High School Principal at ACS International Schools in UK
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High School Principal
ACS International Schools (UK)

May 22, 19
Jun 7, 19


High School Principal

ACS Cobham International School

Recruitment Brief


May 2019


ACS Cobham International School


The school is located in the glorious countryside only 30 minutes from Central London.  Our location offers students and staff the best of both worlds-the stimulation of one of the world’s great cities, combined with the charms of the English countryside.  ACS Cobham is a day, boarding and co-educational school with c1,400 students enrolled between the ages of 2 and 18 from over 60 countries.  The majority of our students move on to top universities around the globe. 

Unique amongst our four schools, ACS Cobham offer boarding as an option for students aged 12 to 18, who enjoy state-of-the-art facilities in our recently-opened boarding house. 

Our students are actively engaged in a balanced educational programme, delivered by talented and dedicated teachers. The environment we create is personal and positive – designed to stimulate curiosity and a love of knowledge.

There is a substantial range of co-curricular activities, and students are motivated to participate and excel in many sports and activities. We value experiential learning, and take full advantage of our location by incorporating important sites and venues into our curriculum wherever possible.


Job Profile


ACS Cobham International School seeks an energetic and visionary leader, with the knowledge, skills and experience to lead our High School (Grades 9-12) programme and continue to be an outstanding environment for our students and staff to thrive.  Our new High School Principal will work with excellent staff, delightful students and engaged parents to develop a supportive, challenging and inspiring learning environment.

The High School Principal is the instructional leader of the High School and a member of the school’s Senior Leadership Team as well as having responsibility for ensuring that High School students and staff flourish in an atmosphere that provides challenge, inspiration and support. 


Qualifications and qualities sought

  • Commitment to excellence in education
  • Understanding of and commitment to the Mission, Aims and Values of ACS International Schools
  • Ability to build strong links with the other ACS campuses, providing a collegial and supportive network
  • Strong capability covering all sections of the Principal’s Job Description (see below).
  • A proven track record as a successful teacher and educational leader within an international school setting.
  • A high degree of emotional intelligence, allied with outstanding interpersonal skills.
  • A collaborative approach to team working.
  • Excellent communication skills in written and spoken English.
  • Commitment to nurturing staff professional growth and supporting staff initiative.
  • A creative and innovative approach to curriculum design and delivery.
  • Commitment to nurturing student leadership and responsibility.
  • A reflective and analytical thinker.
  • An entrepreneurial problem-solver.
  • Thoughtful commitment to the role of technology in supporting teaching and learning.
  • A relevant Master’s degree (or equivalent qualification in school leadership) from an internationally-recognised university/college.


Key responsibilities of the post

 I.   Building professional capacity

  • Developing short and medium-term staffing plans for High School to further the school’s mission and aims.
  • Assisting in the recruitment of excellent teaching staff and their orientation to the school.
  • Ensuring that appropriate professional development opportunities are made available to staff members and that the benefits of these to both the staff member and to the school are maximised.
  • Conducting appraisals of teaching staff, within the framework established by school policy.
  • Maintaining good understanding of ideas, debates and practice within High School/Secondary education
  • Line managing the High School Administration team.


II.            Maximising student learning and well being

  • Overseeing, throughout the High School Grades, the development and implementation of a coherent, consistently documented curriculum that is consistent with the school’s mission, vision and philosophy of teaching and learning.
  • Taking an active interest in the daily life of all students in the Division (including Lunch and Bus duties), ensuring discipline and high standards of behaviour and attendance in the School and motivating the students to achieve high standards of academic excellence and to play a full part in the life of the School.
  • Overseeing the range of range of academic, career and social/ emotional guidance services for students in the Division to ensure best practice is adopted, children’s and young people’s welfare is safe-guarded and high standards are maintained.
  • Coordinating the design and implementation of a schedule of classes within High School to implement the school’s teaching and learning philosophy.
  • With the whole-school Academic Principal, ensuring that information on student learning and educational experience is gathered, analysed and used effectively for monitoring programme and teaching effectiveness and for school improvement.
  • Encouraging student participation and influence in curriculum development and implementation.
  • Ensuring that regular and timely communication take place with parents about student progress and areas requiring improvement.
  • Participating in the admissions process for students to High School, in conjunction with the Admissions Office.
  • Maintaining oversight of an After-School Activities programme that provides students with stimulating opportunities in creative, physical activity and experiential learning, as well as learning opportunities that complement the school’s curriculum.
  • Reinforcing high standards of behaviour among our students.
  • Submitting budget plans for expenditure as requested by the school’s business office. Monitoring and managing spending against that budget.


