Director of Digital and Technology



Dear candidate,

I am delighted you are interested in this critical leadership position at Ark.

Ark is one of the country’s most successful multi-academy trusts; running 39 schools, with over 30,000 children, nearly 4,000 staff, and a further 250 network office staff including affiliate ventures Ark Start and Ark Curriculum Plus.  The newly appointed Director will join an organisation with significant scope, resource and ability to affect positive change across education.

Our IT team is made of 80 staff members, with four highly capable senior leaders covering a broad range of IT: from infrastructure, systems and front-line service management, through to data and insights, project/transformation and organisation wide information architecture.  We are proud to have some of the best IT infrastructure in place across a group of schools, strong systems established and some excellent practice.

We are now on an exciting journey to grow, expand and develop our next IT strategy, as the Ark network looks to expand and take advantage of new technologies.  The incoming Director will have a fantastic opportunity to lead this strategy and embed consistently great practice and service across our network.  They will work collaboratively with their senior leaders/Heads of Teams and wider team, as well as closely with the Management Team, myself as COO and the wider organisation.

The role will be based in our network office in White City. A brand-new building with state-of-the-art facilities, including a theatre, cafe space, breakout spaces, roof terrace etc.  Our current working arrangements allow staff to work two days a week in the office, on core ‘together days’, with the remainder from home unless school visits are required.

If you are a motivated leader who is highly capable and driven to improve IT services for schools, including looking at new innovative practice, we would be delighted to talk with you.  We warmly welcome confidential conversations about the role and visits to our schools. If you are interested in finding out more about this opportunity, please contact our specialist search agent for this role, Grace Tattersall, at Anderson Quigley.


Jacqueline Russell
Chief Operating Officer

About Ark

Ark is an education charity that exists to make sure that all children, regardless of their background, have access to a great education and real choices in life. Starting with just one school in 2006, Ark has grown into a network of 39 schools that serves over 30,000 children. Through our ventures we work to reach even more. We are currently opening nurseries through Ark Start and over 300,000 children learn using an Ark curriculum. Last year, despite having more than double the national average of children in receipt of free school meals, our students outperformed the national average at every age and stage. We want to do even more.

Ark values

  • Aim High
    We have high expectations of ourselves and of each other.
  • Be Brave
    We take on challenges and are prepared to say and do difficult things if that’s what’s needed.
  • Be Kind
    We care about what we do and how we work with each other.
  • Keep Learning
    We’re open to new ideas and we learn from our mistakes as much as our successes.

Ark’s Six Pillars

  1. High Expectations
    We believe that every child can achieve great things. So, we set high expectations for all our pupils, and we do whatever it takes to meet them. Our aspirations are no lower for our most vulnerable pupils.
  2. Excellent Teaching 
    A teacher affects a pupil’s achievement more than any other factor. We work side-by-side with teaching staff, supporting them with training and development so that they can deliver excellent teaching. To make sure that no pupil is left behind, we’ve developed data management tools which help teachers to monitor progress — this shows when pupils, or indeed teaching staff, need extra support.
  3. Knowing Every Child 
    We organise our schools so that every child knows, and is known well by, every adult in the school. We also recognise that children do best when families and schools work together. We keep parents well informed about children’s targets, and we involve families in all aspects of school life. To nurture a love of reading and develop fluent communication skills, we also dedicate more time to literacy and English. We make sure that all of our teachers recognise the barriers that children face in building literacy skills, and we offer tools and expertise to enable teachers to best support students who need more help.
  4. Depth for Breadth
    When children build firm foundations in English, maths and other key subjects, they find it easier to do well in other subjects too. That’s why we prioritise depth in these subjects, giving our pupils the best chance of success. We’ve developed Ark Curriculum Plus which aims to improve attainment, enjoyment and confidence in key subjects. Their approach is based on tried and tested methods from around the world and is endorsed by Ofsted. Ark Curriculum Plus has over 1000 Mastery programmes being used across the country in Mathematics, English, Science, History and Geography across primary and secondary schools.
  5. Exemplary Behaviour
    Our schools are characterised by a respectful environment, where teachers can focus on teaching and pupils can focus on learning. We teach, recognise and reinforce good behaviour, and we don’t tolerate poor behaviour. We don’t accept any excuses, and we don’t make any either.
  6. Always Learning 
    To make sure children have enough time both for core subjects and for extra-curricular activities, many of our schools run a longer school day. Others are open at weekends and during school holidays, offering masterclasses and revision sessions. Many Ark schools offer residential stays, day trips and summer schools. In every school, no time is wasted — every hour of every day is devoted to children’s learning.

