WHAT IT IS
A UK school chain and proponent of 'public private partnerships' in education overseas.
Ark was set up by a group of hedge fund managers, following in the footsteps of some charter school chains in the US. It is modelled on one US charter chain, the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools.
What it does
As well as running a chain of 35 state-funded academy schools in the UK, Ark also acts as an 'accelerator' for school privatisation in developing countries.
It has also set up training programmes for school leaders and teachers to push system-wide reform.
It is a pioneer of more digital education in the UK.
Ark has been incredibly influential in the UK and has many political connections. Its co-founder, for example, was until recently lead non-exec director at the Department for Education.
What it says
Ark sees the introduction of more digital technology in schools, through a 'blended learning' model, as a way to 'improve cost efficiency through both staffing and school design efficiencies'.