Head of HR...

Sevenoaks, Kent
Up to £70,000 p.a
15 Jan 2021
05 Feb 2021
Job Type
HR / Head of
Contract Type
Full Time

Head of HR

The School

Founded in 1432, Sevenoaks enjoys a global reputation as a centre of academic excellence and a flagship school for the International Baccalaureate. A co-educational day and boarding school, it offers a stimulating, intellectually demanding and balanced education for over 1100 pupils from the age of 11 to 18.

Inspiring facilities, together with expert, enthusiastic and imaginative teaching, provide rich opportunities for students participating in lessons, and a wide variety of sports and the performing arts.

The school’s international make-up and outlook promote the principles of tolerance and open-mindedness. About 390 pupils board in the seven boarding houses, and students originate from some 45 countries worldwide.

In 2018 Sevenoaks School was, for the second time in 10 years, awarded The Sunday Times Independent School of the Year. It was the second highest achieving large-cohort IB school in the world in 2018 and 2019, the top independent IB boarding school in the UK in 2018 and also the top fully co-educational IB school in the UK.

In 2018 the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) awarded Sevenoaks School the highest grade – ‘Excellent’ – in both of the two categories which formed the basis of the inspection: ‘Pupils’ Achievement’ and ‘Pupils’ Personal Development’. The inspectors were most impressed by the outstanding attitude to learning and the genuine spirit of enquiry and contribution that characterised all aspects of the curricular and co-curricular programmes.

This excellence is achieved by bright, motivated students, inspired by highly qualified and dedicated teachers in well-resourced classrooms. The school has around 200 teaching staff, well supported by a large team of professional administrative and technical staff. A strong pastoral team of specialist tutors, boarding house staff and year heads give care and guidance, promoting student welfare and happiness. The mutual respect shared by students and staff generates a harmonious and purposeful atmosphere.

The school’s strategic plan Horizon 2020 has reached fulfilment, and the school is now working on its successor Horizon 2032, which will mark the 600th anniversary of the school’s foundation. This next stage in the ambitious development of the school builds on the success of Horizon 2020, which has helped us create a truly inspirational educational environment, widen access and diversity.

Our mission is to provide students with the knowledge, understanding and confidence to be world citizens, empowered to make a difference. Our vision is to be recognised globally for our integrated, independent, co-educational and international education.

Our strategic priorities focus on strengthening our broad education, continuing to provide an inspiring campus for the future, and being a school for the community and a global leader in education.

The school has significant and growing connections with schools in the state sector, both at primary and secondary level. These, and other community service activities, are part of the educational ethos and curriculum of the school, for pupils, teachers and non-teaching staff. The school hosts a large number of activities for visiting local schoolchildren, and provides training and networking events for teachers. There are numerous sporting, musical, drama and other activities, aimed at pupils, parents and members of the public.

During school holidays, the school also offers additional day and residential programmes to its own and other pupils and may also hire out its facilities from time to time to other organisations. In particular the sports and performing arts centres are used to generate commercial revenue in addition to being major educational facilities for the school. All of these activities in addition to the lively day to day academic life of the school ensure that excellent use is made of the assets and facilities.

In 2019, we launched the Sevenoaks School Summer Programme, an exclusive academic enrichment course for bright, ambitious students aged 13-17 with a strong level of English. In the first year, we welcomed students from over 30 different countries. The academic side of the course involves four modules: Critical Thinking, Social Leadership, Creativity and Digital Skills, all of which are planned, organised and delivered by staff from Sevenoaks School. Further information about the school can be found at: www.sevenoaksschool.org

The Department

Due to a department restructure the School is currently looking to recruit three roles within the HR team: one Head of HR, one HR Manager and a HR Administrator.

This will result in a HR team structure of one Head of HR, one HR Manager, one part time HR Manager, one HR and Recruitment Co-ordinator and one HR Administrator.

The Role

The key purpose of this role is to manage the HR team as well as providing an excellent service running the day-to-day HR operations of the school.

This person will be the key contact for HR matters for senior management and will work closely with the Headmaster, the Senior Deputy Head, the Deputy Head Staff and the Bursar.

Reporting to

The Head of HR will report to the Director of Operations, who in turn reports to the Bursar.


The person filling this role will have contact with staff members across the whole school and therefore must have excellent communication skills, along with the ability to maintain confidentiality at all times.


Senior Leadership

• Attend meetings as required with the Headmaster and have regular meetings with the Deputy Head Staff, the Senior Deputy Head and the Bursar.

• Develop HR strategy and, as part of the senior leadership team, advise and challenge at this level.

• Help the Senior Leadership strengthen and embed a collaborative / collegiate working approach across the school.

Team Leadership

• Be the team lead for a high quality and efficient Human Resources service covering the full range of HR disciplines

• Manage the complex and busy workload for the department as a whole, delegating where appropriate.

Generalist HR

• Be the key contact for senior stake holders within the School e.g. Headmaster, Senior Deputy Head, Deputy Heads and Bursar.

• Provide support to line managers and staff on all HR matters including managing and advising on complex ER cases.

• Ensure that the school, in its practices, complies with all current employment legislation.

• Regularly review all HR policies and procedures to ensure they are legally compliant, appropriate and in line with current best practice.

• Manage the appraisal and induction processes along with other key HR processes such as maternity / shared parental leave.

• Monitor sickness levels and manage absences across the school, taking action as appropriate.