III.            Creating an ethos for the High School section of the school that supports and furthers the school’s Mission:

  • Developing an ethos throughout the High School section of the school of openness, respect, collaboration, enquiry and innovation.
  • Maintaining a visible, approachable and welcoming profile for parents and visitors, in particular to those directly associated with the High School.
  • Reporting to the school community on events within the High School section of the school.
  • Attending school events and functions as appropriate.
  • Communicating, in a supportive way, decisions taken by the school leadership team.
  • Ensuring that community members understand the curriculum programmes of the High School campus.


IV.            Overseeing the Secondary campus

  • Ensuring, with the campus Facilities and Security teams, the health and safety of High School students, staff and visitors.
  • Ensuring that the High School section of the school buildings is well-presented, with fresh, attractive and informative classrooms and displays.
  • Utilising campus facilities to support the school’s programme and aims.
  • Managing the High School budget.
  • Submitting budget plans for capital expenditure as requested by the school’s business office, monitoring and managing spending against that budget.


 V.            Whole school leadership

  • Contributing to the building of an open, responsive and welcoming ethos for the school towards stakeholders.
  • Collaborating with other members of the school leadership team in developing school action plans within the framework of the school-wide strategic plan.
  • Implementing school policies.
  • Contributing to the building of a whole-school ethos across our two campuses.

We offer an attractive remuneration package, and the opportunity to work with leading international educators in a stimulating professional environment with outstanding facilities and opportunities.


To apply for the position, please email your CV in the first instance to recruitment@acs-schools.com or complete the application form via www.acs-schools.com by 7th June 2019.


ACS celebrates diversity as an equal opportunities employer and is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and, as an employee of ACS, you are expected to share this commitment. This position is therefore subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check.


Attention: If you apply for this position, please inform the school and us (Admin@searchassociates.com) that you saw the notice on the Search Associates website.


 ACS Briefing Document


ACS International Schools

ACS International Schools is a leading provider of high quality international education, operating schools (day and boarding) that enrol c3,700 students between the ages of 3 to 18, from around the world at our campuses in the UK and Qatar.

We offer a curriculum that combines globally-recognised principles of international best practice. Our schools have achieved international renown for high quality in all aspects of our operations.

Our vision - “Through learning, inspire all to make a difference” – and our values:

  • We engage in Community
  • We drive positive change
  • We promote excellence through learning.
  • We enrich the international experience

Our History

We celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2017, when our Founders, Mr Manos Poularas and Mr Gordon Speed, made a reality of their vision to create an inspirational learning environment for London’s expanding global community. The first school opened in 1967 in London with one class. Through a deep understanding of the needs of expatriate families the schools grew, increasingly also attracting local parents who recognised the advantages of an international education.

ACS soon became established and has since maintained and built upon a reputation for excellence, investing in new facilities and searching for best and next practice to secure and build upon our status as a group of leading international schools. This strategy enabled the growth of ACS, thus opening a further five schools in quick succession in the London area.

By 1975, the existing schools were unable to increase capacity to meet the needs of the growing expatriate community, so two further properties were purchased and developed.  The first of these is the present Cobham campus site and the second is the current Hillingdon (Middlesex) campus.  Once these two schools were developed and operational, the other schools moved from the smaller central London sites.

In 1995, to meet the increasing demand, ACS opened a third school in Egham, Surrey, which has now grown to over 600 students.  Investment in the facilities and the physical environment of the campuses has always been of paramount importance, a fact truly evident when visiting any of the campuses.

The schools were known originally as the American Community Schools reflecting the then mainly American student body. However, in 2004 ACS re-branded and re-launched as ACS International Schools reflecting both the growth in student and staff nationalities and the shift in the market. Today we are proud to represent 70 nationalities speaking 40 different languages.

