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Director of Music – St Helen’s School – Northwood HA6

Company: St Helen's School

Location: Northwood HA6

  • Full Time

St Helen's School

Northwood HA6

required for September 2020

Recruitment Pack

St Helen’s School

Eastbury Road, Northwood, HA6 3AS

Tel: (01923) 843210

Email: [email protected]

St Helen’s School

Director of Music

Thank you for showing an interest in this post.

We hope that the following information about St Helen’s and description of the

responsibilities of the post will help you to decide that this is an application which you

wish to pursue. We look forward to hearing from you.

The School

St Helen’s is an academically selective independent girls’ day school of more than 1100

students aged 3-18, set in over 20 acres of beautiful green space in Northwood, Middlesex. It

draws pupils from a wide area of north-west London, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire

with easy access by Underground from central London.

We aim to ensure that every girl:

  • is excited by learning and the opportunity to excel
  • is intellectually curious and thinks independently
  • is confident and able to lead as well as be a team member
  • has integrity, celebrates diversity and respects others
  • uses her talents, energy and enthusiasm for the benefit of the community
  • has skills which enable her to become a leader of her community and profession

Our students achieve high academic standards and we encourage them to develop lifelong

skills in a diverse range of areas, both within and outside the curriculum, and to pursue

their individual ambitions. The School is proud of its tradition of providing a balanced and

forward-looking education through which the girls can become confident, independent

learners and leaders in their fields, their professions and their communities. Attention to

the individual child is at the heart of everything we do and shapes the pastoral care,

teaching and learning and the co-curricular opportunities on offer at St Helen’s.

The successful candidate will be expected to embrace the culture of the School, which is

deeply-rooted in its fine history and is also forward-looking and innovative.

Our twenty-year Estates Masterplan sets out our vision to develop and transform the

School’s facilities to meet the needs and challenges of education in the 21st century. In

2014 we opened The Centre, a multi-purpose performing arts, lecture and sports facility

incorporating The Mint Café. The exciting new Woolfson building for KS2 was opened in

2016, enabling us to use the former Junior School buildings to improve our Senior School

learning and teaching facilities and to provide a single focal point for our Sixth Form.

Recently our Dining Hall was redeveloped, and an all-weather sports facility added to our

impressive Sports facilities. In 2018 state-of-the-art Mary Short School of Music building

was opened and a new STEM building will open in September 2020.

The School was inspected by ISI in November 2016 under the new inspection regime and

was found to be fully compliant with the Independent School Standards Regulations. We

are delighted that the Quality of Education Inspection judged both the achievement of

pupils and their personal development to be ‘Excellent’. The full report is available on the

School website:

The Senior School

St Helen’s Senior School caters for approximately 670 girls from Year 7 to Year 13,

including around 160 in the Sixth Form. We accept approximately 100 girls into Year 7

each year, drawn from both our own Prep School and from a wide range of maintained

primary and independent preparatory schools in roughly equal proportions.

The broad and balanced education which we provide caters for ‘the whole child’ in terms

of academic excellence and emotional growth. Each girl is encouraged to be a self-

motivated and independent learner with the confidence to express her opinions firmly and

respectfully, the ambition to aim high in everything she does, and the curiosity to develop

broader interests both within and outside the classroom.

In Year 7 the girls engage with a broad and challenging programme of study: Mathematics,

English, a bespoke skills-based Science course which prepares them for study of the three

separate science subjects from Year 8, Computer Science, History, Geography, Drama,

Art, Music, Design & Technology, Latin, Religious Studies, Physical Education, PHSCE and

a choice of two modern foreign languages: French, German, Spanish or Mandarin.

The girls take IGCSE examinations in the core subjects of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry

and Biology in Year 11, as we believe that these currently provide the best preparation for

study at A Level and university. Remaining subjects are a mixture of GCSEs and IGCSEs.

Classical Civilisation, Classical Greek, Italian and Japanese are offered as new courses in

Year 10, which lead to the GCSE qualification.

