Head of Senior Exercise and Athletic Development

  • Job title: Head of Senior Exercise and Athletic Development
  • Job Type: Full Time
  • Salary: Salaries will be competitive and will reflect qualifications, skills and experience.
  • Department: Sport and Exercise (SpEx)
  • Reporting to: Director of Sport
  • Location: Highgate, North London
  • Start: September 2024 (or earlier depending on the successful applicants’ circumstances)
  • Closing Date: 19 February 2024 at 8:00 am
Apply here

Highgate is an academically selective, co-educational North London day school.  We are looking to appoint a Head of Senior Exercise and Athletic Development. 

This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced practitioner to join our Sport and Exercise Department.  The Sport and Exercise (SpEx) Department is vibrant and forward-thinking and has benefited greatly from significant investment in both staff and facilities.  We welcome applicants from a variety of backgrounds and experiences in physical education and athletic development. 

The position will commence in September 2024, albeit that we can show a degree of flexibility, depending on the circumstances of the successful candidate.  They will lead on the management and development of the Senior Exercise programme from Y7 to Y10, developing a long-term strategy for athletic development across the whole school (including Pre-Preparatory and Junior Schools). 

Highgate school is anticipating interest in the role both from teachers and from coaches. Please note that the terms of employment will vary depending on whether you are appointed as a teacher or as a Sports Coach. 

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 on the review, development, delivery and management of the Senior School Exercise curriculum for Years 7-10, promoting the vision and aims of Sport and Exercise at Highgate.
  • Maintain a knowledge of relevant developments in youth exercise, athletic development, health and wellbeing and apply these appropriately to the evolution of the Exercise and Athletic Development programmes.
  • Design the Exercise curriculum ensuring clear pupil outcomes, progression and parity of experience.
  • Produce a curriculum guide from which staff can design individual lessons and sessions, to include physical development, alongside a deeper understanding of health and wellbeing.
  • Support Pre-Prep and Junior School Heads of Sport and Exercise in curriculum development, in relation to long-term athlete development.


Pupil Development

  • Ensure clear guidance for pupils and parents/carers in Exercise and Athletic Development. Develop and foster a culture of independence regarding physical development, health and well-being.  
  • Keep abreast of the latest research within youth development, including how other organisations are currently working to support player pathways. 
  • Develop opportunities for group sessions and individuals to be supported by members of the SpEx team. 
  • Oversee the monitoring and support of high-performance athletes, both at school and those involved in other performance pathways. 
  • Support long-term athlete development across the whole school, identify patterns and key athletic development areas specific to Highgate and activities offered. 


Staff Development

  • Develop and present to colleagues a clear vision of the relationship between Exercise and Sport, as part of the SpEx Development Plan. 
  • Ensure all colleagues understand the agreed aims and objectives for the Athletic Development and Exercise programmes and work to promote our ethos and values to pupils, parents/carers and fellow colleagues.  
  • Oversee lesson plan design and monitoring/reporting of groups and individuals, supporting colleagues with recent literature, evidence and models of long-term athlete development. 
  • Review, appraise and consider the needs of colleagues, supporting with internal professional development and suggestions for external courses. 
  • Plan and lead regular Senior Exercise and Athletic Development meetings to update colleagues and receive feedback, which will, in turn, support the development of the programme.  



Competitive sport

  • Support Heads of Sport in relation to year-round planning for training, fixtures and tournaments.
  • Support colleagues in their individual planning for athletic performance in competition (effective and sport-specific warm-ups, analysis of individuals and teams).
  • Support colleagues with awareness of those performing at high levels outside of school and in monitoring their overall training and competition loads.
  • Support sports tours as required by the Director of Sport.


Leadership and Line management responsibilities

  • Collaborate with colleagues in the SpEx Leadership Team to develop policies and actively participate in Leadership Team meetings, contributing to the strategic development of the vision and aims of the department. 
  • Ensure all colleagues are keeping and updating planning for groups in their care, including lesson reviews/diarising and registers, including attaining important pupil information. 
  • Maintain oversight of all logistics associated with Senior School Exercise and Athletic Development, working closely with other Heads of Section, the Head of SpEx Operations, Heads of Sport and Mallinson Sports Centre as required to coordinate both the Exercise and Athletic Development programmes. 
  • Co-ordinate risk assessments with the Head of Senior School Sport and ensure lessons and sessions are taught/coached in a safe environment, considering the individual needs of pupils. 
  • Ensure a professional approach to delegated line-management responsibilities for teachers and coaches.  This will include delivering regular and effective appraisal meetings, offering support and feedback for colleagues on performance and professional development. 
  • Proactively deal with any concerns, with guidance from the SpEx ST link, the Director of SpEx and HR as deemed necessary. 
  • Meet any additional expectations, as required for a Head of Department in the Senior School. 


The role will be carried out in addition to the post holder’s existing teaching/coaching position, with the appropriate timetable reductions.The post holder will be required to meet any additional expectations required for a full-time member of staff in the Senior School. 

Essential Professional Criteria

Qualifications and Experience

  • Experience of teaching/coaching PE sport, or Athletic Development/Strength and Conditioning successfully
  • Experience of designing PE curriculums for KS3/KS4 or youth Athletic Development programmes
  • Experience of successful people management
  • Demonstrable experience of instilling a love of Sport and Exercise in all pupils and promoting healthy lifestyles
  • An honours degree, or equivalent level qualification supported by relevant experience

Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrable experience of applyingbest practice in PE/sports teaching and coaching with children 
  •  An up-to-date knowledge ofevolving developments in youth Athletic Development  
  • The ability to blend wider SpEx departmental objectiveswith relevant pedagogical knowledge to design an engagingand accessible SpExcurriculum for Senior School Exercise and support sports participation and performance through Athletic Development 

Personal Attributes

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral 
  • The ability to foster effective working relationshipsboth 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 
  • Awillingness to contribute tothe future evolution of theSpEx 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
  • The ability to support the school coaching/managing teams in netball, girls’ football or girls’ cricket 


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

Pension | If employed as a teacher the School pays the employer’s contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. If employed as a coach (support staff) an 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%.

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

Holidays | If employed as a teacher, terms are shorter than in the maintained sector. If employed as a coach, the role is term time only.

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: 19th February 2024
  • Timing of interviews: To be confirmed

Contact: For further information about the role, please email Mr Mario Noto (Director of Sport) on mario.noto@highgateschool.org.uk. For further information about the terms of employment, please email recruitment@highgateschool.org.uk

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.

Apply here