Working At Peter Symonds
Peter Symonds College has around 4,500 full time students aged 16-19 most of whom study A levels or equivalent. We offer an exceptional range of subjects, dedicated pastoral care and opportunities for sport and other enrichment activities that are second to none. Additionally, we have a thriving adult and higher education provision, much of which is based at a separate site. Unusually, we have boarding provision and take students from as far away as the Falkland Islands. We are members of the Wessex Group of Sixth Form Colleges and the Maple Group, giving us access to the benefits of excellent shared practice and assisting us in influencing national debate around sixth form education.
Our College motto is ‘Counting in Ones’ and it is the key principle which guides everything we do. We are looking for talented and committed staff who share our ideals and would like to join our team.
You can download a copy of our prospectus and browse our website to find out more.
The large size of our staff means that, in a typical year, we have job vacancies in a wide range of roles and are able to offer an unusual number of promotion opportunities to those already with us. We have about 800 people on our payroll, ranging from those who are employed full time and full year, through those who are part time or term time only, to those who work on a casual basis. Job roles are also extremely varied, with examples including teachers, specialist support staff, management, cleaners, catering staff, administrators and sports coaches.
Managers and the Personnel team do their best to ‘count in ones’ and look after staff as individuals, just as we do with students. Staff turnover is well below average. We believe that this is a special place to work and in an anonymous survey of staff satisfaction, 97% said they would recommend the College to others as a good employer. Comments included:
- "The College is very human in its appreciation of staff."
- "The staff here are the most dedicated, conscientious and hardworking I have ever come across."
- "I love working here: very refreshing to work somewhere organised and one step ahead of the game."
We have forward-looking policies to look after our staff relating to matters such as special leave and flexible working. Additionally, we are able to offer some benefits such as computer and bike loans, eye care costs and discounts on fees for our adult education courses.
Most staff work at our Owens Road site, which is close to the centre of Winchester and within a few minutes’ walk of the train station. We have free staff parking. Our second, smaller site is located about a mile away in an area of Winchester called Weeke. There is an on-site gym at Owens Road and we have a number of staff activities such as yoga and choir. We also have an annual summer wellbeing programme for staff including sports, crafts and special interests such as birdwatching.
As you would expect in such a large and high achieving college, there are always interesting things going on in which you can get involved. As home to the Hampshire Music Service, our Music Department organises concerts throughout the year which are of exceptional quality. We are also privileged to hold annual Carol and Founder’s Day Services in Winchester Cathedral. For those interested in sports, many of our student teams play at the highest level and always welcome support. Other excellent student events which are often open to staff include dance and drama productions, exhibitions and outside speakers.
Our Staff Development Programme is extensive and, in exit interviews, staff frequently praise it as the best they have experienced. In addition to the standard staff training days, the College runs professional review days for the analysis of student outcomes and there is an extensive programme of training offered each year in the Summer term. The College is a firm believer in allowing people to grow. In recent years over thirty staff have completed management training programmes offered by the Wessex Group of Sixth Form Colleges.
Frequent consultations are carried out to obtain staff views on important decisions and we have a Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee at which staff and management discuss matters relating to employment. Two members of staff sit on our governing body and another two act as health and safety representatives. We welcome the involvement of unions in the College and have a UNISON health and safety representative working alongside the other staff representatives.
All job offers are subject to proof of your right to work in the UK, a Disclosure & Barring Service clearance at enhanced level, two good references and medical clearance.
We are dedicated to safeguarding the students in our care. To that end, a Disclosure and Barring Service enhanced disclosure will be required if you are offered a job with us. Our staff undertake regular safeguarding and Prevent training and are subject to ongoing safeguarding scrutiny. In addition to the above, there will be other requirements according to the role and your application will be assessed against the essential and desirable criteria for the post.
We aim to ensure that all applicants and staff are treated entirely fairly and that there is no discrimination on the basis of any protected characteristic. Where possible, we interview all candidates who have a disability if they meet the essential criteria for a job.
‘Equality, diversity and inclusion are embedded throughout all aspects of college life.’ Ofsted Report 2015.
