Why Work at EPCS?
At Easthampstead Park Community School, we expect all of our staff to focus 100% of their energies on providing the very best possible education for our students. However, we believe this will only happen if teachers feel happy, well supported and valued.
We are committed to freeing our teachers from distractions such as unnecessary admin, so they can focus on what really matters – the core activities of marking, planning and teaching. We value the time our staff invest in marking and planning to ensure students receive the very best teaching, and to help them manage their work life balance effectively, we award all teachers with a generous allocation of PPA time. Newly Qualified Teachers are awarded additional non-contact time, and scheduled meetings with specialist subject mentors, to ensure they blossom as they develop their own voices in the classroom.
We split our main student population into two schools, Discovery School, Years 7-8, and Destiny School, Years 9-11. In Discovery School, our curriculum is designed to create exceptional learners, in preparation for beginning GCSE study in Year 9. There is great flexibility for departments to shape learning through Years 7 and 8 with an emphasis on using the KS2 curriculum as a springboard to develop the knowledge required to prepare pupils for KS4 and beyond! We do not expect the curriculum to remain static and equip our subject teams with time and resources to remain nimble and adjust their schemes of work accordingly as they progress through the year.
Our simple and clear behaviour policy of Respect and Pride enables teachers to manage behaviour effectively. Our escalation procedures reduce the demands on staff time but ensure that pupils’ poor behaviour is dealt with swiftly. We have high expectations, and clear processes which all staff follow if these standards are not met. In equal measure, our reward systems aim to encourage the positive behaviours and recognise excellent effort. This allows teachers to build positive relationships with students, characterised by mutual respect.
At EPCS, we expect all staff to be reflective practitioners, always keen to improve “not because we are not good enough but because we can be even better” (Dylan Wiliam). We want to empower our staff to be the best teacher they can be, and recognise that this requires support and guidance; and trust and freedom in equal measure. In this spirit, we have invested significant time reconsidering our approaches to assessment and marking. We recognise assessment to be a pivotal part in ensuring students are able to make progress, but also recognise the disproportionate burden marking can have on teacher workload. At present, we are challenging our teachers to experiment with time efficient, high impact approaches, such as coded marking and whole class feedback sheets. We have whole school marking principles, which centre around all marking being manageable, meaningful and motivational rather than a restrictive ‘one size fits all’ policy. We’ve invited teachers and departments to determine the assessment strategies they use according to what they feel is best for the task and students in front of them.
We recognise that if we really want our staff to invest 100% in our students, we must invest 100% in our staff. To that end, we provide a high quality programme of bespoke professional development opportunities, ranging from participation in nationally accredited leadership training programmes, to opportunities to conduct lesson study with colleagues and join research groups. This is coupled with a robust appraisal process, which ensures all staff are set appropriately stretching targets which will drive their professional learning forwards. As a result, our teachers progress in their careers quickly, many obtaining promoted positions within our school.
We want our staff to look forward to each day working at our school. We expect hard work, skill and dedication to our ethos, and in return we provide an excellent working environment, first class professional development and an excellent ‘EPCS Total Benefits’ package.