Teacher of Modern Languages – French

An able, well-qualified and inspiring teacher of French is required to join this very successful and innovative department from September 2022.

Applicants should have a degree in French, or be a heritage speaker with a relevant degree, and have excellent grades at A Level, or equivalent. The successful candidate will be required to teach pupils throughout the school, from Year 7 to Year 13.  The Modern Languages department also teaches Spanish, German, Mandarin, and Russian. The ability to teach an additional modern language is certainly welcome, but in no way essential. This is an exciting opportunity for either an experienced classroom practitioner who enjoys the company of bright, ambitious and well-motivated pupils or someone wishing to gain experience of teaching in an academically selective secondary school.

The School has considerable experience and success in guiding unqualified entrants to the profession through induction and into established teaching and leadership positions at the school. For all teachers new to Highgate, regardless of experience, there is a strong and supportive framework of induction. The role includes opportunities to contribute to the pastoral and co-curricular life of the school, both of which are valued highly at Highgate. We encourage applications from candidates who experience barriers and inequity due to their ethnicity, gender identity, physical or mental health, sexuality, and/or socio-economic background.

At Highgate, we aim to inspire ambitious, resilient, and committed linguists who are passionate about the culture and literature of France and equipped with the skills and motivation to explore the subject beyond the classroom. Pupils are taught grammar explicitly and encouraged to make links with the other ancient and modern languages they study alongside French. We want our pupils to use language ambitiously and use our own high-quality resources to go beyond the curriculum at all key stages. Pupils are successful in competitions such as the Stephen Spender and Anthea Bell translation prizes, the Joutes Oratoires Lycéennes, and the UK Linguistics Olympiad. They present independently researched talks on topics ranging so far this year from Zola’s Assomoir to Francophone influence on Turkish at our weekly French Society, and perform in the annual French play. Trips are central to our department vision and are run annually for years 9 and above. The department also runs an extraordinary full year group trip to France in Year 7.

The Department

The French Department currently teach the Pearson Edexcel GCSE, and the Cambridge Pre-U, transitioning to the Edexcel A-Level course for first examination in 2024. Teachers are encouraged to go beyond the examination specifications where appropriate in order to challenge and inspire pupils most effectively, and pupils achieve outstanding exam results. In the last three years 87% of pupils have achieved a 7 or above at GCSE, and almost every sixth form pupil has achieved a Distinction grade in Pre-U. We run a challenging extension programme of literature seminars for sixth form pupils, and many pupils go on to read French at leading universities. In the last five years, and average of three pupils annually have gone on to read French at Oxford and Cambridge.


The Modern Languages Department occupies classrooms at the centre of the School, all equipped with computers, HD screens, and iPad mirroring capability. The MFL department has class sets of iPads, and subscriptions to resources such as Le Monde, JSTOR, and Kerboodle, to facilitate dynamic, adaptive, and relevant teaching. The department itself is vibrant and scholarly: staff routinely devote time to their own language learning, and their understanding of contemporary French news and culture. The department has a reputation for high academic standards and engaging teaching and will aim to continue to develop and maintain the highest standards of language learning and broadest possible opportunities amongst our enthusiastic pupils.

In the classroom


Oxbridge places for ML in the last three years


trips, exchanges, and study visits offered annually

Working at Highgate

  • Teachers at Highgate enjoy a welcoming, comfortable and exceptionally well-resourced environment and are provided with significant assistance from a range of support staff.
  • Salaries are competitive. The School pays the employer’s contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
  • Terms are shorter than in the maintained sector.
  • Staff have free access to the School’s sports facilities, including a fitness suite and the newly refurbished swimming pool.
  • Highgate is strongly committed to inclusion and is an equal opportunities employer. We aim to create a welcoming, respectful and safe environment for all members of our community, from every ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability/disability, religion and background.

More details about working at Highgate can be found here:

Work with us    Aims + Ethos

Application procedure

Closing date: 8:00 am on Wednesday 23 February 2022 but applications will be considered as they are received.

Click here to complete the on-line application form

James Newton, Deputy Head (Academic) and Justin Watts, the Head of Department are happy to answer any questions about this post.

Criteria for the post of Teacher of Modern Languages

1. Essential professional criteria


CriteriaHow will these be tested or verified?
A good honours degree in Modern Languages, or a related subject
  • Original degree certificate(s)
  • Questions about subject specialisation (and course content for more recent graduates)
  • Opportunities at interview to discuss techniques for teaching set topics
Excellent communication skills
  • Two panel interviews
  • A taught lesson
The ability to use ICT appropriately to support teaching, or a willingness to learn the skills
  • Lesson planning and resources
  • Opportunities to recount experience and expertise at interview
The ability to establish good relations with colleagues and pupils.
  • Opportunities at interview to recount experiences where these skills have been demonstrated
  • Questions which referees will be
  • Asked as part of the confidential reference request
Sympathy with and knowledge of fundamental British values
  • Questions at interview to test this
Awareness and understanding of safeguarding and welfare of children
  • Questions at interview to test attitudes towards and knowledge of children’s safeguarding and welfare
  • Questions which referees will be asked as part of the confidential
  • Reference request

2. Desirable professional criteria


CriteriaHow will these be tested
Experience of teaching academic lessons, either as an employed teacher or during a teaching placement, and an understanding of effective assessment.
  • A taught lesson with a lesson plan and resources
  • Questions at interview
  • A confidential reference request
  • Verification of a candidate’s employment history
A teaching qualification (eg PGCE, GTP)
  • Original certificate
Knowledge of, and experience of teaching Modern Languages and at A Level
  • Opportunities at interview to recount
A willingness to be involved in the wider life of the department and school.
  • Opportunities at interview to recount experience of running or participating in such activities or to give ideas for these

3. Person Specification

Highgate School seeks to appoint teachers who will have, in addition to the professional qualities outlined above, 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 academic 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.
  • The ability to defuse difficult situations using different strategies such as careful listening, sensitive use of humour, praise and recognition where due, utilising the School’s reward system.
  • Retention of a sense of perspective and, on occasion, the invaluable ability to laugh at oneself.

Application procedure

Closing date: 8:00am on Wednesday 23 February 2022 but applications will be considered as they are received.

Click here to complete the on-line application form

James Newton, Deputy Head (Academic) and Justin Watts, the Head of Department are happy to answer any questions about this post.

Please read before you apply


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 any reasonable adjustments, please let us know when you submit your application whether you have any special requirements.

As this role will have regular unsupervised contact with children you must, if appointed, comply with Highgate’s Safeguarding & Welfare Policy. 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 Policy. A copy of this Policy will accompany all offers of employment. 

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.