From September 2018 we redesigned our Sixth Form curriculum to enable pupils to tailor

their experience to suit their strengths and needs. Depending upon the pathway they

choose, pupils have the flexibility to study either three or four subjects to A level; many will

take an AS qualification over two years; most will take on the Extended Project

Qualifications; all participate in our unique St Helen’s Programme, which includes a

fortnightly lecture, University Preparation sessions, PE and a Personal Impact Programme.

Pathway A: 3 A levels & EPQ plus Enhancement course and St Helen’s Programme

Pathway B: 3 A levels & EPQ plus AS level over 2 years and St Helen’s Programme

Pathway C: 4 A levels plus an optional EPQ and St Helen’s Programme

Computer Science is a vital element in the curriculum: we possess several computer

rooms and a fully-equipped Language Laboratory. All staff are provided with an iPad,

and classrooms are equipped with Smart boards which enable innovative approaches to

support learning and teaching. Science, Music, Art and Design & Technology are taught

within well-equipped specialist facilities.

On joining Senior School, girls are allocated to a tutor group of approximately 20 girls,

although Sixth Form tutor groups are considerably smaller than this. The form tutor plays

a central role in the School’s pastoral care, and is the first port of call for pupils, teachers

and parents. The tutor is able to answer most questions girls and parents have, or to refer

them on as necessary. The tutor’s main role, however, is to promote effective academic

progress and complete engagement with our extensive co-curricular programme through

our mentoring system, which enables every girl to realise her full potential. The House

system helps to build a sense of unity across the age range, and the girls take part in

friendly House-based competitions in Sport and Performing Arts. The Houses also provide

a focus for many of our charitable fund-raising activities throughout the year.

St Helen’s girls enjoy a broad range of activities beyond those available in the

classroom. Many girls take additional instrumental Music, Ballet or Speech & Drama

lessons, and the school day is organised to accommodate a great many co-curricular

activities, during lunchtimes as well as after school. Every day girls engage in activities

which genuinely broaden their experiences and horizons; from the Heath Robinson

Inventors’ Club, Model United Nations and Origami Club to a vast array of

opportunities to get involved in élite and social Sport, Music and Drama. Our unique

relationship with Merchant Taylors’ School allows our girls to enjoy joint ventures with

the MTS boys, including the Phab programme and joint concerts and productions.

Many of the girls in the Upper School and Sixth Form (Years 10-13) are either a

member of the Combined Cadet Force (run jointly with Merchant Taylors’ School) or

work towards The Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. We have

recently extended our Phab provision by providing a regular Phab Club for disabled

guests, supported by girls (and MTS boys) in Years 10 and 11.

Pupils’ all-round educational experience is enhanced by a comprehensive programme of

educational visits for every year group, and by visiting speakers who complement school-

based activities. We promote the values of the St Helen’s community through regular

Assemblies and House meetings.

Staff report formally to parents in writing once a year and hold Parents’ Evenings during

which parents are able to discuss their daughters’ overall progress. Parents are encouraged

to visit the School frequently, to attend presentations, end of term concerts, charity events

and displays of work. Staff support of concerts, plays and other events is expected.

The Department

Curricular Music at St Helen’s
Curricular Music at St Helen’s is currently taught by five teachers, three in the Senior

School and two in the Prep School. The Director of Music is supported by a full-time

Assistant Director of Music in the Senior School. During the academic year 2019-2020,

the Director of Music is working part-time and job-sharing the role with the Assistant

Director of Music, with the shortfall in classroom teaching being made up by a third part-

time Music Teacher. In the Prep School, the full-time Head of Prep School Music is

supported by a part-time Music Teacher. The Director of Music usually teaches curricular

Music from Years 7 to 13 and has overall responsibility for Music throughout St Helen’s

School. The Music Department is supported by a part-time Administrator who assists

with the organisation and logistical management of the Department. The Recording

Studio is supported by a full-time AV/Theatre Technician who has additional

responsibilities throughout the School.

Music is very much taught as a practical subject at St Helen’s. Much emphasis is placed on

composition and improvisation in curricular Music lessons, as well as on the study of

music from different countries and historical periods.

