Director of Sport & Deputy Directors of Sport

  • Job title: Director of Sport & Deputy Directors of Sport
  • Job Type: Full-time, permanent
  • Salary: Salaries will be competitive and will reflect qualifications, skills and experience
  • Department: Sport and Exercise
  • Reporting to: Deputy Head (Professional)
  • Location: Highgate, North London
  • Start: September 2024 (or earlier depending on the successful applicants' circumstances)
  • Closing Date: 27 November 2023 at 10:00 am
Apply here

Do you want to shape the Sporting provision at a forward-thinking London day school?

Following the departure of our previous Director of Sport (to a promoted position in Dubai), we are looking to restructure and appoint an ambitious new management team for our Sport and Exercise Department. We are excited, therefore, to advertise the following three positions:

  • Director of Sport (in recognition of the senior responsibility involved in this position they will attend the fortnightly Whole School Senior Team Meetings chaired by the Head)
  • Deputy Director of Sport (Senior Sport)
  • Deputy Director of Sport (Teaching & Learning, Staff Oversight and Compliance).

This is an exciting opportunity for experienced managers to play key roles in one of the largest departments at Highgate. The Sport and Exercise (SpEx) department is vibrant and forward-thinking and it has benefitted greatly from significant investment in both its staff and facilities.

We welcome applicants from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. These include the following: leaders of school sports; those with experience of leading and managing complex aspects of a large organisation, and those with high level experience in the sporting community (including national sporting bodies, performance sport or university/other youth sport).

The Department 

We are looking for inspirational leaders to implement our whole school vision for sports and exercise:

  • We want pupils to be active throughout their time at school and to develop a passion for sport and exercise that leads to their continued participation beyond school. This objective will be underpinned by a nurturing and safe culture that promotes fun, friendship and wellbeing.
  • We want high level teams that perform competitively against our peer schools and a performance programme that supports talented individuals. Nevertheless, this will not be at the expense of an inclusive culture that supports all abilities.
  • We want to promote choice and flexibility that lead to successful pathways whilst also being mindful of the issues relating to affordability and consistency in the quality of provision.

We are focused on delivering a truly co-educational programme: children of all genders can access all sports. In particular, we are proud of the recent developments in our provision for girls’ football and cricket, and for boys’ hockey.  We also work hard to promote inclusivity across all sports and are excited by our ‘Sport in Her Shoes’ inclusion project which is supported by The Well HQ.

Sport and Exercise (‘SpEx’) at Highgate has a reputation for excellence and innovation in teaching and coaching and the department consists of 35 colleagues. SpEx at Highgate offers a broad range of sport pathways, a health curriculum, and an extended programme for High Performance Athletes. Tours and trips are a regular feature of the programme as well as showcase events such as award evenings, conferences, and sports days. The department offers a range of opportunities for staff development, and we are keen to see staff grow in their roles and share their expertise with others.

The Department is based around the well-equipped Mallinson Sports Centre (MSC). It is adjacent to the playing fields, near the Junior and Pre-Preparatory Schools and within a few minutes’ walk of the Senior School. The Centre comprises a newly re-built swimming pool, large sports hall, strength & conditioning suite and mezzanine hall. In addition, there is a dance and movement studio, squash and Eton Fives courts. The MSC managers and staff provide a significant programme of community use; they also support pupils’ activities within the Centre and provide administrative assistance. The school has twenty acres of playing fields, including an all-weather pitch, which can accommodate ten netball courts, a full-size hockey pitch, or twelve tennis courts. There is also a multi-use games area which provides six cricket nets, three tennis courts, two netball courts and a hockey training facility. ​

Job Description

All members of the SpEx Management team play a role in delivering the priorities as outlined below.  This will be achieved under the direction and oversight of the Director of Sport who will delegate to the Deputy Directors as appropriate.

Strategic Leadership, Vision and Values 

  • Monitor and implement the vision and values of the department.
  • Draft the Departmental Development Plan (DDP), setting the direction for the journey of the pupils in SpEx, delegating the curriculum to the Heads of Section and fully evaluating the ongoing success of the DDP.
  • Implement the relevant aspects of the School Development Plan targets and provide termly updates for Governors. Prepare reports to update on the progress of the SpEx department.
  • Ensure the School’s priorities and vision feed into all aspects of the SpEx Departments work, including inclusion, diversity, sustainability and affordability.
  • Be responsible for setting the culture and ethos for SpEx across all stakeholders. This should be safe, nurturing, fun and accountable.
  • Keep abreast of developments within youth sports including how other organisations are currently working and player pathways.

