There’s never been a more exciting time to be teaching Politics. Trump, Johnson and Corbyn; fake news, alternative facts and Sean Spicer; Brexit, democracy and the electoral college. No wonder that around 75 pupils across the Sixth Form will be studying Politics A Level at Highgate from September. Interest in the subject has soared in the last couple of years throughout the School – our weekly Politics Society regularly attracts audiences of 40+ from years 7-13 and, in response to demand lower down the school, we last year started a Junior Politics Club.
Following the appointment of Katie Shapiro as Head of Sixth Form at Queen’s College, we need an inspiring and innovative teacher to become Head of the Politics Department. The teaching will largely be at A Level but will also encompass part of an introductory Politics course in Year 11 and a broader programme exploring British values in Year 10. The ability to teach some History in addition to Politics is highly desirable.
The Successful Applicant
We are looking for someone who will:
• continue and augment our tradition of vibrant, passionate lessons rooted in outstanding pedagogy and excellent subject knowledge;
• share our aim to foster a genuine passion for politics and create active, independent learners, who are intellectually and emotionally prepared for higher education and the world of work – not just achievers of high grades;
• want to enable pupils to get involved in political activity beyond the classroom. Currently trips are arranged to public talks and conferences and Westminster;
• be actively involved with the Politics Society and Junior Politics Club. Politics Society meetings often broach some highly controversial topics encouraging the expression of free (respectful) speech within the School;
• assist with production of The Arbiter, a pupil-written and edited politics journal covering up-to-date political issues;
• assist with running whole school political events. For example, a mock EU referendum gave pupils across the School the chance to engage and voice their opinions on the issue;
• raise the profile of the Politics department and all related co-curricular activities throughout the School.
Applicants should be academically well qualified: excellent grades at A-level and an undergraduate and possibly a research degree in Politics or a related discipline. There will also be opportunities to contribute to pastoral and co-curricular life. A genuine interest in the School’s academic extension programme will be an added recommendation.
Curriculum and Results
The department is responsible for the teaching of Politics in Years 12 and 13.
Pupils follow the new Edexcel specification, which covers UK government and politics, Political ideologies, and US government and politics. Each year, the cohort of pupils debates and chooses the particular political ideology they will study in depth from those on offer in the syllabus. Outcomes in A-Level Politics are excellent, and well above national averages: in 2019, our Politics cohort of 42 achieved 48% A*, 83% A*/A and 100% A*-B; in the same academic year 10 pupils applied for Politics or a Politics related degree at university, including pupils who took up places at Oxford (PPE) and Cambridge (History and Politics).
The Politics department runs a weekly programme of extension classes (often collaborating with the Economics, History or Philosophy departments) in the Lent term in order to introduce pupils to elements of Politics outside the scope of the A-level curriculum. Politics teachers also often lead Academic Forums for the school’s most able pupils in all years. The department is well equipped and resourced, it has its own office and all classrooms have interactive whiteboards. The Politics Department is free-standing, but its members can and do teach History as required; equally some members of the History Department also teach Politics.
Whilst Politics in Highgate is not formally taught below the Sixth Form there are opportunities for those lower down the School to learn more about the subject within the classroom. Pupils in Years 10 and 11 are offered a series of taster lessons to give them a better flavour of what Politics involves and to assist them in making their A-level options. In Year 10, a number of lessons are provided by the department as part of the School’s commitment to fostering an understanding of British values.
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.
The School has in place DfE recognised arrangements for the Induction Year and the confirmation of NQT status and has considerable experience of and success in guiding entrants to the profession to qualified status. For all teachers new to Highgate, regardless of experience, there is a strong and supportive framework of induction to the School.