Girls in EYFS and KS1 have two 30-minute class Music lessons each week, which include

singing, playing percussion instruments, listening to music, creative activities and

movement to music. There is also a weekly hymn practice.

In KS2 pupils have two 30-minute Music lessons each week in Year 3 and 4, one of which

primarily involves learning the recorder, while Years 5 and 6 learn Music in a weekly

hour-long lesson. Lessons throughout KS2 maintain a balance between performing,

listening, composing and applying knowledge and understanding, and the teaching

incorporates elements of the Kodály and Dalcroze methods, incorporating skills such as

inner hearing and reading and writing notation.

In the Senior School, topics covered in Years 7 to 9 classes currently include minimalism,

the blues, music from the Caribbean, film music, the Baroque and Classical periods and

folk music. In Years 7 to 9, class concerts in which all students perform and discuss their

performances take place three times a year. Much composition, improvisation, aural

training and recording takes place in class, and students also perform individually, or in

ensembles, before and after whole-school and section assemblies in the Rowland Brown

Hall and elsewhere. GCSE and A Level Music results have been outstanding in recent

years; students generally achieve 9-7 grades at GCSE, and Grade A*- B at A Level. We

currently use the Edexcel specifications for GCSE and OCR for A Level Music.

Co-curricular Music
We provide a wide range of opportunities for all girls to become fully involved in the

Music Department, with an extensive programme of co-curricular activities. Large

numbers of pupils in the Prep and Senior Schools are involved in orchestras, choirs,

concert bands and numerous smaller instrumental and vocal groups. Prep School co-

curricular groups include Orchestra, Concert Band, Year 3 & 4 Choir, Year 5 & 6 Choir,

String Ensemble, Guitar Club, Recorder Group and Djembe Club. In Senior School the

Music Department’s co-curricular programme includes the School Orchestra, Concert

Band, String Orchestra, Senior Choir, Chamber Choir, Year 7 & 8 Choir, Joint Choir

with Merchant Taylors’ (including members of staff and parents), Big Band, Dixieland

Band, Brass Group, Acoustic Guitar Group, Rock Band, Clarinet Choir, String Quartet,

Saxophone Ensemble, Flute Choir and Recorder Consort.

Links with Merchant Taylors’ School
We regularly participate in joint events with Merchant Taylors’ School. These include an

annual Joint Concert featuring an instrumental first half and a major choral work or

works in the second half performed by the massed choirs of St Helen’s, Merchant

Taylors’, local prep schools and parents and friends of the school. In recent years the first

half has comprised performances from the jazz ensembles of both St Helen’s and

Merchant Taylors’. Recent choral works performed at these concerts have included

Mozart’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Durante’s Magnificat, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms

and Lambert’s The Rio Grande. The conducting of these works is usually shared by the

Director of Music of St Helen’s and a member of the Merchant Taylors’ Music

Department. Larger scale events take place every so often, and in the last few years we

have taken girls to perform in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Birmingham Symphony

Hall in concerts organized by the Merchant Taylors’ Company. A joint musical takes place

every year, also in partnership with Merchant Taylors’ School, and the venue alternates

between the two schools. Recent musicals at St Helen’s have included 9 to 5, Kiss Me

Kate, We Will Rock You, Footloose, Anything Goes and Cabaret.

Performing Opportunities
Pupils throughout the Prep and Senior Schools take part in many concerts during the

year. We regularly give concerts at London venues such as St John’s Smith Square and

Southwark Cathedral. There is a tradition of Senior School music tours, most recently to

Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands. Most of the co-curricular

Senior School choirs and instrumental groups include girls from Years 7 to 13. Music

Scholarships and Exhibitions are awarded to girls in Year 7 and Year 12, and holders of

these awards make a significant contribution to the work of the Music Department. A

Music Competition is held in the Spring Term each year, open to all pupils in the Senior

School. The Carol Service takes place in Holy Trinity Church, Northwood, and the

Founder’s Concert usually takes place in Emmanuel Church, Northwood, although in

2019 a special 120th-anniversary Founder’s Concert took place in St Alban’s Cathedral

featuring a performance of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde with musicians from Year 3 to Year

13. Prep School pupils participate in the Autumn Concert, Carol Service and Founder’s

Concert each year, go carol singing at a local residential home, and perform in their own

Musical Evening at the end of the Spring Term. All pupils in the Prep School perform in

Christmas shows with a strong musical aspect, while Year 6 girls take part in their annual

Summer Play or Musical. In addition, many individuals and groups showcase their talents

at Prep School Prizegiving and Senior School Speech Day. All concerts and other musical

events are supported by large audiences, and parental support for music is strong.

