Head of English

Abbey Gate CollegeCheshire West and Chester

Abbey Gate College is the longest-running coeducational independent school in the Chester area, catering for circa 485 pupils aged 4-18 years. Set in the idyllic rural villages of Saighton and Aldford on the outskirts of Chester.

Our pupils are at the heart of everything we do.  We believe education is about building self-esteem, a love of learning and igniting a desire in all our students, to ensure they fulfil their academic and personal potential. We strive to guarantee our children leave Abbey Gate College as confident, articulate, respectful and happy young high achievers.

From the youngest in Foundation to our Sixth Formers, we aim to develop skills for life; core values such as respect and compassion within the framework of an excellent education.  Developing talents and skills in a wide range of areas are encouraged, success is celebrated and endeavour is recognised.

Abbey Gate College is committed to the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

Job Description and Person Specification – Head of English

We are seeking an enthusiastic and committed Head of English to join our department from 1 September 2021.  The successful candidate will become part of an experienced, mutually supportive and dedicated team, and teach across the year groups in the senior school.  Our overall aim is to develop confident, eager and independent learners, who are able to communicate clearly.

Key responsibilities of the post-holder include:

• to take a lead in the future development of the English Department and to show strategic vision, liaising with the Leadership Team as appropriate;

• to provide inspirational teaching and leadership, and to foster a culture of excellence in staff and pupils alike;

• to manage a significant departmental budget, to ensure effective economic expenditure and to lead and organise effective resourcing;

• to ensure the management and development of appropriate syllabuses, materials and schemes of work at all levels up to and including A Level;

• to line-manage the departmental team including involvement in recruitment, induction of new staff, professional development and annual review;

• to maintain links with the Infant and Junior School to ensure continuity of teaching;

• to keep abreast of new trends and educational developments related to the subject;

• to ensure that the department is making effective and appropriate provision for SEND, Able and Talented and EAL learners;

• to ensure that the department is making effective and appropriate use of ICT;

• to organise study visits, lectures and theatre trips as appropriate;

• to promote the work of the department through displays of work within the department and in other appropriate venues throughout the College; whenever possible to enable pupils to participate in appropriate local and national competitions and events, for example essay writing competitions;

• to maintain appropriate links with other departments;

• to supervise the use and care of English resources and rooms allocated to the teaching of the subject;

• to have an overview of literacy across the whole of the College;

• to ensure that the departmental area on the VLE is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.


English is taught in sets throughout KS3 and 4.  Pupils are placed in appropriate sets from Autumn of Year 7; however our approach is flexible and regular monitoring ensures that pupils are in the best position to support as well as to stretch and challenge their learning. Set sizes are between fifteen and twenty. In Years 7, 8 and 9 pupils also take the English Speaking Board examinations.

In English pupils have four 55 minute (50 mins due to COVID19) lessons a week in Years 7 & 8, three lessons in Year 9 and five lessons in Year 10 & 11.  There are five AS lessons and 6 A Level lessons per week.

A Level English Literature is taught to the OCR specification and A Level English Language follows the AQA syllabus. At GCSE, the department has recently moved to the EDUQAS qualification for Language and Literature. The successful candidate should be ready to drive and maintain excellent results at all examination levels.

Key qualities and person specification:

The person appointed should have the following skills and qualities:-

 outstanding professional and personal qualities

 enthusiastic, innovative and creative, and inspirational in their teaching

 committed to raising standards and monitoring pupil progress

 Proven track record of excellence in support of examination success

 able to teach across the curriculum including A Level

 caring, supportive and willing to adapt their teaching to suit the needs of the pupils

 ability to inspire and lead a team, as well as to support and encourage individuals

 excellent communication skills

 effective planning, time-management and organisational  skills

 clear thinker, resourceful and problem-solver

 calm under pressure

 willingness to lead and manage extra-curricular sessions

 proficient with the use of ICT in the classroom (and remote teaching if required)

 confidence in using new technologies to share and promote good practice across the team

Salary, Terms and Conditions

The salary for this position will depend upon the qualifications and relevant experience of the successful candidate.

Child Protection

Abbey Gate College regards as paramount the welfare and safety of children.  Whilst criminal convictions are not necessarily a bar, this safety consideration will be key to all decisions regarding the employment of staff, approval of volunteers and standards of external contractors. An enhanced DBS check and barred check will be required for this role.

Equal Opportunities

We are committed to treating all employees with dignity and respect regardless of race, ethnic background, nationality, colour, gender, transgender status, pregnancy, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief.  We therefore welcome applications from all segments of the community

Supporting documents

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