In 2011 ACS opened its first school outside the UK, in Doha, Qatar. This has been a significant shift in terms of our strategy. The school has been successful in establishing our reputation in a new territory and has attracted strong enrolment. Current strategy is predicated upon building on this regional presence in the Persian Gulf.

ACS celebrated becoming a fully registered charity in September 2018.  This significant milestone is the culmination of the wishes of the organisation's founder who decreed that ACS be owned in perpetuity by a charitable entity, with a key aim of advancing education.

Amongst other initiatives, ACS’s charitable status includes the provision of means-tested, financially assisted places for students who would otherwise be unable to attend ACS schools. This bursary programme is already well underway – with twenty qualifying students having started across the three UK schools at the start of the current academic year, their bursaries collectively representing a financial commitment by ACS of £2.2 million over the next seven years.

Moreover, the move to charitable status will enable us to formalise the not-for-profit nature of the current organisation, securing this status for the benefit of present and future generations.  It also presents an exciting opportunity to participate in building a culture of philanthropy and engaging parents and staff in fundraising, as well as participating in alumni engagement events with our 26,000 Alumni and Friends of 100 different nationalities.

Who we are

A dynamic learning community. Our character is built on integrity, open-mindedness, and empathy. We welcome people of all cultures from around the world to create a powerful, shared experience that shapes the way we teach and learn, and actively defines our international character. We strive to build strong partnerships with parents. Above all, we appreciate that happiness enriches learning. 

ACS International Schools is a truly international community of learners.  Our staff are equally diverse, and this genuinely international ethos is an important element of our identity. Our schools have an inclusive student intake that is comprised of over 70 nationalities. Our policy is to help our students and staff achieve more than they think possible, through a child-centred, holistic approach to education.

We currently enrol over 3,700 students across our four schools and employ in excess of 800 core staff plus substitute teaching staff, coaches and specialists. ACS has developed a close understanding of the needs of our students and their families; and our key corporate clients. We are expert in assisting families in transition. ACS is also increasingly orienting its activities to attract new audiences and markets.

In this way, it is our strong conviction that our “one organisation: four schools” structure means that ACS is strengthened both at individual school and group level. This is reinforced by the collective experience, talent and knowledge of ACS staff across the group who are collaborating increasingly with their counterparts in other ACS schools and locations.

Our academic success is based on dedicated people leading educational programmes within outstanding facilities. This is underpinned by successfully generating and reinvesting our surplus year after year, which is essential to our role as an operator of premium international schools.

Our commercial success is underpinned by the professional expertise of leadership and management within the ACS corporate division. The ACS Head Office is based on the Cobham campus in Surrey and incorporates central functions including Education, Finance, Marketing, HR, IT, Business Development and Property. These functions support the development of ACS International Schools and work closely with colleagues within individual ACS campuses.

Our offer to our students and their families

Our educational programmes are based on international research, principles and practices, and we are committed to maintaining high standards of scholarship and citizenship, and student-centred learning.

With an inclusive admission policy which does not discriminate by only selecting the most academically-gifted students; the schools achieve top-tier academic results and our high school graduates enter many of the most esteemed universities in the UK and worldwide. 

Our policy of reinvesting our profits has enabled the organisation to build comprehensive facilities at all campuses with a commitment to continue to grow enrolment and facilities further, adding incremental capacity in our current portfolio of schools, with plans to develop new ACS schools in the near future.

Our offer to our staff

ACS International Schools offer prestigious and rigorous academic programmes that give our staff an opportunity to develop their skills both in terms of subject area and teaching.

The IB programmes, Advanced Placement and our High School Diploma programmes are recognised for their quality. The development of our staff, both in the academic and non-academic division of the ACS Group are central to this success, and ACS has a reputation for offering quality professional development opportunities.

Our campuses are purpose built in desirable locations close to the cities of London and Doha. Our schools are well resourced and offer a premium working environment for our people.

Did You Know…?

Search Associates has 22 Senior Associates with offices around the globe, each bringing a wealth of experience in international education.