Instrumental Lessons
A large proportion of the pupils in the School play at least one musical instrument, and

many play several. It is not uncommon for girls to have passed Grade 8 with Distinction in

more than one instrument, and we always have a number of pupils in Year 7 who are very

advanced musicians. We enter pupils who are taking instrumental music lessons at St

Helen’s for ABRSM practical music examinations, which are held termly in the Music

Department. Some of our pupils also achieve ABRSM performing diplomas, and a number

attend the Junior Departments of the London conservatoires and play in orchestras run

by a number of Music Services during term time and in the school holidays.

St Helen’s pupils receive outstanding teaching and coaching in the Music Department; our

team of approximately twenty Instrumental Music Teachers includes some of the best

performing musicians in London. Individual lessons start in Year 3. Prior to this, girls in

Years 1 and 2 may opt to take part in Carousel Music, in which they have group ‘taster’

lessons in violin and cello.

The Senior School Music Department is based in the Mary Short School of Music, which is

a bespoke building which opened in November 2018 and includes a recital hall,

classrooms including a Music Tech Room equipped with a suite of Macs, practice rooms, a

drum room, a recording studio and offices. The Music Department is a lively, dynamic

environment which is very popular in the School. Many girls are found in the School of

Music on an almost daily basis, rehearsing, composing music, practising their instruments

or attending individual singing and instrumental lessons. The recording studio in the

School of Music has become an important addition to our musical life, enriching Music

lessons in Year 9 and above and adding a new dimension to the Music Department in

many ways.

The Role


  • Provide strategic leadership of academic and co-curricular Music throughout the

whole School (Nursery to Year 13)

  • Develop opportunities for girls to gain experience of performing, both as solo

performers and in ensembles, with particular focus on developing on orchestral

playing, with the School Orchestra as the flagship ensemble

  • In consultation with the Executive Team, determine the annual programme of musical

events and concerts, including performances both within and outside the School

  • Act as the public face of music at St Helen’s by maintaining and developing the profile

of the School’s music in the wider community

  • Lead and oversee the long-term plans for music throughout the School, including he

further development of music technology within curricular and co-curricular Music

  • Develop and implement an outreach music strategy for partnerships and outreach

music projects with maintained and independent schools including Merchant Taylors’

and community groups

Leadership of Academic and Co-Curricular Music at St Helen’s

  • Lead the work of the staff and students through personal example as a practising

performer, composer or conductor

  • Conduct the School Orchestra and take such other ensembles as may be


  • Inspire and lead the School’s music performance work as a whole
  • Ensure that Music Scholars have an appropriate scholarship programme in place to

support their development within music

  • Secure excellent standards of pupil attainment and achievement through monitoring

and supporting student progress in Music throughout the School

  • Ensure that the academic music curriculum is appropriately delivered through liaison

with the Academic Deputy Head, Director of Studies and Head of Prep School


Management and Communication

  • Liaise with the Director of Communications and Marketing Department to

coordinate the marketing and publicity of musical events

  • Ensure that stories of musical achievements by girls and ensembles are made

available for posting on the School website

  • Ensure that prompt and appropriate communication with parents takes place,

whether over individual concerns which may arise from time to time in relation to

the work of the Department, or in relation to communicating to parents the

School’s vision for music

  • Liaise with the Head of Art, Director of Drama and Director of Sport, to develop

and promote collaborative projects where appropriate

  • Liaise with the Director of Music and others at Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School in

the planning of joint concerts, the annual Joint Musical and other musical events

