St Helen's School is one of the leading independent day schools in the country, educating girls aged 3-18.
We are looking for a dynamic, innovative Head of Department to lead our thriving Geography Department.
The management responsibilities as the Head of Geography include:
• to provide leadership and line management to the staff in the Department
• to monitor the work of staff in the Department via formal and informal lesson observations, work scrutiny, annual Professional Development Review meetings and other appropriate means, ensuring that learning and teaching within the Department is consistent with the Headmistress’ Vision for St Helen’s
• to provide support, coaching, mentoring, challenge and advice to all members of the Department to secure the highest standards of learning, teaching and professional development
• to develop and implement departmental policies in line with whole school policies
• to ensure the ongoing development, implementation, monitoring and review of departmental schemes of work, teaching strategies, homework, marking, assessment, recording and reporting
• to evaluate the work of the Department and report to the Senior Leadership Team
• to organise the teaching of the Department
• to ensure effective communication within the Department and to hold regular minuted departmental meetings and organise the teaching of the Department
• to delegate clearly defined areas of responsibility to other members of the Department
• to assist in the assessment and selection of prospective pupils in consultation with the Deputy Head Academic, to ensure that all members of the Department have access to professional development opportunities which are consistent with their own needs and those of the Department and School
• to be responsible for departmental resources
• to ensure a safe working environment for staff and pupils, both in the classroom and on
• to prepare and manage the annual departmental budget
• to liaise with the teacher responsible for the Humanities in the Prep School
• Carry out such duties that may be reasonably required by the Headmistress
• Follow responsibilities as defined in the Health & Safety Policy
• Promote and safeguard the welfare of children and young people with whom s/he comes into contact and adhere to and ensure compliance with the School’s Child Protection Policy
• Support and promote and School’s ethos, aims and objectives.
Teaching at St Helen’s
All teachers are expected to ensure the highest standards of teaching and learning by:
• Preparing and delivering challenging and differentiated lessons
• Setting homework in accordance with the School’s homework policy
• Marking work in accordance with the School’s marking policy
• Using all available data and information to ensure that each student is provided with an appropriate programme of study
• Having a good understanding of the schemes of work they are following and how these fit into the overall scheme of work for the subject they are teaching
• Keeping up-to-date with developments in the teaching of their subject
The successful candidate will have:
• A good honours degree in a relevant or associated subject
• Experience of teaching Geography across the secondary age range and demonstrable passion for the subject
• Detailed understanding of current developments in the secondary curriculum and assessment
• A clear motivation to work with young people
• The ability to form and maintain appropriate relationships and boundaries with young people
• Commitment to further professional development
• a teaching qualification such as a PGCE
• Ability to teach an additional Humanities subject.
Geography is taught throughout the School by four members of staff (including the Head of Department). The department is well-resourced for all key stages and continues to be updated to meet the changing geographical world. It has two dedicated teaching rooms for KS3/4 and one for Sixth Form teaching. These contain teacher PCs and state of the art SMART interactive boards. The department has a proud record of developing the use of ICT to support effective learning and teaching, and has developed a range of innovative approaches to improve attainment, such as integrating the development of ICT skills within the subject at KS3 to ensure progression to a high level of competence by GCSE. The department makes frequent use of the School's IT suites and class sets of laptops to support the students' learning, and enables the students to access a very a wide range of digital resources on the School's VLE and elsewhere, as well as specialist software. Future development plans will include reviewing and refining the new GCSE and A Level programmes of study. In addition, the department is moving to incorporate ArcGIS into all key stages to equip the students with the skills needed for fieldwork investigations at GCSE and A Level. The department is a member of the Geographical Association and the recently established London branch, as well as the Royal Geographical Society.
The subject is taught in teaching groups from Year 7 to Year 9 following departmental schemes of work. The department subscribes to the ‘Progress in Geography’ textbook.
At GCSE the AQA specification is followed. Students are required to study at least one Humanities subject to GCSE from a choice of Geography, History, RS and Classical Civilisation, and there are typically three Geography classes in each of Years 10 and 11. The Sixth Form currently follows the OCR specification to A Level. A Level and AS courses are taught separately and will both be examined at the end of Year 13. The department also prepares students for university entrance including applications to Oxford and Cambridge.
The department has an established fieldwork programme which enables progression in the students’ enquiry skills from Years 7-13:
• Year 7 (1 day) Woodland Ecosystem at Epping Forest FSC
• Year 8 (1 day) Fieldwork at the River Ching and Lea Valley Country Park
• Year 9 (1 day) Fieldwork in East London with FSC London
• Year 10 undertake a residential weekend field course at FSC Juniper Hall to meet the requirements of the GCSE specification
• Year 12 have a 3day residential course at the Cranedale field centre in Yorkshire in March where AS students are prepared for the Skills paper and A Level students develop skills which they will apply to the Independent Investigation.
The Department additionally offers a biennial visit to Iceland for students in Years 10-13.