Diversity and Inclusion

“We aim to build a diverse and inclusive organisation where everyone – staff and students – can do their best work and achieve their full potential. We want to reflect and represent diverse perspectives across our organisation because we know that doing so will make us stronger and more effective.”

We have also pledged to deliver a series of commitments as part of a longer-term diversity and inclusion strategy. These include:

  • Improved representation
    We’re bringing more diversity at every level of our organisation, particularly in senior leadership and governance positions. We’re working to amplify parent voice in our schools and ensure our curriculum meets our students’ needs and aspirations and supports our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We’ve worked to reduce bias in our people processes and further diversify our Local Governing Bodies, Ark’s Programme Boards and the ventures pipeline.
  • Better communication
    We promote and celebrate the diversity of our organisation and have created more opportunities for our staff and wider communities to discuss, engage and share our stories, our hopes and concerns. We have created more learning opportunities and have launched a diversity and inclusion staff network for Ark central staff and provided resources for all Ark schools to do the same.
  • More data
    We are developing and improving our systems to better understand where we are as an organisation and where we need to improve. We are working to deepen our understanding of student and staff experiences and ensuring that we review this information regularly and benchmark ourselves against others where possible.

The role

Director of Digital & Technology (AQ2455)

Apply now

Role: Director of Digital and Technology
Reports to: Chief Operating Officer
Contract: Permanent
Salary: Up to £150,000 (depending on experience)
Pattern: Full Time (standard hours 9am – 5.30pm)


Ark operates a centralised approach to IT with all schools supported by centrally run and managed infrastructure, systems, and services. An opportunity now exists for a dynamic, strategic, and operationally experienced Director of Digital and Technology to join the Senior Team and build on our solid foundations in IT, Systems and Data to create a sector leading approach to digital transformation.

The successful candidate will have proven success in at least one of these areas, with a vision for how they can deliver impact and ensure that digital opportunities can truly enhance the learning experience, boost outcomes for pupils and streamline processes for our staff. There is flexibility to shape the role and spheres of influence based on the experience of the successful candidate.


The Director of Digital and Technology will have the opportunity to lead on all technology aspects for the trust. This includes strategy, systems, cyber security, school-based technology, including the in-house provision of the IT services for all our 39 schools, (serving 30,000 children with over 4,000 staff) as well as supporting the Ark Central team and its ventures, providing data and insights to all key stakeholders and IT project transformation across the organisation.

This role will support the creation of our new education hub in White City, where Ark will relocate in the summer of 2024.

The current technology budget at trust level is £4.6m per annum. Within this, the people budget equates to £3m (circa 80 staff), with a further £1.6m currently provided for the IT, Systems, Data and MIS service provided to our schools. Capital spend is in addition to this. In 22/23, our IT capital spend for the network was £6m. The Director of Digital and Technology will influence, inform, and support the management of this spend.

The ideal candidate will lead a high performing team of technology, data, information, and service specialists. They will have a passion for technology and a belief in the difference it can make to education and operations.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • To be responsible for the formation and delivery of an effective and efficient technology and data strategy that supports our schools and ventures.
    • Lead the trust from a technological perspective, acting as spokesperson and representative internally and externally.
    • Be responsible for all key technical supplier relationships, leading all major technology tenders and building strong partnerships.
    • Oversee the development of a new data warehousing and reporting solution building on the work done with the creation of a new Azure platform.
    • Create and maintain a systems strategy defining a balance between centralised controlled systems and school autonomy. This will include a detailed roadmap, integrations, data flows, and a resource model.
  • To develop sector leading innovative technologies.
    • Develop a structured way to onboard Trust wide technologies that offer evidenced value to the teaching and learning process.
    • Continue to develop and deliver the Trust wide Digital Strategy, working alongside Education Leaders and the Director of Strategy, to develop sector leading technologies to support teachers, reduce workload, improve efficiencies, and raise standards in schools, making use of new AI technologies where appropriate.
    • Bridge the gap between industry and the sector, giving the Trust the opportunity to explore and exploit new innovations.
  • Provide the tools, support, and expertise to enable the Trust to constantly leverage data to improve decision making.
    • Own the approach to on-line Knowledge Management to enable secure and effective communication across the Trust.
    • Develop the insights function with the capability to bring triangulations, insights and visualisation of Trust and school level data to key stakeholders.
    • Be responsible for the School’s Management Information Systems to ensure we comply with statutory responsibilities and provide Principals and Network staff with the information required to lead effectively and efficiently.
    • Digitalise the Trust’s education and operational processes where it offers value to do so, including assessment and monitoring of key performance indicators.
  • Deliver technology foundations (infrastructure, support, and service).
    • Ensure that all parts of the Trust, including pupils and staff, are served with an appropriate device, excellent connectivity, and leading technology and support.
    • Support the IT Service Delivery to our schools, ensuring it continues to be well-led and resourced, with the correct balance of in-house and external provision and continues to deliver to the needs of our schools, balancing service with value for money.
    • Enable the Trust Leaders in users of technology to support teaching and learning.
    • Determine the right balance of the Cloud-First relative to on-premises infrastructure, systems, and software, delivering maximum value for money.
    • Continuously monitor, manage, and minimise the risks to the organisation including all aspects of technology, systems, and cyber security
    • Play a key role in establishing Ark’s base in our EdTech hub in White City.
  • Knowledge and skills
    • Understands both the education and the Multi Academy Trust sector. (desirable)
    • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in a senior IT role in a complex organisation. (essential)
    • Proven track record of leading successful digital transformation projects. (essential)
    • Understand core business processes and associated technical solutions (essential)
    • Have an innovative mindset, looking at new technologies and digital opportunities and be prepared to problem solve and present solutions (essential)
    • Passionate about technology and the opportunities it presents (essential)
    • Experience managing and leading a large and diverse technology team (essential)
    • Proven influencing and collaboration skills (essential)
    • Significant specialist technical background in IT/data and/or digital leadership (essential)
    • Expertise in digital transformation and adoption of cloud/SaaS (desirable)
    • Experience of shared service and/or customer service delivery (desirable)
    • Experience in building and maintaining strong working relationships at a senior executive level. (essential)