Terms and Conditions
The College is a member of the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association and our teaching staff are employed in accordance with their Conditions of Service Handbook or ‘red book’, supplemented by local agreements and policies. All appointments are subject to a six month trial period during which there are three formal meetings before appointment is confirmed. Thereafter teachers participate in an annual professional review process comprising a general review followed by a further discussion including analysis of student performance data.
A recognised full teaching qualification is normally required although it is possible for a strong candidate to be appointed without such. Typically, an unqualified candidate will be appointed on a fixed term basis, with permanent employment being subject to gaining the qualification within two years if full time or four years if part time. The College will normally give assistance in obtaining the qualification. We welcome Early Career Teachers (ECTs) on to our staff and provide additional support during their first year, following Hampshire County Council’s ECT Support and Induction programme where appropriate.
Sixth form teachers are appointed to a scale point in accordance with their qualifications and experience, normally progressing annually on 1 September until they reach the top of the nine-point range. Additionally, we have a very large number of roles which reward teachers who take on additional responsibilities. There are five faculties, each with a Director of Curriculum & Support who leads on curriculum and pastoral matters. Every subject has a Head of Subject post and sometimes a Deputy, plus there are a range of opportunities for leadership in cross College topics. For these responsibilities, staff receive a Management Responsibility Allowance or an Additional Responsibility Payment. Remission is also generally available for these roles.
A full time teacher is required to work for 195 days a year (1265 hours) of which 190 are days on which s/he is required to teach. The remaining days are for training. This is ‘directed time’. A full time teacher’s contact time is 22 sessions (each of 65 minutes) a week, which is frequently but not necessarily made up of 18 sessions subject teaching, two workshops/activities and two sessions for the tutor role. This will change to 26 sessions (each of 55 minutes) a week from September 2022 as we end a temporary Covid-related timetable. Virtually all full time teachers and most part time staff have a tutor group. Undirected time, for lesson preparation etc. is in excess of this and is not defined by the College. The sixth form teaching day is 9 am to 4.40 pm Monday to Friday.
All the above applies pro-rata to part time staff.
All teachers are eligible to join the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and will normally be automatically enrolled on appointment. Further information can be found at https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/
Anyone who is not a teacher is a member of the ‘support staff’ and is employed in accordance with the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association Conditions of Service Handbook, supplemented by local agreements and policies. All appointments are subject to a six month probationary period during which there are three formal meetings before appointment is confirmed. From then on, there are annual professional review meetings.
Our support staff work under many different contracts, but the following are examples:
Full year contract. A full timer works 37 hours a week, with the standard working hours being 8.30 am to 5 pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30 am to 4.30 pm on Friday. The standard lunch break is an hour, which is unpaid. These hours will vary according to the role, for instance in a department where there is a lot of student interaction at lunch times the lunch break may only be half an hour, with an earlier finish.
These staff receive a minimum of 27 days paid annual leave, plus bank holidays. Annual leave entitlement increases with seniority and service. A part timer working full year will receive an annual leave entitlement pro rata.
Part year. Many support staff work term time only or term time plus a couple of weeks. They cannot normally take leave during the term time and, when they are not working, part of their time off is technically paid holiday while some of it is unpaid, non-working time. That is, holiday pay is received as part of the contract and part year staff are paid in 12 equal instalments throughout the year.
Part year staff may work 37 hours a week during their working weeks or less, the same as full year staff.
Casual staff. We have a number of staff who work for us without fixed hours e.g. Invigilators. They are free to accept or decline work that is offered to them and we do not guarantee a minimum amount of work. They are paid on a claims basis for the hours they work, plus holiday pay.
Support staff are paid on a Support Staff Scale and are normally appointed on a range of up to half a dozen points. Appointments on the range are made according to the applicant’s qualifications and experience, with progression at the end of the probationary period and annually on 1 April until the top of the range is reached. It is normal practice, although not guaranteed, for support staff to receive an annual bonus called the ‘Support Staff Standards Payment’ in November each year.
All support staff are eligible to join the Local Government Pension Scheme (administered by Hampshire County Council) and you will normally be automatically enrolled on appointment. Further information can be found the Hampshire County Council website. As a member, you pay into the scheme and we make a significantly larger further contribution on your behalf.