Head of Secondary at The International School of Penang (Uplands)  in Malaysia
Malaysia < Back to Leadership Vacancies

Head of Secondary
The International School of Penang (Uplands) (Malaysia)

Appointed - Giles Mongare
Dec 7, 2015
Jan 15, 2016



Search for new HEAD OF SECONDARY

 to start in August 2016

The Board of the International School of Penang (Uplands), Malaysia, with the assistance of Search Associates, is seeking a new Head of Secondary for the school to start in August 2016.


The International School of Penang (Uplands) is an independent, not-for-profit, co- educational, non-denominational day/boarding school for students from Reception to Year 13.

Uplands, as the school is more commonly known, has a history dating back to 1955, when it was established by The Incorporated Society of Planters, which, incidentally, is the oldest professional body in the country (Malaysia) today, having been established in 1919. 

Having started its life as a school located in the hills of Penang, The International School of Penang (Uplands) is now housed in a fully owned, purpose-built modern campus in Batu Ferringhi, on the north coast of Penang Island.

Uplands is an IB World School, offering the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) in the Primary School and the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Years 12 & 13. In lower secondary, Years 7-9, the Secondary School offers a broad base of studies leading to the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), and EDEXCEL examinations in Years 10 & 11. A wide variety of subjects are offered at this level, all of which are taught in English, with the exception of foreign language classes.

With a largely expatriate staff of 82 teachers, and student numbers of 720, the School has a very healthy student/teacher ratio, with well managed class sizes. By hiring the best teachers available, Uplands strives to ensure students receive a high quality international education from a teaching faculty that offers depth and diversity, as well as benefitting from a wide range of sporting and extra-curricular activities, aimed at cultivating teamwork, self-confidence and all-round personal development.

Year after year, Uplands students obtain excellent academic results which are consistently higher than global averages. As a result, graduating sixth form students are able to continue their tertiary education at leading universities around the world, for example Cambridge University, Oxford University, University of London, University of Bristol, John Hopkins University, Universitat de Barcelona, University of British Columbia, Monash University and the University of Melbourne. 

The school has just added a new block of classrooms and other facilities for the students and is just about to open modern boarding facilities within the vicinity of the school. 

For further information, please see the school’s website www.uplands.org.


The I.S.P. Schools Association was registered and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in 1955. The International School of Penang (Uplands) is both owned and operated by this Association. (Note - although the initials representing the name of the school and the association which set it up are the same, they are separate entities and have different meanings).

It is worth noting that all governors of the Association, both Patron and Parent Governors, are not regular school governors – they are in fact Company Directors, who sit on the Board of the Association which established Uplands School back in 1955. Therefore, the Board of the I.S.P. Schools Association also serve as Governors of the school. Whilst the Board is required to recruit a Head of School, assist in developing the annual budget, ensure that proper financial controls are in place and additionally ensure there are adequate resources for the school to achieve its mission, the day-to-day running and management of the School lies in the hands of the Principal and his/her Senior Management Team. As Head of School, the Principal is however fully accountable to the I.S.P. Schools Association. 

The Board in conjunction with the Principal sets the future direction of the School, initiates and reviews policies, monitors the School’s overall performance and ensures compliance with statutory and legislative requirements to achieve its vision and mission. It is the task of the Principal and his management team to implement policy decisions made by the Board, and to work with the Board to serve the school’s constituents – the students, parents and staff. 

Although Uplands is a medium-sized school, with 38 nationalities represented in the student body and a teaching staff of 18 different nationalities it is certainly a multi-cultural, multi-racial and multinational community. It is extremely important that the new Head of Secondary is comfortable with this, is respectful of it and appreciates the value of such a community. 

At Uplands, all parents are required to join the Uplands Parent Teachers Association (UPTA). This parent community is an important part of the school, making suggestions and providing feedback to the Board. The Board accords the UPTA due recognition and invites their representative to brief and update the Management Committee of the Board on a monthly basis. The UPTA also gives valuable support to various school events throughout the year, in addition to organising its own fundraising events or activities aimed at further developing a sense of community within the school.  The Board, Principal and staff recognize the value of a proactive and supportive parent body. 


