The Perse School


Head of French
Upper & 6th Form
Closing date 26th Feb 2018, 2:00pm



School Description

The Perse School is a charitable company and one of the country’s leading independent day schools.

Our vision is to love learning and strive for the greater good. The values that define our community are: intellectual curiosity and scholarship, endeavour, breadth and balance, and valuing one another. All aspects of the School were classified as outstanding in its 2016 inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

We educate girls and boys from 3-18 on three sites in Cambridge: the Pelican Nursery and Pre-Prep, the Prep and the Upper. Children thus progress through three different schools, and have all the benefits of being part of one larger institution with an integrated curriculum and pastoral care system.

We have a clear learning philosophy. We are academically selective; bright children thrive here and embrace the many opportunities we provide to go beyond the curriculum. We provide a rounded education, with first class opportunities in sport, art, outdoor pursuits, music and drama, and a large number of thriving clubs, societies and extra-curricular activities in which all pupils participate.

The pastoral system is strong and supportive, the student body is diverse, and the atmosphere is open and friendly. We provide more than £1 million each year in means-tested bursaries at the Upper and Prep, to ensure children from all backgrounds can benefit from a Perse education.

In the last decade we have invested over £40 million in new and improved facilities across the three sites. This includes two new classroom blocks at the Upper, a Science Centre at the Prep, new sports fields in Little Abington and a Performing Arts Centre (currently under construction).

There are around 400 staff across the whole Perse School (Upper, Prep and Pelican), around half of whom are teachers.

For an overview of the benefits of working at The Perse, please see our reasons to work at The Perse section.

The Role

The Perse School are looking to appoint an inspiring teacher of French to lead this highly regarded, vibrant and dynamic department. This is a senior middle management position in the School, with responsibility for leadership and management of the academic subject and staff in the department.

The Department

The French department team consists of twelve talented and committed teachers, two of whom are native speakers. Whether teaching Year 7 beginners or an Upper Sixth A level group, we aim to stimulate a love of language learning. We believe that an oral approach to language learning is essential if pupils are to speak and write fluently in French, and consequently oral work in its various forms is the basis of most lessons. Pupils are encouraged to read as much as possible, and the library is equipped with a range of readers, magazines, newspapers and literary texts, as well as an extensive collection of French films.

All students at The Perse School study at least one modern foreign language to IGCSE. French is taught in ability sets from the Year 7 onwards. There are usually two French sets in the Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth. The School currently follows the Edexcel specification for IGCSE and AQA for A-level. Departmental facilities include timetabled lessons for all pupils in an ICT room with language learning software, access to interactive whiteboards and an extensive collection of audiovisual resources. Expectations are high, and examination results are strong. We buck the national trend, with French an increasingly popular subject which attracts students from all subject specialisms who recognise that the ability to speak and understand a language beyond GCSE level will be a real asset at university and beyond. French combines well with all subjects, whether arts, sciences or humanities and we regularly have 30-40 Sixth Form students studying French, roughly a third of whom will continue to study languages at university in one form or another. In the  last three years, the department has also been offering the Diplôme d’Etude de Langue  Française (DELF) at B2 level as an optional extra qualification for A-level linguists and the B1 level for non A-level linguists who are still keen to develop their French beyond GCSE.

Each A-level group is taught by three teachers and includes one lesson per week in a group of just two students with our Assistant, who is a native speaker and who has particular responsibility to prepare students for the speaking examinations.

Trips and Exchanges:

French Exchange with Paris (Years 9 and Y12): In 2005 we established a link with Notre Dame de Sainte-Croix, an independent Catholic college/lycée (with pre-prep and prep sections on separate sites) in Neuilly-sur-Seine, an affluent western suburb of Paris just two métro stops from the Champs-Elysées. Each year our pupils visit Paris for a week in October and French pupils stay with their Perse partners in February.

Pupils make the most of what Paris has to offer and during the day pupils follow a programme of topical and cultural visits. Past themes include understanding the City through Art and Architecture. The programme invited students to explore how the city moved from a medieval city to the modern city it is today. The programme included a guided tour on the themes of Paris Médieval and Paris Haussmann. Visits to major Art museums and to the Opera Garnier also allowed pupils to explore major French artistic and movements. Another year, the focus was on French politics, pupils were invited to the Assemblée Nationale and to the Sénat to interview in French a Sénateur about the current role of France in Europe.

