So you want to work at Michaela?
Our school is different. Why do you want to work at Michaela? Are you worried about being able to adapt to our methods and mindset? Good. That shows that you are asking the right questions. But don’t be scared away just because we are different. Life is about discovery and development. You can learn to adapt. If you believe in what makes Michaela, Michaela, then you’ll get there with our support and your commitment.
The list below should help you to decide if Michaela is for you.
1. Knowledge Teaching
We believe in standing at the front of the class and teaching. We do not believe in learning styles. We do not believe in personalisation or differentiation in the way that most schools do. We do not believe in target-setting or prioritising skills. If you believe in these things, Michaela isn’t the school for you.
We believe in feeding back to pupils from the front because pupils tend to make the same mistakes. We believe in rows of desks and learning things by heart. We would never do group work at Michaela.
2. CPD for staff
We find that if staff ‘get’ why we do what we do, and are able to develop the right instincts so that eventually they too become ‘Michaela teachers’, they excel and are very happy.
CPD for staff starts as soon as the teacher is appointed. We ask new staff to read numerous articles and books. We invite them in for meetings in the lead up to their start at Michaela. We also encourage them to begin teaching differently and have higher standards in their current posts.
In September, new teachers are able to use our Behaviour Bootcamp to learn how to become more ‘Michaela’. Behaviour Bootcamp lasts for seven days and only Year 7s attend. During this time, pupils are taught how to behave the Michaela way. New staff can then learn as the pupils are learning, team-teaching with current staff, until eventually taking over a tutor group. We try to give new staff Year 7 tutor groups where possible.
New staff have a full day of CPD training the day before school opens. Day 2 is INSET for all staff. Then during Bootcamp, there is one hour at the end of every day of CPD training. We also provide regular new staff CPD throughout the first year of your time at Michaela.
Our Continuing Professional Development programme is benchmarked against elite training programs of professional athletes and cutting-edge scientific research evidence. Using video technology and deliberate practice-feedback cycles gives us insights that improve the way we teach.
We share a clear vision of effective teaching on strong behaviour, planning, assessment and instruction, and we help each other to continually improve our practice. We have an open-door culture where we are all learning from each other all the time.
Once new staff are teaching their subjects (after Boot Camp), more experienced Michaela teachers do quick observations (less than 15 minutes), followed by regular feedback. Sometimes teachers sit at the back of your lesson, getting on with their own work, and also making notes on things you could improve. You will get daily feedback. Staff who are successful are able to implement the feedback quickly and within a couple of weeks they find they have transformed their practice.
We do not grade observations. We do not grade our teachers at all – neither for performance management, nor appraisal, nor pay, nor inspection. We believe that trusting our teachers with the autonomy to improve creates a strong, vibrant staff culture. We never make high-stakes, biannual numbered judgements of teachers; we prefer continual, low-stakes feedback, practice and reflection.
New staff say that by half term, they ‘find their groove’ and feel as if they are on their way to becoming ‘Michaela’ teachers. By the end of the first term, they tend to be properly settled into the role where much of what we do comes to them automatically.
We believe in zero-tolerance. We do not make exceptions. When we say we have high standards, we mean it. If you think it is mean to give a detention when a pupils doesn’t have a pen, Michaela isn’t the school for you. We hold parents to account as well and insist that they support their children by supporting our rules. This creates a very orderly school where children are safe. It requires staff who are willing to make mountains out of molehills. You need to know how to act appalled over the little stuff.
4. Work-life balance, not burnout
We know that teaching is the most rewarding, exhilarating but exhausting profession. So we are guided by a philosophy of simplicity that aims for maximum impact on pupil learning with minimal overload on workload for staff. We reduce burnout applying this effort-to-impact ratio to everything we do. For example, our slimmed-down marking, centralized homework, minimal display policies minimise work. We use oral feedback to reduce workload. Our sky-high standards on strict discipline reduce stressful confrontations. Our staff nurture a healthy, sustainable balance between their school and home lives.
Staff at Michaela tend to reject all of the accepted wisdoms of the 21st century. This ranges from the way that we teach, how we deal with SEN pupils, our expectations of parents, our zero-tolerance attitude to bad behaviour and our high expectations of professional dress at all times from both pupils and staff.
To join Michaela is to become part of a family. Families rally round when times are tough. Families help each other out and are honest with each other. Every day, we eat a family lunch together with our pupils. We are always thinking hard about how we can become the best we can be for our colleagues, parents and pupils.
Michaela Community School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Successful candidates will need to undertake an Enhanced Disclosure via the DBS and/or provide police checks from other countries, where appropriate. Michaela Community School is an equal opportunities employer.
Read more about our safer recruiting procedures here.