Teaching at Abingdon | Abingdon Senior School

The following outlines what might be seen as the ‘normal’ expectations of a member of the teaching staff at Abingdon as well as listing some of the benefits available as a member of the Common Room. Job specifications for those holding posts of specific responsibility are held separately.

Routines and Responsibilities

Further and more detailed guidance is given in the Staff Handbook but the following may be taken as standard elements of a teacher’s role at Abingdon:

  • Teaching a subject or subjects as agreed at appointment throughout the range at the school (i.e. from Year 7 to Year 13). A normal teaching load would usually approximate to around 70-75% of the academic timetable, leaving time free for marking and preparation. Reductions in teaching load are given to some posts that carry an additional administrative responsibility (e.g. Head of Department, Housemaster) but should not necessarily be seen as being automatic. Many teachers also contribute to the General Studies programme at 6th form level, either by offering an option course, an additional GCSE (such as PE or Italian) or participating in the delivery of the compulsory core of topics that we offer. Some teachers also contribute to the PSHE programme in years 9 and 10 which is delivered within the timetabled curriculum.
  • Contributing as appropriate to departmental activities and developments, such as trips, additional classes, lectures and other events that contribute to the life of a busy and dynamic department.
  • Commitment to the regular setting and marking of homework and the maintenance of an up-to-date mark book. Contributing to exam marking as required by the Head of Department, including the marking and supervision, as appropriate, of Abingdon’s entrance exams. Writing formal reports on pupils and tutees five times a year.
  • Acting as a tutor to a group of boys within a House, as directed by the Deputy Head (Pastoral), with primary responsibility for their pastoral care and for some of the delivery of the school’s PSHCE programme.
  • Contributing, as agreed with the Second Master and the Director of the Other Half, to the School’s Other Half programme.
  • Being available to work on days that fall outside the Monday to Friday daytime academic pattern, to support the provision of activity for the boys, including on Saturdays. Examples include accompanying boys on trips out of school, supervising boys on sporting activities (with refereeing or coaching provided by a separate specialist), and welcoming visitors and prospective pupils on Open Days and Entrance Exam Days.
  • Contributing to cover for absent colleagues and invigilation of internal and external examinations, as directed by the Master i/c cover.
  • Contributing to Private Study supervision of Sixth Formers, as required by the Upper Master.
  • Acting as part of the duty team to oversee elements of the daily supervision of the boys outside of the classroom, both on weekdays and on Saturdays, as directed by the Deputy Head (Pastoral).
  • Staff members who are attached to one of the School’s Boarding Houses have additional duties in the evenings and at weekends.

Benefits of working at Abingdon

  • Abingdon has its own 15-point salary scale, above the national scale. In 2020/2021 the basic salary range is £28,227 to £57,114. In addition to this, the School allocates Special Responsibility Allowances for a number of additional responsibilities, ranging from the running of a minor sport up to major responsibilities, such as Heading a Department or House. These vary in value, from £1,200 for minor positions up to £10,200 for the major ones.
  • All new staff are well supported when they arrive, with help and advice available not just from Heads of Department, Housemasters and Senior Staff but also from the School’s Professional Tutor and Director of Teaching & Learning who jointly have a specific responsibility to oversee the induction process.
  • The School offers excellent administrative support, with two dedicated Common Room secretaries, and a range of other Bursarial services. Staff are loaned a school laptop or Chromebook and/or they have access to desktop computers to assist with their teaching and administration. There is a biennial cycle of professional development meetings based on a portfolio of evidence collected in the intervening time as well as myriad opportunities to reflect on professional practice and to seize on development opportunities
  • The School is committed to high quality ICT facilities and has bookable IT suites, Interactive White Boards in a large number of classrooms, data projectors in all rooms and a dedicated Director of e-Learning who is available to support and develop the provision of ICT across the whole curriculum.
  • The school is very stable, currently enjoying high demand for places and is backed by strong financial planning that enables all departments to be very well resourced. In recent years we have been investing heavily in a building programme to develop our facilities. Major projects have included a new Sports Centre (2008) and a new Science Centre (2015). Moving Science to a new building enabled us to refurbish the vacated space and in September 2016 we opened substantially upgraded spaces for our Geography, History and Classics departments as well as for two day houserooms. Our most recent project involved a completely new build (Beech Court) comprising a new sixth form centre, a new Library and a relocated Art Department. This opened in September 2018. Concurrently we have relocated the Common Room and completed the substantial reorganisation of our campus which has provided many departments with greatly enhanced facilities. Our latest project is a new building to house Economics, Business Studies and Computer Science which is due to open in Autumn 2020.

Staff Development

Abingdon prides itself on the commitment it makes to developing its teaching staff. This can be seen in a variety of ways:

  • We have a very strong track record in taking on unqualified teachers (or ‘pre-qualified’, as we call them) and training them to become outstanding practitioners. We are very open to taking on teachers who have just finished their degrees but are also keen to receive applications from people considering a career change into teaching. Following an Abingdon-based course in their first year, our PQTs will usually undertake a PGCE, funded by the School, in their second year with us and then go on to complete their induction year.
  • Our Director of Teaching & Learning and the team of assistant DTLs provide a support that underpins all we do in teaching. Together they provide training and advice for teachers, whatever stage of their career they are at, acting as mentors and coaches for the whole teaching staff.
  • We have a generous annual INSET budget and encourage teachers to subscribe to external CPD courses and undertake further qualifications. In addition to this, the School operates up to five INSET days itself, offering a range of further training, from highly practical First Aid qualifications to seminars on aspects of Teaching and Learning.
  • We have a sabbatical policy that allows established teaching staff to apply for a half term of paid leave (usually in the summer term) for them to pursue a development project of their own choosing.
  • We believe strongly in distributed leadership and there are over 100 positions in the school that teachers take on beyond their teaching role in which they can show and develop their leadership skills. We have a healthy staff turnover (10-15% per year) but it is particularly noteworthy that the vast majority of staff who move on to other schools are doing so because they have won major leadership posts, for example as Head of Department, Housemaster, Deputy Head or Head.

Additional Benefits

  • Relocation allowance up to £2,500, by agreement with the Director of Finance & Operations (qualifying criteria apply, for further details please request a copy of the Relocation Policy).
  • 50% discount on school fees at Abingdon Prep and Senior Schools for permanent* employees whose sons satisfy Abingdon’s admissions criteria (pro rata for part-time staff).
  • Private health insurance for permanent* employees (taxable as a benefit in kind).
  • Membership of the Abingdon Sports and Leisure Club with free access to the gym and swimming pool at agreed times.
  • Access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) tool.
  • Lunch and other refreshments during the school day.

*Permanent employees are considered to be staff working under a contract of employment of a year’s duration or more.

Accommodation

The school has limited accommodation available, but will always endeavour to help where it can. Members of staff who live within boarding houses as residential boarding staff usually live rent free and do not pay for council tax or utilities. The rent, council tax and water elements of this benefit in kind are not subject to tax however the heat and light elements of the utilities are subject to tax and the value of the benefit will be declared on the annual P11D.

Members of staff who undertake boarding supervisory duties in the evenings and weekends and live in school accommodation usually receive rent free accommodation which is not subject to tax as a benefit in kind. However the tax exemption does not extend to council tax and utilities, therefore staff in this category make a monthly contribution to the cost of council tax, water, gas and electric which is recovered directly from their salary.