Head of Admissions

  • Job title: Head of Admissions
  • Job Type: Full time, Permanent
  • Salary: £58,500 - £65,500 depending on skills and experience.
  • Department: Admissions
  • Reporting to: Assistant Head (Communications)
  • Location: Highgate, North London, Bishopswood Road site / Hybrid working
  • Start: February/March 2024
  • Closing Date: 4 December 2023 at 9:00 am
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Are you an empathetic leader with excellent organisation and customer service skills?

This is an opportunity for a forward-thinking professional to fulfil a key ambassadorial and leadership role for a leading School and Charity. Don’t be put off by the job title. Experience of Admissions work is not essential; indeed we are actively keen to meet applicants who are able to demonstrate transferable skills from areas outside Admissions and a school environment.

We’re looking someone who has the ability to oversee multiple projects simultaneously, while balancing the need to think about strategic objectives and balance the day-to-day customer experience journey. A “people-person” who is empathetic when managing and collaborating with colleagues during exceptionally busy periods, who is robust in making tough decisions and can handle difficult conversations with tact and diplomacy.

The Head of Admissions leads our skilful and helpful Admissions team, working closely with families of applicants, guiding them from initial enquiry through to the induction of new pupils. If this sounds interesting, we hope to meet you!


The Department

The Admissions team are responsible for leading and co-ordinating the admission of pupils to Highgate’s over-subscribed Pre-Prep, Junior and Senior Schools, work which is crucial for the ongoing success of the school. We are in the fortunate position of being heavily over-subscribed with between 5 and 11 applicants per place (dependent on the age group).

Led by the Head of Admissions, the team consists of six members of staff who each have clear responsibilities, yet work collaboratively as a team. With four formal entry points to the school, the team’s primary focus is on relationships with prospective parents and pupils through designing and running a comprehensive admissions and induction process which involves staff from across the school contributing to the assessments and decision-making. The team also lead the bursaries process which sees 90 pupils gaining free or discounted places at the school.

The Admissions team work closely with the Marketing and Communications team as well as the senior leadership teams across all three schools.

Job Description

Strategic Planning and Development 

  • Lead the pupil admissions processes across the school (currently 4+, 7+, 11+, 16+ and occasional places) to ensure the number of pupils joining the school remains at optimum.
  • Ensure that prospective families have a positive experience of the school throughout the admissions journey and receive excellent customer service across all touchpoints.
  • Ensure that the policies, criteria and methods used to assess candidates remain optimal and are implemented consistently.
  • Undertake meticulous forward-planning including a framework of key dates for the admissions.
  • Identify and seek improvements to all processes, routinely reflecting and reviewing, involving colleagues to agree and implement changes where necessary. 
  • Act as the Diversity and Inclusion lead for the Admissions team, enacting strategies to pro-actively increase applications, and acceptances, from under-represented pupils.
  • Take responsibility for all regulatory compliance including GDPR, admission registers, safeguarding, and visa compliance. Ensure the team are compliant with regulations and our own policies.

Management of the Admissions team 

  • Lead, organise and support the work of the Admissions Co-ordinators in planning, managing and implementing their admissions entry point. 
  • Foster a culture of collaboration, mutual support, creative problem-solving, flexibility and continual professional learning. 
  • Provide energetic, clear, empathetic and supportive line management to the Admissions team, stepping in to support team members particularly during busy periods.
  • Make key decisions related to pupil offers and act as a point of escalation with parental enquiries or complaints, diffusing concerns, offering advice and calming anxieties. 
  • Lead on the promotion of and the awarding of Bursaries and support the Development Office with their fundraising goals related to bursaries.

Sales and Marketing 

  • Ensure that the Admissions team have the knowledge and skills to be able to “sell” the school and respond to parental queries in person, on the phone and online.
  • Ensure that the quality of communication is consistent across all entry points – warm, succinct, on brand and using relevant marketing content.
  • Support the Events Co-ordinator to ensure that Open Events are well run, enjoyable, thoughtful and on brand.
  • Act as the Highgate Admissions ambassador, being the “front of house” person during admissions events, conferences and feeder school events – public speaking, being engaging, knowledgeable and approachable with parents.
  • Work collaboratively with the Marketing Specialist and the wider Communications team to  ensure that the key messages about the school are communicated effectively, and that enticing communication is received by enquirers and applicants across multiple platforms including the website, emails and print collateral.

Stakeholder relationships 

  • Build strong working relationships with key stakeholders internally, working across all three  schools. Grow staff understanding of the work of the admissions department, meet with and advise Senior colleagues.
  • Oversee the School’s links with our feeder schools and implement strategies to develop stronger relationships. Liaise with peer and feeder schools over admissions matters including co-ordinating key dates with competitors.

