Head of Junior School and Pre-Prep SpEx

  • Job title: Head of Junior School and Pre-Prep SpEx
  • Job Type: Full Time
  • Salary: Teacher Pay Scale £37,343-£62,975
  • Department: Sport and Exercise (SpEx)
  • Reporting to: Director of Sport
  • Location: Highgate, North London
  • Start: September 2024
  • Closing Date: 16 February 2024 at 5:00 pm
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This is an exciting opportunity to join our Sport and Exercise Department as Head of Junior School and Pre-Prep sport across Highgate School, from September 2024.  The successful candidate will  be responsible for implementing the SpEx programme in the Junior School and Pre-Prep. They should engender a life-long love of sport and exercise in the pupils through enthusiasm, a positive outlook, and a clear pedagogical vision. They will lead curriculum implementation and support colleagues on delivery of SpEx across the EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. They will also support in ensuring the Junior and Pre-Prep SpEx provision supports the school’s wider aims on inclusion and sustainability.

We welcome applicants from both the independent and state sectors – candidates do not need to have had prior experience of teaching in the independent sector but an interest in teaching in an academically selective school setting.

Director of Sport Mario Noto would be happy to talk to any interested candidates about the role in advance of an application or interview.  Please contact mario.noto@highgateschool.org.uk. 

We look forward to receiving your application.  

The Department

Sport and Exercise (‘SpEx’) at Highgate has a reputation for excellence and innovation in teaching and coaching.  The department consists of over 35 colleagues, offering a broad range of activities from participation through to high performance pathways.  Pupils are taught an exercise curriculum, planned to support their knowledge and understanding of athletic development, wellbeing and sporting options.  Fixtures are organised for a wide range of sports, including a comprehensive Saturday fixture programme. Tours and trips are a regular feature of our offering, alongside showcase events, such as award evenings, conferences and intra-school competitions throughout the year. 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-equippedMallinson Sports Centre (MSC). It is adjacent to theplaying fields, near the Junior and Pre-PreparatorySchools and within a few minutes’ walk of the SeniorSchool. The Centre comprises a newly re-built swimmingpool, large sports hall, strength & conditioning suite andmezzanine hall. In addition, there is a dance andmovement studio, squash and Eton Fives courts. The MSCmanagers and staff provide a significantprogrammeofcommunity use; they also support pupils’ activities withinthe Centre and provide administrative assistance. Theschool has twenty acres of playing fields, including anall-weather pitch, which can accommodate ten netballcourts, a full-size hockey pitch, or twelve tennis courts.There is also a multi-use games area which provides sixcricket nets, three tennis courts, two netball courts and ahockey training facility. ​ 


Our vision for Sport and Exercise at Highgate: 

  •  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.  
Main Responsibilities

Curriculum Development

  • Lead delivery of the SpEx curriculum for Reception to Year 6 ensuring that Junior School and Pre-Prep Sport and Exercise fully espouses the SpEx Departmental Development Plan.
  • Maintain a knowledge of relevant developments in EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 sport and exercise and apply appropriately to the future evolution of the programme.
  • Design the Sport and Exercise curriculums ensuring clear pupil outcomes/experience and curricular overview for staff to follow.
  • Manage the Sport Pathway offer for the age group, ensuring there is parity of experience and access for all pupils, regardless of the pathway.
  • Lead on reviewing SpEx Schemes of Work as they apply to the Junior School and Pre-Prep.
  • Collaborating with Junior School and Pre-Prep curriculum leads to support pupils learning across both schools.


Pupil Development

  • Instill a love of Sport and Exercise in all pupils and promote exemplar for Healthy Living.
  • To take a full and active role in the life of the Junior School and Pre-Prep in its widest sense.
  • To understand the Junior School House System and support relevant SpEx events.
  • Developing and reviewing Sport Pathways to quality of delivery, parity of experience and access for all.


Staff Development

  • Ensure that all colleagues working in Junior School and Pre-Prep SpEx understand the agreed aims and objectives for the age group and promote that ethos and values to pupils, parents, and colleagues.
  • To support the pastoral provision of the Junior School and Pre-Prep
  • Support academic colleagues on Sport through timetabling to appropriate classes, opportunities for INSET and direct support for their coaching, draw on expertise of Heads for Sport.
  • Role model expected professional behaviour in accordance with school behaviour policy.