Y10 French exchange to Biarritz: our exchange with Lycée St Thomas d’Aquin in Saint Jean-de-Luz at the heart of the French Basque country is a very popular visit. French pupils come in December and Perse pupils to France in May.

A measure of the success of French at The Perse is the encouraging number, around one third of students who go on to read Modern Languages at university, either as a stand-alone discipline or in combination with another subject, whether a humanity or a science.

Every year since 2014 Perse teams have won the Regional French Debating Final and qualified for the National Final at the French Institute in London. In 2017 our Sixth form team won the National title. In 2014, 2015 and 2017, our Y11 and Y10 debating teams also won competitions against other local independent schools.

The department has established strong links with the Alliance Française de Cambridge and our Sixth Formers regularly take advantage of the cultural programme on offer and do work experience placements as classroom assistants after school, on Saturdays or during the holidays.

Further information about the department’s curricular and extra-curricular activities (and public examination results) can be found on the following:



A Level:


The School operates to a ten-day timetable cycle, consisting of 80 periods. Most members of staff teach about 59 periods per cycle including games and enrichment sessions. The Head of Department receives timetable remission.

Applicants without formal teaching qualifications or experience

Applicants without formal teaching qualifications will be considered for this position. However, we would expect the successful applicant to have relevant experience and skills to lead a successful department.

2016 ISI Inspection Report
The Pelican, Prep and Upper were inspected during the spring of 2016. The inspection report can be viewed at


Applications are to be made using the School’s online application form.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to the HR Co-ordinator at

Safer Recruitment

The Perse School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post including: references from previous employers, a Disclosure and Barring Service check at the enhanced level, as well as eligibility to work in the UK (in compliance with UK immigration regulations). Interviews will be conducted in person, and they will explore candidates’ suitability to work with children. 

Recruitment Policy

The School’s Recruitment, Selection and Disclosure Policy and Procedure is available for your information on the School website.


Candidates will be invited to spend a day at the School and to meet the Head and Deputy Heads as well as the Director of Modern Foreign Languages and the department. Candidates will be asked to teach a lesson as part of the selection process.

The closing date for applications is on Monday 26th February at 2.00pm and interviews will be on Tuesday 6th March.


The School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.


The Head of French is ultimately accountable to the Head through the Senior Deputy Head, but day to day accountability will be to the Director of Modern Foreign Languages.

The following responsibilities shall be deemed to be included in the professional duties which the post holder may be required to perform:

Management and Leadership

  • To shape the profile, vision and longer term strategic planning of the department.
  • To continuously review the effectiveness of the provision — assessing strengths, areas for development, resources and implementation of policies.
  • Responsibility for the line management and professional development of the department staff, liaising with the Director of Modern Foreign Languages and the Senior Deputy Head.
  • Liaising with the Senior Deputy Head.
  • Liaising with the Deputy Head (teaching and learning).
  • Liaising with the Deputy Head (extra-curricular).
  • Liaising with the Deputy Head (curriculum and operations).
  • Liaising with external agencies and individuals e.g. INSET, curriculum development, Awarding Bodies, representation of the Department’s interests and activities at meetings and via the Communications department. 

Teaching and Learning

Overseeing all aspects of the teaching and development of their academic subject(s), including:

  • Schemes of learning, departmental handbook and assessment of pupils.
  • Ensuring the departmental resources are well organised and available to staff, for example: SharePoint resources, books, software, equipment etc).
  • Leading and coordinating the departmental extra-curricular provision, for example: extension clubs and societies, competitions, trips and visits;
  • Ensuring a frequently changed vibrant montage of student work, articles, posters etc. in the rooms and defined corridors and communal spaces of the department. 


Line management of all members of their department, including:

  • Assisting with the recruitment of new teaching staff;
  • The departmental induction of NQT’s and other new members of staff, and supporting and monitoring their probationary period;
  • Ensuring continuing professional development and contributing to staff appraisals;
  • Providing feedback on effective, efficient and stimulating teaching styles to maximise progress by all pupils whilst allowing for creativity and individuality of teachers;
  • Guiding and supporting staff to ensure their effective performance and wellbeing;
  • Ensuring an effective team culture and setting an example of professional standards of behaviour;
  • Holding regular formal departmental meetings, with an agenda and summarising minutes, as well as frequent informal discussion;
  • Informing staff of relevant school policies and procedures;
  • Allocation of staff to teaching groups and where appropriate subject setting.

