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Top Twelve Reasons to Work at Harris Westminster

1) Varied and vibrant students
Both students and staff say that the best thing about Harris Westminster is the student body: taken from all over London they bring elements of different cultures, ideas, and upbringing into Steel House.

2) Bright and motivated students
Teaching able sixth-formers brings different challenges and there is a certain joy to knowing that at some point in the week you can expect to be asked a question to which you do not know the answer.

3) Competitive and enthusiastic students
The students throw themselves into everything that is going on: house competitions are fought over tooth and nail; end-of-term concerts are well-attended and beautifully put together; student societies (a wide range of the weird and the wonderful) are passionately supported; and the walls decorated with posters for events and strange, geeky jokes.

4) Interesting and intelligent colleagues
The staff body is equally enriching with passionate subject experts from every area of the curriculum. Working within a community of scholars means there’s always someone you can learn from. Teachers are treated as adults and are given valuable freedom but there is no shortage of inspiration or assistance when required.

5) A marvellous location
As well as being conveniently located for the tube network and three major transit hubs, Harris Westminster is set in the heart of political and cultural London, which is inspiring and enriching as well as offering easy access to the West End.

6) The opportunity to teach what you’ve always wanted to
“Cultural Perspectives” classes give all teachers the opportunity to design their own eight-week course and deliver it to students. A great opportunity to teach the History of the Persian Empire, to take a Personal Exploration of Democracy, or to offer students Six Easy(ish) Steps to an Unsolved Mathematical Theorem.

7) Impressive guest lectures
Every week a guest speaker comes to deliver a lecture and question-and-answer session to the students and staff. Attendance is optional but teachers are encouraged to take advantage of any talks they find interesting.

8) Events in Westminster Abbey
Assemblies take place monthly in Westminster Abbey (and weekly in St Margaret’s, parliament’s church) – a unique opportunity to become familiar with a building that is at the heart of many national events. An annual service of Remembrance is held for the school on 11th November, tying a young school (and its young people) to the traditions of the past.

9) Excellent CPD
The annual CPD programme is coherent, teaching-focused, interesting, well-delivered, and referred to throughout the year. Teachers are encouraged, in CPD, in subjects, and in staff room conversation, to think hard about how they teach and how they expect students to learn. In addition, staff have access to the Harris Federation suite of training courses, from NQT to NPQH, and to an excellent library of resources, both physical and electronic.

10) Experience and Advancement
Staff are encouraged to have ideas about improving the school and to take a lead on initiatives that interest them. The partnership with Westminster School offers a great deal of stimulation for ideas, opportunities, and the chance to compare independent and state schooling. Meanwhile, performance management focuses on career development and opportunities within and without the school – staff are often internally promoted or find themselves well equipped to take the next step in another organization.

11) A supportive working environment
Staff enjoy each other’s company, not just in scholarly conversations around the school but afterwards in one of the local hostelries (which are used by the staff book club as well as a wide variety of less-formal groups). The staff room is friendly and there is an Assistant Principal who leads on welfare and is available to support where needed (with the assistance of the welfare dog).

12) Making a difference
Every member of staff is encouraged to contribute to school improvement, to self-development, to the success of the students; and this means that successes are truly shared. There is a sense of being part of something special – a school that takes students from ordinary and disadvantaged backgrounds and puts them on track for elite universities and elite careers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there particular conditions associated with working for the Harris Federation?
Teaching staff have very similar contracts to teachers at other schools and are encouraged to be part of the teachers’ pension scheme and to join a union. Salaries are £2,000 above the corresponding pay spine point and there is a wide range of benefits including health assurance.

Is the Harris Westminster calendar different from that of an ordinary school?
During Year 13, students come in for Saturday School to study their subjects in intensive morning sessions. All full time teaching staff are expected to attend one of these sessions each half term as allocated by their Head of Faculty. There is also an Interviews Day for prospective students in February that is compulsory for all staff. These Saturdays count towards the usual 190 days and there are, consequently, longer holidays.