Competitive sport – Competition

  • Retain oversight of pupil opportunities in competitive sport, both inter-and intra- school.
  • Foster effective relationships with key organisations to ensure Highgate’s representation in competitive youth sport.
  • Take a lead role in organising the Junior School and Pre-Prep Sports Day, ensuring active participation from all children.
  • Support orgnaisation of extra-curricular sport activities in liaison with colleagues from Junior School and Pre-Prep.


Leadership and Line management responsibilities

  • Maintain oversight of all logistics associated with Junior School and Pre-Prep SpEx, working closely with the Head of SpEx Operations and Team Communications as required.
  • Meet any additional expectations as required for a Subject Co-ordinator in the Junior School and Pre-Prep.
  • To be a visible presence across Junior and Pre-Prep support staff and pupils
  • To attend Junior School and Pre-Prep staff briefings, parent-teacher consultations, and events (as required) and Teaching & Learning exchanges when required by Principles.
  • Ensure a professional approach to delegated line management responsibilities for Teachers (including the Deputy Head of Junior School and Pre-Prep SpEx) and Coaches. This will include delivering regular and effective appraisal meetings, giving regular informal feedback on performance, and supporting their CPD (Continual Professional Development).
  • Support all colleagues working on the SpEx programme in the Junior School and Pre-Prep to ensure a consistent and effective delivery of SpEx for all pupils.
  • Pro-actively deal with any concerns, with guidance from the Director of SpEx and/or HR, as necessary.
  • Engage in activities to develop your own competence as a reflective people manager.


SpEx Leadership Team

  • Collaborate with colleagues in the SpEx Leadership Team to develop SpEx policies and procedures that prioritise the best learning outcomes for each pupil; reviewing 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.
  • Actively participate in activities such as the strategic development of SpEx and development of a shared vision and Departmental Development Plan.
  • Represent the Junior School and Pre-Prep in Leadership Team discussions and ensure decisions taken by the Team are implemented.
  • Work with the Leadership Team to effectively timetable staff on the sport curriculum.
  • Contribute to and lead on key areas including: SpEx tours/trips, Information Evenings, Parents’ Evenings, and events.
  • Participate in Junior School and Pre-Prep PE/Games professional groups and other professional bodies/conferences, as required.
  • Support the work on admissions entry points, for example, by attending events and responding to enquiries from prospective parents.
  • To carry out safeguarding responsibilities, liaising with staff, Pastoral Teams and reporting any safeguarding matters to SpEx, Junior School and Pre-Prep DSLs.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors as articulated in the SpEx Leadership Team competencies grid.
Essential Professional Criteria

Qualifications and Experience

  • Experience of teaching/coaching sport or P.E. successfully
  • Experience of designing Sport or PE curriculums at the EYFS, KS1 and KS2 level
  • Experience of successful people management
  • Demonstrable experience of instilling a love of Sport and Exercise in all pupils and promoting healthy living
  • An honours degree, or equivalent level qualification supported by relevant experience

Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrable experience of applying best practice in sports teaching and coaching at the EYFS, KS1 and KS2 level alongside the ability to teach/coach pupils in other age groups.
  • An up-to-date knowledge of evolving developments in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 sport.
  • The ability to blend wider SpEx departmental objectives with relevant pedagogical knowledge to design an engaging and accessible SpEx curriculum for the Junior School and Pre-Prep.

Personal Attributes

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral
  • The ability to foster effective working relationships both across the department and wider School, and with external professional organisations
  • Energetic, approachable and personable to reflect an enjoyment of working with young people
  • The ability to persuade and influence
  • An organised and methodical approach to tasks
  • A willingness to contribute to the future evolution of the SpEx programme
  • Awareness and understanding of safeguarding and welfare of children
Desirable Professional Criteria
  • A professional teaching qualification
  • Performance level coaching qualifications
  • Experience working at an independent school
  • Experience of teaching/coaching other age-groups would be desirable


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

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

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

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

Holidays | Terms are shorter than in the maintained sector.

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 | 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: 16th February 2024
  • Timing of interviews: To be confirmed

Contact: The Recruitment Team are happy to answer any questions about this post.

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


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 KCSE 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 Policies

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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