The Head of Secondary is a senior position of responsibility in the school and reports directly to the Principal.     

He/she will be expected to undertake a set of specialised duties in addition to other duties that may from time to time be requested by the Principal.    This is a full-time administrative position with a monetary allowance and no associated teaching duties, unless required due to timetable constraints. He/she will be a member of the Senior Leadership Group, alongside the Principal, the Head of Primary and the Director of Administration. 

The Head of Secondary deputises for the Principal when required and is supported by the Senior Management Team, which includes the Head of  Pastoral, the Head of Curriculum, the Head of Assessment and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Co-ordinator.  

The Head of Secondary will have the following:

  • Ability to provide curriculum leadership, resulting in the achievement of quality learning outcomes for all students
  • Capacity to use strategic thinking and analytical skills to contribute to educational outcomes at the school level
  • Capacity to effectively manage human, financial and physical resources to deliver high quality outcomes
  • Demonstrated support for and the capacity to develop and maintain an organisational culture based on ethical professional and personal behaviours and corporate values
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the capacity to develop and sustain productive relationships within and beyond the school community
  • Ability to communicate in a clear and timely manner
  • Ability to work quickly and effectively under pressure and to delegate responsibilities in a prudent manner
  • Outstanding organisational skills, including an ability to meet internal and external deadlines
  • Experience of timetabling.

The Head of Secondary will model:

  • A deep commitment to the school’s vision, purpose & values
  • High standards of professional behaviour and personal presentation
  • A sound knowledge of general educational principles and of current trends and developments in educational thought and practice
  • High levels of knowledge, teaching ability and administrative competence in his/her teaching subject area
  • Competence in the use of information and communication technology
  • Drive, energy, initiative and efficiency in undertaking duties
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Well-developed leadership skills


The Head of Secondary will be expected to provide leadership in the following areas:

  • Policy development
  • Oversee curriculum development and assessment procedures
  • Oversee the scheduling of school exams and the coordination of external examinations
  • Oversee the reporting of student achievement to parents
  • Student course selection
  • School timetabling
  • Professional development of staff
  • Oversee the pastoral care of students and staff
  • Develop a sense of community amongst staff
  • Oversee the maintenance of high standards of student uniform and personal presentation
  • Teacher relief and daily organization of the Secondary School
  • Rostering and supervision of staff duties
  • Oversee the participation in Extra-Curricular Activities (ECAs)
  • Maintain good communication and relationships between the school and parents
  • Develop and maintain the annual and whole school calendar
  • Achievement of the stated vision, aims and goals of the school
  • Conduct admission interviews for all new Secondary students
  • Organise Parent Teacher Conferences for the Secondary School
  • Organise specific major events for the Secondary School


The Head of Secondary will:

  • Provide clear and well-researched curriculum and pastoral leadership in the Secondary School, including the sound management of all Secondary School activities, consulting and delegating as appropriate
  • Assist the Principal in the appointment and management of teaching staff, educational assistants / support staff in the Secondary School
  • Supervise the work of the Secondary School teaching staff through the development of the duty roster, school timetables, class lists and in general support of teachers in their roles
  • Report to the Principal on all matters from time to time as is reasonable and keep the Principal fully informed of all developments relevant or material to the school’s affairs that are within the scope of the Head of Secondary School’s duties and responsibilities


  • Implement and review policies and procedures in the Secondary School


  • Ensure that Secondary School schemes of work are updated and maintained and that they meet the required standards, adhering to syllabus requirements