Analysis and reporting 

  • Lead on the collection and analysis of key admissions statistics including enquiries, applications, visits, offer acceptances, trends, forecasts, Diversity and Inclusion, feeder schools, and bursary admissions.
  • Lead and developthe Admissions teams use of project management software (Asana) and CRM software (HubSpot) to collect data, organise tasks and communicate with parents.  
  • Create and present reports as required for senior leaders including the strategic annual review.
  • Work with the Communications team to elicit feedback from families, carry out ongoing market research, keeping up to date with market trends and competitors and respond appropriately. 
  • Plan the Admissions team budget and ensure spending is carefully managed.

 These duties and responsibilities are intended as a guide; they are not exhaustive. 

Person Specification
  • Criteria
  • How will these be tested or verified?
  • Qualifications and Experience
  • Essential
    • Proven leadership experience, managing a team to deliver key targets. 
    • Experience of customer relations, having difficult conversations and being diplomatic. 
    • Experience of working in a fast-paced environment, managing multiple projects simultaneously 
    • Experience of writing strategic plans, reports and presenting.  
    Desirable
    • Experience of working in the education sector  
    • Experience of using CRM software 
    • Experience of managing budgets 
    • Experience of public-speaking 
  • Ability and Skills
  • Essential
    • Strategically minded in identifying and delivering on key objectives.
    • Ability to see connections and have a holistic view, but also be across the detail.
    • An analytical and intelligent mind, capable of learning quickly.
    • Ability to work calmly under pressure, deal with stress, and put things into perspective.
    • Strong IT literacy and an enthusiasm for IT and its ability to assist and solve problems.
    • Meticulous administration, organisation and planning skills.
    • An ability to communicate succinctly, effectively and attractively in writing. 
    Desirable
    • Ability to analyse and interpret data.
    • Knowledge of child protection and safeguarding policies. 
    • Understanding of marketing, branding and storytelling to enhance the school’s reputation with prospective parents.  
  • Personal Attributes
  • Essential
    • Resilience and strength of character, can be firm, make tough decisions and see them through.
    • Emotionally intelligent when managing colleagues who, at times, need to work intensely.
    • A strong communicator with a warm personality who is able to adapt communication style to different audiences.
    • A flexible and adaptable approach adept at creative problem solving.
    • Ability to work with patience, tact, sensitivity and diplomacy.
    • Happy to work flexibly, working evenings and weekends when needed.
    Desirable
    • Ability to inform, influence and persuade.
    • An understanding of the questions, concerns and priorities that families considering new schools may have.

Benefits

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

Pension | AVIVA workplace pension scheme offered – 21% employer contribution, with the ability to flex up to 11% of this as additional non-pensionable salary, employees contribute a minimum of 5%.

Personal development | Comprehensive induction support for new staff. Focus on continued professional development for all employees.

Leisure facilities | Free access, at stipulated times, to our sports facilities, including a fitness suite and swimming pool (recently refurbished).

Holidays | Generous holiday allowance of 33 days (including bank holidays) for full-time staff. Most holidays will be taken during school holiday periods.

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

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

Family-friendly policies | Highgate appreciates that employees sometimes have family commitments so we try to be as supportive as possible, for example with enhanced maternity pay (8 weeks’ full pay, then 10 weeks’ half 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: 4th December 2023
  • First round interviews: As soon as applications are received, starting w/c 20 Nov
  • Second round interviews: Mid December

Contact:  Clare Marie Goldsworthy, Assistant Head, Communications is happy to answer any questions about the role. She can put you in contact with other middle managers if you’d like a confidential conversation about the organisation.

Early Application: Applications will be considered ‘as and when’ received and we may close the vacancy if we appoint before the closing date.

Apply here

Inclusion

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.  

We are aware that people from certain backgrounds are under-represented in independent education institutions and we’re working to doing what we can to redress this. We are particularly keen to receive applications from people from minoritised ethnic and racial backgrounds, people with a disability and/or neurodiverse applicants (including those with a ‘hidden’ disability, LGBTQ+ people, as we are working to make our staff body more representative of the UK and London population. 

We are also aware that many highly capable prospective candidates nonetheless rule themselves out of applying for positions because they may underestimate their own ability to do the role. With this in mind, we strongly encourage applications from anyone who is prepared to learn and develop professionally on the job and would like to stress that past experience of working in education, or admissions is not required. 

If this application process doesn’t support your needs and you would like to discuss additional support to apply, please contact Recruitment@highgateschool.org.uk  

Safeguarding

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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