We always aim to deliver an outstanding service, but there’s no better recommendation than from those who've worked with us before.
If you’re more familiar with the state sector, what should you expect from an independent school? Our guide highlights some key differences to consider.
Meet our team of specialist recruiters for independent schools and find out how we can assist your search.
If you're reading this, we're delighted to say that you're now viewing the brand new version of the Harris Hill Independent Schools website, launched on 1st November 2018. There are plenty of design and content updates, but you’ll find the structure largely unchanged so we hope you'll find it easy to navigate. The real changes are behind the scenes: we wanted to improve your experience by making it significantly quicker and easier to register, search and apply for jobs on the site - things that we know haven’t always been quite as easy as they should – so we've rebuilt everything from scratch using the excellent Volcanic platform, and we hope you’ll start to see the benefits immediately. New features to look out for include: ► the 'Dashboard' page, where you can upload and update your details, keep track of your applications, manage job alerts and more ► fast and accurate new job search functions to help you track down the perfect job in no time... ► ...and a streamlined application process to help you apply in a matter of moments when you do. Why do I need to register again? To build the new site, we’ve moved everything to a brand new provider, but for maximum protection of your data, user account details such as logins and passwords have not been transferred. Unfortunately this does mean that both new and existing users will need to create a new account in order to log in and make full use of the site. However the good news is that it can now be done in a matter of seconds, or with just one click via your LinkedIn profile – so we hope it won’t be a major inconvenience. Please note this only concerns your account login for the website and you will not need to re-supply any other details: if you’ve registered as a candidate with one of our consultants they will still have all the relevant information on hand to help you find a great new independent school job, whether it’s for next term, next year or at some point in the future! All the best from the team and we hope you enjoy using the new site. Harris Hill Independent Schools
Our Senior Consultant (and former teacher) Ben Roberts has helped a wide range of teachers to secure great new roles within independent and international schools. In these quick two-minute videos, he shares useful tips for writing your CV and succeeding at school interviews.
What to expect if you're moving into the independent schools sector for the first time Ask around and you'll hear some widely-held preconceptions about independent schools, even though just 7% of the UK population have attended one as a pupil, much less as staff. But what is it really like to work as a teacher in this sector? The first point to make is that no two schools are the same: just as state schools encompass a wide range of sizes, styles and students, independent schools can be similarly diverse. We've listed some of the common factors below but these won't apply to every school, so it's always worth researching your choice in plenty of detail. So, what should you be aware of? If your state school experience has been characterised by overstretched class sizes, overstretched budgets and overstretched teachers, you might be tempted to see the independent sector as an easier option. While it's often true that you'll be in a pleasant environment with better resources, don't assume your role will necessarily be less demanding: expectations may be higher and you may be required to take on a wider range of responsibilities. Those responsibilities will almost certainly include significant extra-curricular activities. Independent schools look for teachers who can bring something to the school beyond standard class teaching, so there are great opportunities to express and develop your own interests, whether those be musical, sporting, arts and crafts, technological - there'll be plenty of demand for your talents and you'll be encouraged to use them. Activities may well extend to more frequent trips and excursions than you may be used to - of course these will require your time but you'll also enjoy some great experiences and valuable opportunities to take learning outside the classroom. Speaking of the classroom, expect a less rigid approach to the curriculum than you may have encountered in state schools. You'll have greater flexibility to design and plan your own lessons, and creativity is likely to be encouraged. Independent schools are purely for the wealthy and privileged, aren't they? It's a common preconception but you may well be surprised by the diversity of your pupils and their parents. Bursaries and scholarships account for a substantial proportion of attendees, while other parents may be making considerable sacrifices in order to fund their children's education. Either way, with significant fees come significant parental expectations - parents will want to know they are getting the very best for their child, so expect plenty of contact. They may in fact be no more demanding than you may be used to, but do expect (and be prepared to provide) more frequent and detailed communication. Moving between sectors Looking at your career as a whole, you don't need to view the state-or-independent school decision as a once-in-a-lifetime choice. There is increasing fluidity and co-operation between the two sectors: as an independent school teacher you can move back to the state sector, just as the independent sector welcomes state school teachers who can bring the qualities they seek. Don't forget that you can also gain your NQT within the independent sector. Getting the job Lastly a word on the interview process: typically (though not in all cases) an independent school will see fewer candidates but run a more personalised, in-depth process. You'll spend longer at the school, probably taking a lesson or two and meeting people over lunch, and more time will be spent to ensure the right fit between yourself and the institution. As a consequence it may take two weeks or more to see all candidates, so don't panic if you don't hear back immediately, you may well be the very person they're looking for! If you're considering a move into the independent schools sector and would like any further advice, please feel free to give any of the team a call on 020 7587 5153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving overseas to teach in an international school could be one of the most exciting and rewarding career moves you'll ever make. But it's not always easy knowing where to start - how do you find the right school, how will you adjust to the new culture, and what about the day-to-day practicalities like