Director of UK Schools at The International School of London Group in UK
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Director of UK Schools
The International School of London Group (UK)

Appointed - Andrew Atkinson
Sep 16, 2014
Oct 18, 2014





(from August 2015)



The Board of the International School of London Group (The ISL Group) seeks to appoint a Director of UK Schools, to take up the position no later than August 2015, and has asked Search Associates to assist them in their search.



    The ISL Group began in 1972 when the International School of London was founded as a private co-educational school. It was one of the earliest schools to offer the IB Diploma, graduating its first Diploma students in 1978.    It now offers the IB Primary and Middle Years programmes in addition to the IB Diploma and is especially well known for its world languages programmes.   As part of the core curriculum, students receive mother tongue or foreign language literacy lessons from early childhood.


    Because of the strength of its languages programme, ISL was selected by Qatar's Supreme Education Council to open a school in Doha as part of the Outstanding Schools initiative. Continuing its expansion, ISL was chosen by Shell to acquire the Surrey-situated Prins Willem Alexander School which, at the time, was the highest performing Dutch school in the world. 


    The ISL Schools now enrol approximately 1600 students across their three campuses in Chiswick, West London; Woking, Surrey; and Doha, Qatar.


    For further information please see



    The Director is responsible for leadership, implementation of strategic direction and management within the two UK schools (Chiswick and Woking) and for promoting the achievement of excellence at every level within the schools.


    Main Responsibilities


    The Director is directly responsible to the CEO and supervises the UK schools’ operations in accordance with Board policies. Although the Director delegates appropriate powers and duties so that operational decisions can be made at various administrative levels, he/she is responsible for the execution of these powers and duties and will establish administrative regulations as needed to manage the schools. The Director will demonstrate the leadership skills to work with the members of the community to develop a shared statement of philosophy, which inspires and motivates students, staff and all other members of the schools’ communities.  This includes core international educational values, moral purpose, and respect of the community’s cultures, values and beliefs. 


    Strategic direction and development of the schools


    To work with the CEO to strategically analyse and plan for the future and the further development of the schools in line with the ISL Group’s overall strategy. 


    • To create an ethos and provide educational vision and direction which secures effective 

    teaching, successful learning and achievement by students and sustained improvement in their ethical, moral, cultural, academic and physical development and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and of adult life

    • To ensure that learning is at the centre of strategic and operational planning and resource 


    • To secure the commitment of parents and the wider community to the vision and 

    direction of each of the schools 

    • To ensure that the strategic plan is underpinned by sound financial planning, which 

    identifies priorities and targets for ensuring that students achieve high standards and make progress, increasing teachers’ effectiveness and securing school improvement

    • To ensure that all those involved in the schools are committed to the ISL Mission and 

    vision, motivated to achieve them and involved in meeting long, medium and short term objectives and targets which secure the educational success of the schools

    • To ensure that policies and practises take account of international, national, local and 

    school data and inspection research findings

    • To monitor, evaluate and review the effects of policies, priorities and targets of the schools 

    in practice and take action if necessary.


    Teaching and Learning


    To secure and sustain effective teaching and learning in each school and to monitor and evaluate the quality of teaching and standards of students’ achievement, using benchmarks and setting targets for improvement.


    • To ensure that all students receive a good quality education through a programme 

    designed to promote a stimulating style of learning in a safe and healthy school environment

    • To ensure a consistent and continuous school-wide focus on students’ achievement, using 

    data and benchmarks to monitor progress in every child’s learning

    • To build on creative, responsive and effective approaches to learning and teaching
    • To ensure a culture and ethos of challenge, accountability and support where all students 

    can achieve success and become engaged in their own learning

    • To be able to demonstrate and articulate high expectations and set stretching targets for 

    the whole community

    • To ensure effective pastoral care of students
    • To ensure the delivery of a demanding and inclusive curriculum and implement a high-

    quality effective assessment framework

    • To be able to take a strategic role in the development of the new and emerging 

    technologies to enhance and extend the learning experience of students

    • To monitor, evaluate and review classroom practice and promote improvement strategies 

    to ensure that under-performance is challenged at all levels and ensure effective corrective action and follow-up is undertaken.


    Leading and managing staff


    To lead, motivate, support, challenge and develop senior administrators and staff within the schools

    • To maximise the contribution of staff to improve the quality of education provided and 

    standards achieved and ensure that constructive working relationships are formed between staff and students

    • To plan, allocate, support and evaluate work undertaken by groups, teams and 

    individuals, ensuring clear delegation of tasks and devolution of responsibilities in a manner consistent with their conditions of service and talents.

    • To implement and sustain effective systems for the management of staff performance, 

    incorporating appraisal and targets for teachers, including targets relating to students’ achievement within the different schools.

    • To ensure that all staff in the schools have access to advice and training appropriate to 

    their needs

    • To conduct annual goal setting and performance reviews for the senior administrators and 

    continuous improvement. 


    Efficient and effective deployment of staff and resources


    To deploy people and resources efficiently and effectively to meet specific objectives in line with the ISL Group strategic plan and financial context:

    • To work with the ISL Group to recruit staff of the highest quality available
    • To work with ISL Group and leaders of the individual schools to deploy and develop all 

    staff effectively in order to improve the quality of education provided

    • To advise the CEO and implement decisions in relation to staffing
    • To advise the CEO on the adoption of effective procedures to deal with the competence 

    and capacity of staff

    • To advise and work with the CEO on appropriate priorities for expenditure, allocate 

    funds and to ensure effective administration and control

    • To manage and organise academic and non-academic space efficiently and effectively, to 

    ensure that it meets the needs of the curriculum and health and safety regulations

    • To make arrangements for the security and effective supervision and maintenance of the 

    school buildings, contents and grounds.