Professional Development

  • Keeping up to date with developments in their subject area, and promoting their subject, for example: trips, lectures and visiting speaker.
  • Disseminating all information from Heads of Department and other meetings, for example: exam board and subject organisations.
  • Effective liaison with the relevant subject leader at the Perse Pelican and Perse Prep schools.
  • Marketing the department effectively (with support from the Communications department). 


  • Selecting appropriate examination qualifications to follow in line with school policy and the needs of our pupils.
  • Providing accurate and prompt information to the Exams Office about the external examinations and predicted grades.
  • Where appropriate ensuring that appropriate arrangements for coursework/controlled assessment are in place, including where appropriate task setting, marking, internal moderation and despatch of samples and documentation to external moderators.
  • Submitting assessment data for pupil tracking systems.
  • Organising mock exams, end-of-year exams and where appropriate scholarship and entrance exams (including setting and marking scholarship papers). 

University Entrance

  • Providing individual focused advice to students on relevant university courses.
  • Organisation of additional classes for subject based university additional tests and subject based practice interviews for candidates who will receive university interviews.
  • Provision of advice on task and marking of submitted work where required for university entrance.


  • Ensuring that all relevant Health and Safety measures are in place and adhered to in the department.
  • Responsible to the Bursar for drawing up and administering budgets and ensuring effective expenditure.
  • Liaising with the heads of support functions in the Bursary as relevant to departmental activities (e.g. Finance, HR, ICT, Estates, and Housekeeping).
  • Utilising administrative support from the School Office team as needed, via the School Office Manager. 

Responsibilities as a Teacher 


  • Teaching throughout the school in a manner appropriate to students’ ages and abilities;
  • Assessing and recording students’ progress in accordance with departmental and school policies;
  • Developing and sharing teaching and learning resources;
  • Monitoring the work and progress of pupils, including those with specific learning needs;
  • Maintaining professional skills through INSET and our Professional Development programme;
  • Being proactive in exploring innovative ways of delivering ICT through the curriculum;
  • Producing displays to create an attractive learning environment.


  • Contributing to the extra-curricular life of the school through Games, the Enrichment Programme or other appropriate commitment.
  • Organising and accompanying at least one of the French exchanges/trips annually and overseeing the staffing of other trips or French exchanges.


  •  Taking part in the pastoral life of the school as a form tutor;
  • Contributing to the PSHE programme, if appropriate.


  •  Promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and young persons for whom you are responsible and with whom you come into contact. 


  • The job specification will be reviewed biennially as part of the professional development cycle. Any changes may only be made by agreement with the Head of Department and Senior Deputy Head. 



  • High Class Honours Degree in French or related subject.
  • PGCE desirable but by no means essential.

Personal competencies and qualities

  •  An outstanding, reflective teacher with a genuine passion for the subject.
  • Demonstrates high standards of behaviour and is able to model the School values (intellectual curiosity and scholarship, endeavour, breadth and balance, and valuing one another).
  • Proven communication and interpersonal skills.
  • High level of literacy, attention to detail and ability to use initiative.
  • High order administrative skills, effectively managing commitments and deadlines.
  • A vision for the future of the subject and capacity to lead and inspire a department.
  • Concern for the wellbeing of staff and ability to balance the needs of pupils, staff and the School’s operations.
  • Respects and values the different experiences, ideas and backgrounds others can bring to work and to teams.
  • Emotional resilience to cope with and learn from challenging situations.





Safeguarding and Recruitment Policy


The School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

Safer Recruitment

Applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post including: references from previous employers, a Disclosure and Barring Service check at the enhanced level, as well as eligibility to work in the UK (in compliance with UK government Immigration regulations). Interviews will be conducted in person, and they will explore candidates’ suitability to work with children.

Recruitment Policy

The School’s Recruitment, Selection and Disclosure Policy and Procedure is available for your information on our policies page. This provides details of the pre-appointment vetting checks conducted by the School for all appointments, and how any criminal records disclosures are handled.


How to Apply

Please apply using our online system.

Please note that you will need to have the necessary information ready in order to complete your application in one go, as you will not be able to save the form to continue later.

If you have a query about applying for a job at The Perse please email

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