  • Highly approachable, very grounded and makes sensible judgments
  • Relishes accountability and takes personal responsibility for their own actions
  • Excellent critical thinking skills; has intellectual curiosity and rigour
  • Able to build trust and mutual respect between team members, MT and wider organisation
  • Strong interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.

Terms of appointment

You’ll be joining a group of like-minded, determined individuals who work collaboratively and are all committed to our core mission, that every child has the potential to succeed. By joining our network team, you can benefit from:

  • 27 days annual leave plus bank holidays, rising with each year of service up to 30 days after 3-years’ service. This entitlement is pro rata for part time employees. This entitlement excludes bank holidays.
  • Full office closure between Christmas and New Year.
  • Hybrid working, with currently two days a week in our state-of-the-art office in West London working alongside colleagues.
  • Regular social events, monthly free breakfast, and daily fruit.
  • A flexible approach to working with understanding and consideration for work life balance and personal commitments.
  • As an Ark employee, you will have the opportunity to be part of the TPT (The Pension Trust) scheme, our workplace pension scheme where we make an 11% contribution; you are not required to contribute towards this scheme unless you choose to. Depending on your role you may also be entitled to LGPS which is a defined benefit scheme where you contribute a percentage based on how much you earn (as do we) in exchange for a guaranteed amount in your pension pot every year.
  • Access to high-quality professional learning throughout your career, offering both face-to-face sessions and a bespoke online learning platform.
  • Access to Ark Rewards scheme offering savings from over 3,000 major retailers, interest-free loans available for season tickets or a bike, gym discounts offering up to 40% off your local gym and free eye tests.

Ark is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people in its academies. In order to meet this responsibility, its academies follow a rigorous selection process to discourage and screen out unsuitable applicants. 

Ark requires all employees to undertake an enhanced DBS check. You are required, before appointment, to disclose any unspent conviction, cautions, reprimands or warnings under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. Non-disclosure may lead to termination of employment. However, disclosure of a criminal background will not necessarily debar you from employment – this will depend upon the nature of the offence(s) and when they occurred. To read more about Ark’s safer recruitment process, please click this link.

We aim to build a diverse and inclusive organisation where everyone – staff and students – can do their best work and achieve their full potential. We want to reflect and represent diverse perspectives across our organisation because we know that doing so will make us stronger and more effective. To know more about Ark’s diversity and inclusion commitments, please click on this link.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to Ark, an executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

The closing date for applications is noon on 12th March, 2024.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of two pages) outlining how you meet the essential experience criteria of the person specification.
  • Please include details of two referees in either your CV or covering letter, though please note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Grace Tattersall at or +44 (0)7510 384 761 or Carolyn Coates at or +44 (0)7825 871 944.


Close of search and advertisement 12th March
Ark first round in-person interviews Monday 8th April with COO and Director of People and Projects
Ark school visits w/c 8th April, exact date TBC
Ark first round in-person interviews Monday 15th April with COO and CEO