Leadership of the SpEx department 

  • Assume responsibility for programme design (i.e. identifying staffing needs, structuring the timetable and assessing demands of each section in line with the DDP).
  • Manage the SpEx timetable to ensure the best outcomes for pupils but balancing this with the competing demands of staff availability and expenditure.
  • Lead the SpEx Management Team, encouraging the group to develop SpEx policies and procedures that prioritise the best learning outcomes for each pupil; review their effectiveness and allocating actions, when necessary, to ensure that the SpEx Department is following agreed best practice and compliant with statutory and School guidance.
  • Lead departmental meetings and use them to ensure the departmental policies and expectations are clear and that there are opportunities for development.
  • Retain oversight of fixtures and competition within the department.
  • The Director of Sport will act as the main link to the Senior Team to ensure that SpEx meets the needs of all three Schools and will attend Whole School Senior Team Meetings.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviours as articulated in the SpEx Management Team competencies grid.

Teaching & Learning

  • Have oversight of Teaching & Learning activities across the department.
  • Define the central role of CPD to the ongoing success of the department and ensure that line managers are focusing on CPD with their team members.

Pastoral Support, Safeguarding and Compliance

  • Ensure sound safeguarding practices are embedded across the department (1 or 2 of the management team will be expected to take on the responsibilities of a Lead DSL).
  • Ensure that GDPR, Health & Safety and any other relevant compliance matters are being successfully managed in day-to-day practice.
  • Act as the key point-of-contact for parental concerns and take appropriate action to respond to any concerns.
  • Ensure the department is inspection ready.
  • Oversee quality control including a thorough approach to risk assessment and management.
  • Ensure that accurate registers are taken for all activities.

Staff Oversight

  • Work closely with HR to define the long-term strategy for recruitment and the financial impact of recruitment options.
  • Oversee the design and review of new roles and recruitment to those roles.
  • Oversee the induction and probation systems for new staff.
  • Manage the role of academic staff on the SpEx programme to include timetabling, tutor allocations, recruitment of new colleagues to support the programme and a personalized support programme for each member of staff.
  • Manage the arrangements for cover in the department, ensuring fair decision-making processes, and delegate support with this task to the SpEx Team Administrator.
  • Have responsibility for staff welfare and employee relations across the team.
  • Line Manage the department to a consistently high standard. This will include: delivering regular and effective appraisal meetings; giving regular informal feedback on performance; supporting staff CPD; pro-actively dealing with any concerns (in line with relevant employment law and best practice with guidance from HR as necessary.)
  • Ensure that appraisals and performance management is delivered effectively and consistently by all line managers in the team.
  • Engage in activities and appropriate training to develop your own competence as a reflective people manager.

Budgeting and Affordability

  • Take accountability for the preparation and ongoing management of SpEx budgets including, but not limited to, the budgets for coaches’ salaries and operations.
  • Maintain an ongoing focus on affordability throughout the department.

Facilities Oversight and Planning 

  • Work closely with the Estates and Capital Projects Teams to work on long-term strategy for facilities and grounds development in line with the long-term plans for the SpEx programme and the School site.

Head of Senior Sports

  • Lead the management and delivery of Sport in Years 7-13, directly line managing a large and committed team of professionals leading each of our Sports.
  • Design the Sport curriculum ensuring clear pupil outcomes/experience and curricular overview for staff to follow.
  • Maintain oversight of all logistics associated with Senior School Sport, working closely with the Head of SpEx Operations.
  • Retain oversight of pupil opportunities in competitive sport, both inter- and intra-school.
  • Support all colleagues working on the Sport programme in the Senior School to ensure a consistent and effective delivery of sport for Senior School pupils.



