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Sunday, January 26th, 2020
Company: St Helen's School
Location: Northwood HA6
St Helen's School
required for September 2020
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.
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:
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: http://www.sthelens.london/Inspection-Reports
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
whole School (Nursery to Year 13)
performers and in ensembles, with particular focus on developing on orchestral
playing, with the School Orchestra as the flagship ensemble
events and concerts, including performances both within and outside the School
of the School’s music in the wider community
further development of music technology within curricular and co-curricular Music
music projects with maintained and independent schools including Merchant Taylors’
and community groups
Leadership of Academic and Co-Curricular Music at St Helen’s
performer, composer or conductor
support their development within music
and supporting student progress in Music throughout the School
with the Academic Deputy Head, Director of Studies and Head of Prep School
Management and Communication
coordinate the marketing and publicity of musical events
available for posting on the School website
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
and promote collaborative projects where appropriate
the planning of joint concerts, the annual Joint Musical and other musical events
Heads of Departments Committee and Co-Curricular Logistics Committee, and
attend other meetings as required
Assistant, Prep School Head of Music and Instrumental Music Teachers
Music Teachers, NQTs and trainee teachers (where applicable)
development as required
comes into contact and adhere to and ensure compliance with the School’s Child
Protection and Safeguarding Policy
Teaching at St Helen’s
All teachers are expected to ensure the highest standards of teaching and learning by:
appropriate programme of study
into the overall scheme of work for the subject they are teaching
The successful candidate will have:
and A Level
leading it forward with vision and energy
The teacher should also have knowledge and understanding of:
(e.g. classroom organisation, planning, teaching strategies and removing barriers to
of pupils aged 3-18
Individual Learning Needs and Keeping Children Safe in Education
The teacher will be able to:
The teacher will be able to demonstrate:
Benefits of working at St Helen’s include:
achieve salary progression
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 (www.sthelens.london/staff-vacancies).
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