    • To undertake responsibilities as defined in the Health and Safety Policy 
    • To ensure that appropriate risk assessments are in place and followed
    • To manage, monitor and review the range, quality, quantity and use of all available 

    resources in order to improve the quality of education, improve student outcomes, and ensure efficiency and value for money




    • To be accountable to the CEO and the school’s community for the efficiency and effectiveness of the schools and in particular ensuring that students enjoy and benefit from high standards for education, responsibility and citizenship .
    • To provide information, objective advice and support to the CEO and the ISL Group to enable it to meet its responsibilities for securing effective teaching and learning and improved standards of achievement and for achieving efficiency and value for money.
    • To create and develop an organisation in which all recognise that they are accountable for   


    • To present a coherent and accurate account of overall performance in a form appropriate 

    to a range of audiences, including the CEO, parents, board members, the local community, and other professional bodies, to enable them to play their part effectively

    • To ensure that parents and students are well-informed about the curricula, attainment 

    and progress and about the contribution that they can make to achieving the school’s targets for improvement

    • To provide information about the work and performance of senior administrators and 

    staff where it is relevant to their future employment. 



    Strengthening Community


    To ensure that well-being for students is promoted through the realisation that school improvement and community development are interdependent.


    • To be able to build a school culture and curriculum which takes account of the richness 

    and diversity of the school’s communities

    • To ensure learning experiences for students are linked into and integrated with the wider 


    • To ensure a range of community-based learning experiences
    • To work in partnership with other agencies in providing for academic, spiritual, moral, 

    social, emotional and cultural well-being of students and their families

    • To seek opportunities to invite parents and carers, community figures, business or other 

    organisations into the school to enhance and enrich the school and its value to the wider community

    • To contribute to the development of the education system by, for example, sharing 

    effective practice, working in partnership with other schools and promoting innovative initiatives

    • To ensure that the school promotes effective links with the local community and 

    continues to develop close liaison with other local, independent and international schools

    • To co-operate and work with relevant agencies to protect children.



    • A Master’s degree from a reputable university
    • A Ph.D., though not required, would be a distinct advantage



    • Experience with other cultures and nationalities within an international education 

    environment and experience of leading schools with diverse nationalities

    • Headship role in an international school of at least 800+ students is essential
    • Experience of all International Baccalaureate programmes and IPC
    • Experience of driving student achievement through focus on using data and benchmarks 

    to monitor progress in student learning

    • Proven ability to bring about and manage change
    • Effective management of substantial budgets, showing cost control and financial planning
    • Knowledge of and experience in facility planning and development
    • Experience of performance management to motivate staff and improve learning
    • Proven forward thinking on use of technology to enhance learning and school efficiencies.



    The successful candidate will


    • Demonstrate moral courage and conviction of opinions and decisions
    • Be able to forge credible relationships with, and win respect from, the wider community
    • Have an open and collaborative leadership style
    • Be able to focus activities towards the achievement of ISL’s vision
    • Have a consistent record of good judgement and accountability
    • Be able to lead learning innovation
    • Be respected by his/her peers
    • Have a  thirst for knowledge and self-improvement
    • Have a purposeful and responsive influencing style
    • Be able to win the hearts and minds of a wider audience
    • Have excellent prioritising, planning and organising skills
    • Have excellent team-working skills
    • Take steps, through a continuous self-improvement programme, to keep abreast of

    trends and practices in education. 

    • Be able to seek advice and support when necessary
    • Show sound financial judgment in partnership with the CEO to secure value for money 

    for the school

    • Have excellent inter-personal and communication skills
    • Be able to work under pressure and to deadlines.



    ISL Group is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and, as an employee of ISL Group, you are expected to share this commitment. The protection of our students’ welfare is the responsibility of all staff within the group and individuals are expected to conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles and values of our organisation.



    An attractive package will be offered to the successful candidate, including a competitive salary, a housing allowance (which may be included in the salary), private medical insurance, pension contribution and a relocation allowance.




Suitably qualified candidates should send by email to David Cope of Search Associates – 

all items together in one single pdf file as an email attachment (to arrive as soon as possible and no later than 18 October 2014)


  • a letter of application (no more than one page), briefly outlining why the candidate wishes to apply for this position and what specific skills, qualities and experience he/she can offer the school
  • a CV (no more than two pages)
  • a statement of educational and leadership philosophy (no more than one page)
  • the names and full contact details (including current personal email addresses and telephone numbers) of four professional referees, including at least one from a Board member at the candidate’s present school
  • a good recent head-and-shoulders photo.


A pdf comprising all the above should be sent to David Cope of Search Associates.



Closing date:  18 October 2014 

First-round interviews are likely to take place by mid-November, with the final round later in the month.  However, the ISL Schools Board of Directors reserves the option to invite selected candidates to interviews in advance of this schedule. 

Did You Know…?

Search Associates is a family-owned business founded by John Magagna, former international educator. After working with her father for ten years, daughter Jessica Magagna is now CEO.