  • Holistic oversight of educational trips and tours.
  • Prepare or sign-off materials to be used in marketing and admissions activities.
  • Advise on opportunities for the commercial development of SpEx-related activities, including those relating to the MSC and wider facilities developments.
  • Support the work of the Admissions Department by, for example, attending Admissions events, Open mornings as required and responding to enquiries from prospective parents.
  • Oversight of liaison with and the offering for OC Sport.
  • Oversight of other aspects of school life such as colours and SpEx uniform.
  • Represent the School at Haileybury and Eton Groups and other professional bodies/groups, as required.
  • Delegate staff to, and participate in, key events including: SpEx tours, Information Evenings, Parents’ Consultation Evenings, and events.
  • A range of duties are expected of all teachers/coaches including monitoring pupil attendance and progress. Also, communicating effectively with parents and Heads of House/Year regarding pupil progress and participation.

In General:

Highgate School seeks to appoint teachers/coaches who will have, in addition to the professional qualities outlined below, the following proven personal qualities, or the potential to develop them. At interview, candidates will have the opportunity to demonstrate or give an account of these attributes.

  • Profound and continuing interest in the subject/s to be taught.
  • The depth of knowledge and agility of mind to allow flexibility in lessons, adapting delivery as appropriate in the light of pupils’ responses.
  • Empathy with pupils across the age and ability spectrum at Highgate and the ability to implement a range of teaching strategies to cater for each individual pupil.
  • Capacity to deal sensitively with problems raised by pupils, in line with Highgate’s pastoral policies and sanctions system, working in partnership with Highgate’s designated staff i/c pastoral care.
  • Ability to create effective rapport and a sound relationship with pupils, earning their respect and trust but maintaining proper professional boundaries by not deliberately courting popularity or friendship.
  • Dynamism and enthusiasm to contribute broadly to the life of a busy co- educational independent day school.
  • Willingness to contribute to the extensive range of activities provided for pupils and to support them in their co-curricular pursuits.
  • Capacity for industry and initiative in both independent work and as part of teams of colleagues in academic work, pastoral care, sports and co-curricular activities.
  • Awareness and understanding of matters relating to the personal, social, health and emotional development of pupils.
  • Willingness and ability to liaise effectively and professionally between pupils, staff and parents when required, making accurate records of these exchanges.
  • Patience and thoughtfulness to see any issues that may arise with pupils, parents or colleagues from a variety of perspectives.
Person Specification

Members of the SpEx Management Team are the figureheads for sport and exercise in our community. The successful candidates will be enthusiastic, motivational and have a genuine passion for sport. They should have a clear understanding of our vision for the future of co-educational sport at Highgate and a plan for how to deliver it. They will be expected to drive forward our whole-school priorities (most notably in relation to equity, inclusion, diversity, sustainability and affordability.)  They will promote kindness, positive relationships, and health and wellbeing in all their actions.

The ideal candidates will have outstanding organisational and people management skillset. It would also be beneficial for candidates to have experience of working in complex departments and dealing with recruitment, facilities and budget management. They should be flexible, resilient and outstanding team leaders. A key aspect of the roles will be outstanding communication skills and an ability to interact well with pupils, parents, staff and alumni (OCs). In their roles, they will act as role models and will provide a visible, inspiring and nurturing presence to all members of our community.


Support | A welcoming, comfortable and exceptionally well-resourced environment with significant assistance from a range of support staff.

Pension | The School pays the employer’s contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

Professional development | Comprehensive induction. Focus on continued learning and development for all employees.

Holidays | Terms are shorter than in the maintained sector.

Location | Highgate Village, adjacent to Hampstead Heath, with quaint shops and easy connections across London.

Facilities | Free access, at stipulated times, to our sports facilities, including a fitness suite and new swimming pool. Staff can borrow from 1,700 books held in the Sir Martin Gilbert Library.

Lunch | Free tea and coffee A complimentary lunch including hot meals, sandwiches, salads, fresh fruit and dessert.

Sustainable travel | Access to the Cycle to Work Scheme and a Season Ticket Loan scheme for public transport.

Flexible working | Flexibility for parents, enhanced maternity pay and paid dependant leave.

Working at Highgate

A culture of community, kindness and belonging

Highgate is a caring, open-minded community, where we promote kindness, empathy and friendship. Everyone who works and studies with us deserves to feel they are part of a welcoming environment that enables them to be themselves and to thrive as individuals.

Our community extends beyond the school, through partnerships, charity work and our commitment to equality, inclusion and sustainability. All members of our school community are encouraged to look outwards and play an active role.

