Didcot Girls’ School is a dynamic school. In December 2015, the school was judged to be Outstanding. As Ofsted recognised, we invest in all of our staff: ‘Staff have exceptional opportunities for professional development. Staff feel valued and really like working in the school. Morale is very high.'(Ofsted).
We are a values-driven school, committed to high quality teaching and learning and respectful relationships within an inclusive learning community. Developing stimulating and student-centred teaching and learning is at the centre of our school development work. We work hard to ensure that all girls’ education enables our students to develop confidence, leadership skills and high levels of aspiration.
This summer’s GCSE results were superb with 83% of all students achieving 4+ in English and Maths, and 64% doing the same at 5+. Our Attainment 8 figure was significantly above national average at 54.3 and our provisional Progress 8 of +0.71 places us the top 3% of schools nationally. Results at A level in the mixed sixth form shared with our partner school, St Birinus School, are also extremely strong.
DGS English Department
The English Department is staffed by a dynamic, talented and extremely supportive group of 15 teaching staff and an English Core TA. The department is accommodated in specialist rooms with whiteboards, projectors and visualizers as well as a team room and work area.
As of September 2018, the English Department introduced an all-new KS3 ‘mastery’ curriculum, which has been developed to provide the foundations from which to develop excellent students of English. This curriculum includes a highly coherent model for skills progression, explicit first teaching of key English concepts, and a rigorous model for assessment. It has been conceived to prepare students for the challenges of GCSEs, whilst maintaining a balanced, culturally-rich experience of English. Most importantly, it has been created by a team of practising teachers who are committed to a process of iterative refinement.
In Year 9, the curriculum follows a ‘representative texts, representative tasks’ model, where former GCSE texts provide challenging content, taught in a way that enhances student familiarity with the sorts of tasks required at GCSE. In Years 10 and 11, students follow the AQA specifications for English Language and English Literature. English Literature is a very popular option in the joint Sixth Form; we offer AQA’s Specification A. In September 2017, we introduced the AQA Specification A Language and Literature course, which has quickly become a popular and successful A level option.
The English Department has a close working relationship with the vibrant and growing Media department. There are two Media units in the KS3 curriculum and there are currently two Media groups per cohort at GCSE (from Year 9 onwards). We also introduced Media at A-Level in September 2018, which has proved a popular choice.
Results at all levels are very strong. Last year, 91% of Year 11 students achieved at least one grade 4 or above in Language or Literature, 83% of students achieved at least one grade 5 or above and 36% achieved at least one grade 7 or above. With a progress 8 score of +0.89, students on average achieve nearly one grade better than students with similar starting points nationally. A level English Literature, and Language and Literature, is very popular. Results are strong, with many students opting to study English at university.
The school has a strong culture of Reading for Pleasure. There are fortnightly Reading for Pleasure lessons in the Library, regular visits from authors, a strong team of Reading Ambassadors, engagement with local and national book awards, and student-led book clubs at KS4 and KS5. The school is fortunate in having author Mary Stevens as Patron of Reading and poet Elaine Baker as Patron of Writing. Elaine provides poetry writing workshops and runs the ‘Young Writers Mentoring Scheme’ for groups of students in Years 9 and 10 (last year, Elaine’s mentees came 1st and 3rd in the Oxford Poetry Live competition), as well as mentoring the school’s two Poets Laureate. There are regular theatre trips across all year groups, and regular university visits for KS5 students. The department runs successful catch-up provision for KS3 students, which includes reading mentoring programmes, run by older students, for struggling or reluctant readers at KS3.
This is a key post in a dynamic and strong department. We are looking for someone with a genuine and infectious passion for their subject, who will enthuse and engage the students they teach; someone with high expectations for all students whatever their prior attainment.
We welcome applications from experienced teachers as well as those new to the profession and currently in training.
Leadership responsibility is available for the right candidate. Please do make clear on your application should you be interested in a conversation at interview about TLR roles.
Didcot Girls’ School is a lead teaching school within the Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance with a significant track record for successful fast-track career progression, leadership development and excellent CPD. The school is also part of Ridgeway Education Trust, a growing multi-academy trust, which provides the opportunity for school improvement and leadership work across schools in the future.
For further information about the department, please email Lara Martin, Head of English at firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you wish to tour the school in advance of an application, or for any general queries, please contact the Headteacher’s PA, Frances Adley at email@example.com
Please download and complete an application form from the school website (under ‘Join us’) and send it with a response to the following task to Frances Adley at firstname.lastname@example.org:
• A response of no more than 2 sides of A4 (11 point) explaining what excellent teaching, learning and curriculum looks like in English.
The deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 30th March. Suitable candidates may be interviewed before the closing date and the school reserves the right to withdraw the position if an early appointment is made.
Please be aware that you will be required to bring your original degree certificate, proof of residence and your Disclosure and Barring Service or CRB certificate, if applicable, to your interview.
I thank you for your interest in this exciting post and wish you well with your application.
Didcot Girls’ School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.