Refugee Family Support Officer

  • Job Title: Refugee Family Support Officer
  • Job Type: Fixed term, 0.4 (2 days a week), term time only
  • Salary: £9,600 p.a (FTE, £30,000)
  • Department: Wellbeing and Pastoral
  • Reporting to: Simon Brunskill - Assistant Head (Pastoral and Bursaries)
  • Location: Highgate, North London
  • Start: ASAP
  • Closing Date: 20 March 2023 at 12:00 pm
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We are looking for a Refugee Family Support Officer to support refugee pupils and families that are new both to Highgate School and Britain.

We are looking for someone experienced in working with pupils and families who will help us to nurture confidence, creativity and risk taking in our pupils as they study, in preparation for higher education, the world of work and happy, curious lives.

You will help to identify and address the needs of refugee children who require assistance in overcoming barriers to learning and to support emotional and social wellbeing. You will work closely with both academic and pastoral staff. You will liaise with families to help them navigate Highgate School life and to signpost them to local and national services to support them.

The Department

At Highgate we aim to enable refugee pupils to achieve their full potential. We do this by listening to them to enhance their skills and abilities; by liaising with their teachers to ensure that there is the best programmes of study; by liaising with the Wellbeing Team to support their emotional and social development, and also by liaising with outside agencies, where necessary.  We also work closely with families and carers to ensure that they have a sense of belonging at Highgate.

The wellbeing and academic achievement of refugee pupils is led by Head of Sixth Form (Pastoral). Colleagues from the Wellbeing Team, the Learning Support Team and academic staff work collaboratively to ensure that the needs of the pupils and families are met.

The emphasis is very much upon nurturing pupils through the curriculum. Of course, some attend regular one-to-one classes for as long as is necessary, but much of the work involves guiding classroom subject teachers in their support of pupils. This approach has been embraced here by a very committed and flexible teaching staff who contribute to and support this philosophy very positively.

Job Description

Main Responsibilities

  • Under guidance from Head of Sixth Form (Pastoral) engage with academic and pastoral colleagues to formulate a package of support
  • Under guidance from Learning Support teachers support pupils in class and deliver individual and small group instruction
  • Assist teachers with gathering differentiated materials required for lessons
  • To act as a point of contact in school for families in need of support
  • To signpost for families and refer for support and when appropriate and liaise professionally with external agencies
  • To attend team / multi-agency meetings as appropriate
  • To carry out home visits where necessary
  • To build effective relationships with pupil, families and staff
  • To provide opportunities for families to engage with the school before their child begins to establish support and build relationships before the child starts at the school
  • To maintain regular contact with families of children receiving support to encourage positive family involvement in the child’s learning and wellbeing
  • To maintain record keeping in accordance with the policies and procedures in place in school
  • To liaise with teachers and Learning Support staff regarding pupils’ academic progress and achievement
Person Specification
  • Criteria
  • How will these be tested or verified?
  • Qualifications and Experience
  • Essential
    • Experience working with a wide community to enhance working relationships. 
    • Experience of working in the education sector. 
    • A teaching qualification
    • Experience of working with pupils learning English as an Additional Language 
    • Experience of working with parents and carers to support educational outcomes 
  • Skills and Abilities
  • Essential
    • Excellent communication skills when dealing with pupils, staff, parents and external organisations. 
    • Ability to communicate in Ukranian or evidence of an ability to learn an East Slavic language quickly e.g. firm grasp of Russian or Belarusian. 
    • Knowledge of how children learn and how to support in learning using a variety of strategies.  
    • Ability to work effectively both as part of a team and also independently. 
    • Ability to prioritise effectively. 
    • Excellent ICT skills. 
    • Motivational skills. 
    • Knowledge of child protection and safeguarding policies. 
    • Ability to build strong relationships internally and externally  
    • The ability to adapt quickly to new environments establishing positive and calm relationships with pupils and carers. 
  • Attitude and Behaviours
  • Essential
    • Flexible with a ‘can-do’ approach and able to work effectively without direct supervision.
    • A good sense of humour.
    • Ability to build strong relationships with pupils and key staff across the School.
    • Commitment to achieve.
    • A willingness to be involved in the wider life of the school


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: 20th March 2023
  • Timing of interviews: From mid March

Contact: Simon Brunskill, Head of Sixth Form (Pastoral) is 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 staffand pupilswillfeel a sense of belonging and willthrive. 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.  

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.  

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

Apply here