In a recent ISI inspection (Dec 2021), it was noted that “Pupils show exceptional respect for, and appreciate diversity within the school and wider community, and their own and other cultures, demonstrating sensitivity and tolerance to those from different backgrounds and traditions.”

Staff wellbeing

Highgate is committed to staff wellbeing, which we promote by encouraging a strong work-life balance; trying our best to support flexible working requests; providing a nutritious complimentary lunch in the dining hall; and offering access to sporting facilities including our recently renovated swimming pool.

The Staff Wellbeing Committee, with representatives across the School, meets regularly to drive forward initiatives, and a selection of staff have been trained as Mental-Health First Aiders.

We encourage an open culture throughout our school, with regular staff surveys, action committees and opportunities to feedback. We strive for continual learning and improvement, and staff training and development is paramount. There are opportunities to participate in the wider life of our school, such as taking part in trips or societies and getting involved in partnership projects.

More details about working at Highgate can be found here:

Work with us    Aims + Ethos

Charitable work and sustainability

As an independent school, we want to use our position as a charity effectively: to make high-quality education accessible to as many children as possible – through our bursary programme at Highgate and through our work with local state schools. We have partnerships with over 60 state schools across 7 London boroughs, and we are the principal educational sponsor for London Academy of Excellence, Tottenham – an academically-selective state sixth form in a community where such opportunities are lacking.

Alongside this, our staff and pupils undertake charitable activities throughout the year. These range from staff giving up their time to neighbourhood schools and charitable organisations, focused fundraising campaigns, to pupils undertaking community work in the local area or further afield.

As a school, we have a central role to play in educating our pupils, staff and parents about the importance of environmental sustainability. We are taking positive action to adapt our operational performance to tackle the negative effects of climate change. We encourage all our staff to reflect upon their personal and professional practices, to support our environmental agenda and to make positive changes wherever possible.

Application procedure

  • Closing Date: 27th November 2023
  • Timing of interviews: Week beginning 27th November and 4th December

If you wish to be considered for a specific position, such as Director of Sport, please make this clear in your application. Otherwise, you will be considered for all three positions as we appoint a new team.

The closing date for receiving applications for the three roles is Monday 27 November.  We retain the right to re-advertise the post at a later date if we feel that the early timescale for the advert has reduced the field of applicants. The first round of the selection process is likely to be held late in the week beginning 27 November at times to be agreed with candidates. It is likely to involve an interview and written exercise. Given these timings, candidates should expect to hear about their progression to the first round early that week and interviews are likely to take place on Zoom.  The final round, with the short-listed candidates, is likely to be in the week beginning 4 December. This is likely to involve observed teaching/coaching, interview, presentation and tour.   

Contact: Graeme Robertson, Deputy Head (Professional), is happy to answer any questions about this post.

Apply here


We know that more diverse teams are stronger teams, and that the more inclusive we are, the more our staff and pupils will feel a sense of belonging and will thrive. To enable us to make reasonable adjustments, please let us know of any disabilities (including neuro-divergence) when you submit your application.


As this role will have regular unsupervised contact with children you must, if appointed, comply with Highgate’s Safeguarding Policy and Staff Code of Conduct. If in the course of carrying out the duties of the post the post holder becomes aware of any actual or potential risks to the safety and welfare of our pupils, these concerns must be reported immediately in accordance with the Safeguarding Policy.  If whilst in the post, Highgate becomes aware of any safeguarding concerns to staff, pupils or the community; these will need to be followed up in line with the safeguarding policy and code of conduct which is underpinned by KCSIE and other legislation. These concerns may need to be shared with other agencies.  A copy of these policies will accompany all offers of employment. Training will also be provided to all staff to support Safeguarding practice.

Please read before you apply

Highgate is committed to the safeguarding and welfare of children and applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to this post, including checks with past employers, the Disclosure and Barring Service and overseas police check if necessary. Candidates from overseas must provide information about their past conduct, for example, by providing documents issued by overseas teaching authorities. DBS Privacy Policy

Please note that this role is ‘exempt’ from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore, you are required to declare any convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings that are not ‘protected’ (i.e. filtered out) as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013). Shortlisted candidates will be asked to provide details of all unspent convictions and those that would not be filtered, prior to the date of the interview. DBS Code of Practice

In accordance with the latest guidance from KCSIE, we shall be conducting online searches on any candidates who are shortlisted.

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