmosphere of the school, in a weird way it felt like home!

Ark William Parker Academy is an all boys’ school. What are your students like?

Alice -  Previously I’d always taught at co-ed schools, so thought it might be strange teaching at a boys’ school, but I don’t really notice it!  Our students are hilarious! They’re vibrant and love being taught. They’re very proud to be Ark William Parker students.

What about the staff?

Alice - The staff at Ark William Parker are great. The whole leadership team are very encouraging. Our Regional Director, Jane Fletcher, is phenomenal to work for, I’ve become a much stronger leader because of her. My Head of English is really experienced too, she knows exactly what to do, how to cope with curriculum changes and how to support us as a team.

Alice - It’s not just the leadership - our Learning Support Assistants and Teaching Assistants have lots of experience and know the school and the students so well - I’m learning a lot from them.

What does Ark William Parker have to offer its staff?

Alice – There’s so much support here.  It’s geared towards helping you and the school get better. It’s great being part of the Ark network, there are people at the central office who have already done your job, so can give you the help and guidance you need. I’m learning something every day here. Whilst being supported, there’s also a lot of autonomy in my role, I’m trusted to know what I’m doing.

Alice -  There’s a strong focus on professional development at the school. Every Wednesday afternoon we have CPD sessions and the topics can vary from co-planning to assessment software. Regardless of the subject, they’re always practical and helpful. The school is dedicated to career progression. As a middle leader, I’m being nurtured and prepared to take a step up to Assistant Principal. I like that there’s a clear career path for me and I can see where I’m going.

Tell us about Hastings? What’s it like to live here?

Alice - It's really cool actually. The restaurants are great here and the old town is absolutely stunning. There are still loads of cool things I’m slowly finding out about the town. I’m loving living by the sea, it’s really good for you and I feel genuinely happier.

Alice - Another plus of living in Hastings - I live just a 10-minute drive from the school! Which is a big difference to my hour commute on public transport I had in London!

What would you say to someone considering a career in Hastings with Ark?

Alice - I’d definitely recommend moving to Hastings. You feel like you’re really part of something here, both as part of the town and the school. I took the leap and it totally paid off.

Interested in working at Ark William Parker Academy? View our current vacancies