food, socialising, accommodation and getting around? At Harris Hill we can support you all the way through the process, and give you a wealth of first-hand knowledge to help answer those questions and make sure it's the perfect opportunity for you. There's no better reassurance than hearing from others who've recently made the move though, so we asked Sue Wilcox and Sahar El Hussaini, UK-based teachers who we helped to relocate to exciting new roles in Abu Dhabi and Brunei, to share their experience. Sue Wilcox, Abu Dhabi Finding the role To be honest looking for an international job was a bit of a whirlwind - considering the move to then applying and accepting the job was all done in a matter of weeks! I hadn't previously considered a move to the Middle East for an international teaching job, but talking to people and listening to their enthusiasm for the place swayed my decision. It was down to my consultant at Harris Hill really - and her insight into life here. She was absolutely spot on about Abu Dhabi itself: it is a great place. I knew she was on the end of a phone if I needed any assistance of guidance and she was able to help with anything I was unsure about; such as being able to bring my dog, Basil over or for my children to come and visit. Teaching in Abu Dhabi I was excited to see Brighton College - it was so far removed from my village school in Gateshead. The school is very impressive as are the facilities. From arriving at the airport I was welcomed by the Head of Pre-Prep and over the following week the rest of the school staff. Social events and inductions helped me and my fellow 'newbies' settle into Brighton life. I love that the children in my class in FS2 are from all over the world and the different cultures and customs are brought into class through celebration days and topics. I take Year 1 and Year 2 for Gardening and Forest Explorers Club CCA's, the children love it and although I miss the abundant nature to be found in the UK, it's really enjoyable and challenging. Life in Abu Dhabi I think Abu Dhabi is an amazing city: the architecture around the city, the shopping malls, restaurants and leisure facilities ensure that I could never be bored here. It might surprise people to see how easily the Emirati culture and more cosmopolitan western lifestyle go together hand-in-hand, each going about their daily life. The best thing about this city is that I always feel safe, any time of day or night - whenever you walk around people will greet you and are very well mannered. Advice for teachers considering a move You're likely to arrive in Abu Dhabi at the hottest time of the year and it is indeed hot! During October the heat changes and you get the benefits of the wonderful sunny days. Summer clothes are fine to bring for the weekends. Download music and other essentials before you arrive in case you don't have wi-fi access at home for a while. In terms of getting around, the best option is to hire a car which I recommend organising sooner rather than later. If you get a lease for 10 months this will work out a bit cheaper for a better vehicle, than a shorter lease. Either way it will give you the freedom to travel all over the city and to the many different beautiful beaches! Sue Wilcox - EYFS, Brighton College Abu Dhabi Sahar El Hussaini, Brunei Finding the role It was time to look for a new adventure. Both of my children had gone to university, so they were relatively independent and I seriously dislike the cold weather in the UK! While chatting to one of my colleagues in school, she recommended Harris Hill to me as an agency recruiting for independent schools and overseas. I got in touch and sent my CV; and only a couple of days later, we were chatting on Skype and discussing my interests and needs. It was a friendly and relaxed chat during which Brunei was suggested to me as they needed someone to start immediately. I must admit that I wasn't keen at first because of the distance from my home, and my priority was to teach in the Middle East. However as it was November most positions overseas were filled at this time. More importantly, Harris Hill's director of international recruitment had had several meetings with the senior management team; I felt that she knew the school very well and she was confident that I would fit in. Things moved quickly: within a couple of days an interview was arranged with the headmaster and his team. All went well and the next step of the organising my departure was arranged by the school's HR team. So, I signed the contract and left the UK having done little research about my new place! Teaching in Brunei I arrived in Brunei on 27th December 2015 to be greeted at the airport by the head of HR. I was taken to my temporary accommodation where I stayed for a couple of months before moving to the newly built accommodation on campus. Everything was perfect, the school building was well spaced out with an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, and lots of outdoor space for running and cycling. I found that the school was well led with regular training sessions run by members of staff and outside agencies. There is also the opportunity to travel to another country to attend a course if it is deemed necessary. The department I worked in had plenty of resources and the school provides a laptop for every teacher. Also, a short working day meant that I had plenty of time in the afternoon to prepare for the next day and to socialise in the evening. Life in Brunei Getting around is not always easy as there isn't a good public transport system; you could cycle for short distances but having a car is a must if you want to explore the country and take advantage of your stay. A lot of expats buy their own car but I decided to hire a car and share it with a teacher who was on a short term contract like mine. We ended up paying £75 pounds each per month and petrol is very cheap. This meant that we were out nearly every evening trying different cuisine. Restaurants vary in quality but they are all clean and offer a wide selection of food. Everything is freshly cooked and options range from a buffet dinner in a five-star hotel for £20 or choose a dish for £4, so it's very good value. Advice for teachers considering a move Contrary to what some people say there is plenty to see and do in Brunei, from museums, mosques, beaches, jungle walks and visits to parks. If you are sporty, there are some excellent fitness centres and spa facilities at a very reasonable price. If you like horse riding, the polo club is amazing with more than 200 horses there. Being in Brunei means that you are also close to other South East Asian countries and you can travel cheaply using Air Asia. I embraced the new culture and was very happy to get to know the locals, who I would describe as being kind, honest, friendly and humble. I would certainly recommend working there if you get the chance - it is an opportunity not to be missed! Sahar El Hussaini, Brunei