  • Ensure that assessment programs are in accordance with the requirements of appropriate education authorities and that marking and assessment takes place efficiently and effectively
  • Ensure that teachers are fair and consistent in their assessment of student work, aiming to build student achievement and confidence through constructive feedback
  • Ensure that all examination papers for mock and end of year examinations are submitted on time, that they are error-free and ready for use, and that they are stored in a secure environment
  • Ensure internal and external examinations are scheduled and conducted
  • Gather data for student progress within all year levels within the Secondary School
  • Ensure that formal and interim reporting for each course being taught, in accordance with school policy, takes place in an efficient and effective manner and that all reports are accurate, honest and sensitive
  • Provide students with formal student transcripts when required
  • Ensure that parents are kept informed, at times other than formal report time, whenever a student’s progress or achievement is causing concern


  • Coordinate the student subject selection process and provide appropriate counselling to students and parents in the selection of courses (IGCSE & IB), particularly in Years 9-13
  • Construct the timetable for the Secondary School using Nova T6 software
  • Allocate students to classes
  • Issue timetables to students and staff
  • Keep the timetabling database up-to-date
  • Liaise with parents of students regarding subject changes and monitor and approve student subject changes


  • Manage staff professional learning in the Secondary School and make appropriate professional development opportunities available to teachers
  • Remain abreast of latest educational developments and undertake formal professional development as/when appropriate


  • Oversee staff welfare
  • Assist in the recruitment, management and termination of staff
  • Undertake performance appraisals of teaching and support staff in the Secondary School
  • Organise cover staff or arrange internal cover when Secondary School staff members are absent
  • Develop and maintain the staff duty roster
  • Ensure that behavioural and professional standards are adhered to by Secondary staff
  • Ensure that teachers contribute at least one hour per week to Extra-Curricular Activities 


  • Work with Tutors and Class teachers to ensure that each student is cared for and any issues are dealt with quickly and sensitively
  • Maintain the general discipline in the Secondary School and communicating with the appropriate parties as necessary to inform and assist students in need
  • Ensure that the School’s dress code is adhered to by all students


  • Oversee the coordination of weekly Secondary School assemblies, graduation ceremonies and special events
  • Oversee occasional student activities such as socials, camps, excursions and incursions


  • Develop and maintain effective communication and sound relationships with students and parents in the Secondary School
  • Ensure effective communication and collaboration among staff members
  • Oversee the coordination of the Secondary School Parent Information Evenings
  • Publish articles pertaining to the Secondary School in the school newsletters


  • Develop and maintain a Reception - 13 calendar of school activities and events
  • In consultation with the Principal, develop and update relevant Secondary School staff handbooks, school diaries, year book submissions
  • Ensure that documentation relating to all relevant educational authorities is processed on time and appropriate records are kept
  • Ensure that relevant Uplands administration requirements and procedures are followed
  • Conduct Secondary School staff meetings and ensure that proceedings are documented
  • Ensure that appropriate resources are developed/purchased and maintained in good order
  • Ensure that appropriate records are kept in accordance with school policy
  • Attend and participate in school activities and out of school functions including staff meetings, executive staff meetings, representation/meetings, staff and school committees, graduations etc as and when they arise
  • Deputise for the Principal when required
  • Undertake other duties on occasions as requested by the Principal


The package offered to the successful candidate will be attractive and is expected to include:

  • a competitive salary (paid in local currency)
  • an overseas allowance (to cover housing, mid contract flights etc.)
  • subsidised tuition fees at ISP Uplands for dependent children up to the age of 18
  • medical insurance to include spouse and dependent children up to the age of 18
  • excellent professional development opportunities


Suitably qualified candidates should apply to David Cope of Search Associatesdcope@searchassociates.com – sending all the items below collated into a single pdf, as an email attachment, to arrive as soon as possible and no later than 15 January 2016:

  • 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
  • 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 of at least three professional referees
  • a good recent head-and-shoulders photo

Initial interviews will take place in late January, and the Board aims to appoint the new Head no later than the end of February 2016.     However, it reserves the option to invite selected candidates to interviews in advance of this schedule. 

Did You Know…?

Since 1990, Search Associates has assisted over 50,000 educators to find jobs in international schools around the world.