Teacher of Music (Maternity Cover)

An enthusiastic and ambitious Teacher of Music is required to cover a colleague’s Maternity Leave in this academically selective school from January until the end of the school year.

This position would suit an experienced Music teacher or, indeed, a recent Music graduate or professional musician, who is looking to gain initial classroom experience.

The successful candidate will be an excellent teacher with the ability to translate rigorous academic standards into practical and successful classroom outcomes. Their timetable will be written to suit their background, but will include a full teaching allocation and contribution to co-curricular activities. Experience of teaching up to A Level, Keyboard skills, and/or mastery of an instrument will be an advantage.

The Curriculum

The Music department’s strong central ethos is that everyone is capable of being a musician. Teachers aim to provide an aspirational, creative and inclusive musical environment that is open to all. All pupils study Music in Years 7 to 9, following a varied and exciting spiral curriculum that focuses on creativity and collaboration across all skill areas. High quality teaching materials are produced and shared within the department, although teachers are encouraged to shape their lessons to cater for each class and their own musical interests. 25-30 pupils take GCSE Music each year, following the Edexcel course. Last year, 96% of pupils taking Music at GCSE achieved 9-7 grades, with 50% achieving a grade 9. In the Sixth Form there are currently 16 pupils studying Music, following the AQA course. Pupils receive a grounding in the western classical tradition while also studying music for media in Year 12. In Year 13 pupils have the option to extend their western classical study into the 20th century, or to embark on an in-depth study of pop music. Pupils have specialist composition lessons and regular performance workshops. Last year, 50% of candidates received an A*, with 88% A*-A. Several pupils go on to read Music at university or music college every year. Recently, three pupils have gained Oxbridge places each year, and at least two pupils have been awarded Oxbridge choral or organ scholarships.

The Department

There are four music teaching classrooms, one Mac suite (complete with Logic, Sibelius and a recording booth), an auditorium and recital room for rehearsals and concerts, practice rooms for individual music lessons and a departmental office. Choirs regularly rehearse and perform in the School Chapel.

The department is led by the Director of Music who, working closely with the Head of Academic Music and Choral Music, oversees all aspects of the department’s musical provision. The Director of Music leads the co-curricular and music performance across Highgate’s Pre-Prep, Junior and Senior Schools, overseeing the Heads of Sections (Head of Woodwind & Percussion, Head of Brass, Head of Vocal Studies, Head of Strings and Head of Keyboard), and around fifty Visiting Music Teachers. The Head of Academic Music leads a team of 6 teachers in the Senior School, who deliver the academic curriculum to all pupils from Year 7 to Year 13.

The successful applicant will take an active role in the department’s co-curricular provision, rehearsing an ensemble or choir, or several. The school’s various orchestras, ensembles and choirs frequently perform at school and externally, including landmark London venues. The cycle of school performances includes a major concert each term, a biennial musical, Christmas carol services, numerous instrumental and vocal concerts, termly solo platform concerts, choral services throughout the year – both in the School Chapel and in local churches – and at numerous other music competitions and events.


In the classroom


Visiting Music teachers


Schools in which the music department works

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: 17.00 on 13 October 2022 but applications will be considered as they are received.

Click here to complete the on-line application form

James Newton, Deputy Head (Academic), Jonathan Murphy, Director of Music, or Catherine Harrison (Head of Academic Music) are happy to answer any questions about this post.

Criteria for the post of Teacher of Music

1. Essential professional criteria


CriteriaHow will these be tested or verified?
A good honours degree in Music, 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 Music 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: 17.00 on 13 October 2022 but applications will be considered as they are received.

Click here to complete the on-line application form

James Newton, Deputy Head (Academic), Jonathan Murphy, Director of Music, or Catherine Harrison (Head of Academic Music) 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. 

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