An able, well-qualified and inspiring teacher of Physics is required to join this very successful and innovative department for two terms from January 2020 during a colleague’s leave of absence. The successful candidate will be required to teach pupils throughout the school, from Year 7 to Year 13. 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; applicants with experience of either secondary or tertiary education are encouraged to apply. An interest in academic extension, via either research activities, or direct teaching, alongside university preparation, would be an additional and welcome dimension.
Physics at Highgate
All pupils study Physics as a separate subject in Years 8 to 11 having followed a General Science course in Year 7. In 2019 86% of pupils taking IGCSE Physics achieved grades 9/8. At A level 70% of pupils achieved A*/A grades following the AQA specification. Several students apply to Oxford or Cambridge to read physics, natural sciences or engineering each year.
The department is well resourced and staffed. There are ten specialist teachers, who enjoy the support of able and energetic technicians, who ensure that everything runs smoothly as well as designing new experiments. The department is located centrally within the school. There are three laboratories, a small lecture theatre, prep room and office. All teaching rooms are equipped with desktop PCs and 4k SMARTboards.
The department has a particularly successful extra-curricular offering. In addition to its contributions to the annual school-wide STEM Week, recent visits to the National Physical Laboratory and CERN were extremely popular. In addition, every year Sixth Form pupils enter the Physics Olympiad and the Physics Challenge. Pupils’ achievements in competitions are excellent.
The School has in place DfE recognised arrangements for the Induction Year and the confirmation of NQT status. It also has considerable experience and success in guiding new and unqualified Physics graduates into the profession. For all teachers new to Highgate, regardless of experience, there is a strong and supportive framework of induction to the School.
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. School staff have free access to the School’s sports facilities.
Highgate’s partnership scheme, of which the Physics department is a major contributor, aims to offer enrichment classes for bright pupils in local schools, specialist teacher INSET, curriculum development and support for materials and experiments.
Links have been made with the staff and pupils in ten maintained schools in the boroughs of Haringey, Camden, Islington, Newham and Brent. Work has focused on running extension sessions for able pupils and providing CPD for teachers with a particular focus on developing their knowledge and experience of practicals to enhance learning. We consider these experiences vitally important for creating an interest and understanding of Physics, but they are often not available to pupils in schools where there are limitations in equipment and fewer Physics specialists.
For Sixth formers, we have two research-based projects currently running at Queen Mary University and UCL. At Queen Mary, we are using Kepler telescope data to search for exoplanets, with students learning how to automate the task by writing code in Python, and, at UCL, we have a research project investigating the molecular outflows from young stars, using original research data collected for the project. Our students have discovered previously undetected molecules in four of these stellar nurseries.
We have also provided half-termly Saturday morning ‘masterclass’ sessions for over fifty Year 11 pupils aimed at raising aspiration and awareness. GCSE, A-level, BMAT, and British Physics Olympiad preparation classes were run on request at both Highgate and one of our newest partner schools, the London Academy of Excellence, Tottenham. Highly successful competitive physics-based events have been run for pupils in Years 8 and 12; at a recent Year 12 Partnership Conference, pupils enjoyed lectures on the physics of Brian Cox’s The Wonders of Life, the search for Earth-like planets, and the world of quantum mechanics.