  • Attend meetings of the Joint Performing Arts Committee, Curriculum Admin Group

Heads of Departments Committee and Co-Curricular Logistics Committee, and

attend other meetings as required

  • Plan and manage the overall music budget and other available resources
  • Organise and lead a programme of music tours to the UK and abroad

Line Management

  • Lead, supervise and manage the Senior School music teachers, Music Administrative

Assistant, Prep School Head of Music and Instrumental Music Teachers

  • Motivate the team ensuring that all work is consistently performed to a high


  • Ensure the proper induction of new staff to the Department, including Instrumental

Music Teachers, NQTs and trainee teachers (where applicable)

  • Manage the annual professional development review/appraisal process for the Music


  • Identify team training and development requirements and arrange training and

development as required


  • 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 and Safeguarding 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 pupil 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

Person specification

The successful candidate will have:


  • A good honours degree in Music or a related subject or equivalent qualification
  • Demonstrable passion for teaching Music at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5
  • Detailed understanding of current developments in the secondary curriculum and


  • Substantial experience of teaching in a school Music department in KS3 and to GCSE

and A Level

  • Good ICT skills and knowledge of the use of technology within music education
  • A thorough understanding of current developments in music and performance
  • Artistic integrity and the ability to inspire the musical life of the whole School

leading it forward with vision and energy

  • The ability to motivate and lead a team
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • 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
  • Experience of teaching Music across the Senior School age range (Years 7-13)


  • A teaching qualification such as PGCE (or equivalent)
  • Experience of leading a Music Department in a school
  • An interest in leading Music in an all-through School
  • Evidence of commitment to further professional development
  • A proven record of success in pursuing music professionally at a high level

The teacher should also have knowledge and understanding of:

  • Effective learning and teaching styles
  • Theory and practice of providing effectively for the individual needs of all children

(e.g. classroom organisation, planning, teaching strategies and removing barriers to


  • Monitoring, assessment, recording and reporting of pupils’ progress
  • An appreciation of how assessment supports effective learning
  • The need for high quality pastoral support to complement the academic experience

of pupils aged 3-18

  • Legislation and best practice concerning Equal Opportunities, Health & Safety,

Individual Learning Needs and Keeping Children Safe in Education

The teacher will be able to:

  • Promote the School’s aims, ethos and ‘whole school’ approach to learning
  • Develop effective relationships with pupils, parents, staff and governors
  • Create a happy, challenging and effective learning environment
  • Communicate effectively (both orally and in writing) to a variety of audiences
  • Work collaboratively with others
  • Work in a fast-paced and stimulating environment
  • Promote and safeguard the welfare of children

The teacher will be able to demonstrate:

  • Willingness to participate in the wider life of the School
  • Commitment to participation in the School’s expanding programme of

educational visits

Benefits of working at St Helen’s include:

  • Competitive salary scale with the opportunity to apply for Contribution Awards to

achieve salary progression

  • Membership of the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme
  • Access to the School’s swimming pool and fitness suite
  • On-site parking and excellent public transport links
  • Free lunch and refreshments
  • Generous sick pay and maternity pay
  • A beautiful working environment – the School is set in a conservation site in excess of

20 acres

  • A supportive community of highly motivated pupils and staff

The application process:

Applications for this post close at 9.00 am on Friday 25th October and a selection day will

be held on Tuesday 12th November with a second selection day TBC.

Applicants should complete an application form and supplementary application form

downloadable from the School website (

Please submit your application by email to [email protected]

The selection process:

Shortlisted candidates will be selected to visit the school as part of a two stage process

which will include a one-hour lesson to a class in Senior School. Details of the lesson

will be sent out in advance. The lesson will be observed by appropriate members of the

School’s Leadership Team.

Candidates will be interviewed and the interview panel will include members of the

School’s Leadership Team and an external consultant.

Candidates will also have the opportunity to tour the School and to meet members of

the Department staff informally.

The post is subject to various recruitment checks which will include:

1. Enhanced DBS clearance

2. A minimum of two references obtained prior to the selection day

3. Proof of right to work in the UK

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