Recruitment and Compliance

• Develop a strong working knowledge of the Safer Recruitment requirements and be able to implement these so that the school is compliant at all times. (The regulations are normally updated at least annually)

• Ensure that the Single Central Register (SCR) is up to date and inspection ready at all times.

• Lead the team in ensuring the recruitment processes work well and efficiently, which will include being involved in senior and academic interviews and safer recruitment interviewing.

• Ensure that correct action is taken and records maintained in the processing of Disclosures through the Disclosure and Barring Service, along with all other checks required to be recorded on the SCR.

• Manage any visa issues for staff, both new and current, to ensure legal compliance at all times.

HRIS Management

• Complete the implementation of iTrent to increase the efficiency of HR processes and reporting metrics, and thus improve the productivity of the HR team, reducing reliance on paper records and processes as far as possible.

• Ensure that good HR records, electronic and manual, are maintained and processed in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.

Finance and Budgets

• Gather and accurately set out information on upcoming changes to the workforce to allow annual salary budgets to be calculated by Finance and assist in the production of forecasts.

• Manage the HR budget.

• Together with the Bursar and Finance Team, carry out rolling reviews of pay structures to result in pay structures that are simplified and standardised, as far as possible, and accurately recorded on the iTrent system.

• Ensure that Payroll has all the information it needs to be able to pay staff correctly and administer the pension schemes appropriately.

• Develop the relationship and processes with payroll to ensure an efficient and collaborative way of working

Perform any other tasks as reasonably required by the Director of Operations, the Bursar or other senior members of the School.


This job description is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of procedures and responsibilities, but instead sets out the principal expectations of the school in relation to the post holder’s professional responsibilities and duties. We are looking for an individual who is adaptable, flexible and willing to carry out the wide range of duties that are likely to be required to make a success of this role. The school is also constantly evolving and the post holder should expect to learn new skills and adapt to new structures as required to meet the changing needs of the school.

Person Specification

The Head of HR should possess the following attributes:

• Excellent people management skills

• Previous experience of running a HR team

• Strong and varied HR experience

• A deep understanding of implementing / improving HR databases with strong reporting skills (our current system is iTrent and knowledge of this would be ideal)

• A focus on continuous improvement with a desire to improve HR ways of working

• Ability to multi-task and work to tight deadlines within a complex and busy environment

• Excellent communication skills, both written and spoken, along with strong interpersonal skills and a customer service focus

• Very high standards of accuracy and attention to detail

• High levels of administrative efficiency

• Ability to deal with staff at all levels on the full range of HR issues

• Ability to professionally and efficiently run disciplinary and grievance, absence and performance management processes

• Good understanding of Microsoft Office packages, including the use of Excel

• Strong knowledge of employment law

• Full understanding of employee confidentiality and data protection with the appropriate handling of sensitive information

• A positive and can-do attitude

• Degree or equivalent qualification

• Fully CIPD qualified

• Ability to manage the workload of themselves, and the team (once established in the role), with little day to day supervision or direction


No previous experience working in a school is required, but this should not dissuade those with such experience applying. The post would suit an individual with some or all of the following experience:

• Previous experience of working in a very busy environment, working to tight deadlines and managing multiple issues at any one time.

• Experience of running a HR team

• A good understanding of, and experience in, generalist HR matters, i.e. management practices, drafting policies and guidance, and HR information systems

• A good knowledge and experience in the practical application of employment law

• Previous experience of implementing or improving a HR database and using it to examine the structure and accuracy of data and to drive process improvements

Working hours

This is a full-time role, Monday to Friday, 40 hours per week 9am to 5pm, 52 weeks of the year although flexibility in these working hours will be required to meet the demands of the role during peak times.

Salary and Benefits

• The salary will be dependent upon the skills and experiences of the successful applicant but is likely to be in the region of up to £70,000 p.a.

• Membership of the school’s fitness centre

• School fees remission for children of the job holder attending the school. If not already at the school, any child would have to meet all of the normal entrance requirements.

• The holiday entitlement is 33 days per annum, including statutory public holidays. Holidays must be agreed in advance and it is expected that holidays will normally be taken during the school holidays.

• Membership of the school’s defined contribution pension scheme is available (includes life assurance). If the post holder chooses not to join the GPP they will be automatically enrolled into the School’s Auto-enrolment pension scheme, after a three month deferment period.

• Cycle to work scheme

• Web-based benefits scheme (Sevenoaks School Savers)

• Employee Assistance Programme


The successful applicant will be offered the role subject to the satisfactory completion of a number of background checks including but not limited to; an enhanced DBS check, the taking up and verification of references, the verification of career history and fitness to undertake the role. We also reserve the right to contact any previous employers for a reference.

Child Protection

All staff have a responsibility for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children with whom they come into contact and are required to adhere to and ensure compliance with the school’s Child Protection Policy Statement at all times. If, in the course of carrying out their duties, a member of staff becomes aware of any actual or potential risks to the safety or welfare of children in the school, they must immediately report their concerns to the Deputy Head (Pastoral).

The successful applicant will be required to complete the Disclosure Certificate System operated by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before taking up the appointment.


If you wish to be considered for this role, please complete the on-line application form by midday Friday 5th February. The form must be completed in full and submitted electronically. CVs should also be submitted but the CV cannot replace any information on the application form which must be submitted in full.

Please contact the HR Office at humanresources@sevenoaksschool.org or telephone 01732 467 740 if you have

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