An opportunity has arisen to appoint an inspirational and well-qualified graduate teacher of Modern Languages with a successful track-record of relevant teaching to take charge of Mandarin teaching in the Senior School. The Head of Mandarin will sit on the Heads of Departments committee, be responsible to the Head of Modern Languages, and through him to the Deputy Head (Academic) and the Head, and will enjoy a good deal of autonomy. This is an exciting opportunity either for a teacher looking for a first promoted post or for a more experienced teacher with an interest in curriculum development and innovation. Applicants will, of course, be responsible for the organisation and development of Mandarin teaching, and its associated extra-curricular activities (e.g. foreign trips, societies, extension programmes etc). The successful candidate will, critically, have the ability and inter-personal skills to set the highest standards among pupils and staff alike, the ambition and imagination to challenge pupils and an insight into and command of the language and its culture, so that (s)he can convey its intricacies at the highest levels. The opportunity to teach another foreign language exists if the candidate wishes it. The Head of Mandarin, in common with all other Heads of Department, will have a coherent vision for the subject, in particular, the non-linguistic aspects of the Mandarin curriculum.
Highgate has a very strong tradition of language teaching. Pupils learn French (and Latin) in Year 7, and follow a general linguistic awareness course in German, Mandarin, Russian and Mandarin. In the third term of Year 7, pupils chose to study an additional modern language from one of these four, which they take through to the end of Year 9 alongside French. A language is compulsory in Year 10, but many pupils take two modern languages. Class sizes are small (10–24 pupils). The Mandarin Department moved from teaching A level to the Pre-U course in 2016. In 2019, 90% of Pre U Mandarin candidates were awarded A* equivalent; 70% of candidates were awarded a D1 grade, which is above A*.
The Modern Languages Department occupies new classrooms overlooking some of the best views in North London, and facilities include computers linked to interactive whiteboards, high-speed Internet connections in each classroom, and other dedicated IT and audiovisual equipment, such as iPads. The Department has offices, resources rooms and smaller classrooms for assistants. The department organises cultural visits or annual exchanges with schools in China, France, Germany, Russia and Spain. The many Modern Languages Societies offer co-curricular cultural opportunities such as poetry declamation, debating with other schools, as well as film and theatre outings in London, and we organise participation in the Linguistics Olympiads. Members of the department are expected to contribute to the department’s exchange and co-curricular programmes; a key quality to Highgate is the willingness of its staff to contribute broadly to the co-curricular life of the school beyond departments.
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 and 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.
James Newton, the Deputy Head (Academic) and Justin Watts, the Head of Modern Languages, are very happy to answer questions
Applicants with a degree from a non-UK university are asked to give detail about the content of their degree and its relevance to teaching Mandarin at IGCSE and A level/Pre-U. Failure to do this will mean that their application may not be considered.