Appointment of the Digital Innovation Lead

Haberdashers' Elstree Schools


This is an exciting time in the history of Haberdashers’, with a commitment both to collaboration and innovation underpinning the 2030 Habs Elstree Joint Strategy. Core to this vision is ambition: for us, a core aim for education is to make a profound difference in the world.

From September 2023, a newly appointed Executive Principal has overseen the longer-term strategic direction of the Schools, working closely with the two Heads and senior leadership teams.

It is the ambition of the schools that makes our future so exciting. We encourage curiosity within our community and display the courage needed to step outside comfort zones; this is seen in the variety of new collaborative ventures.

In April 2024, a Director of Innovation was appointed across the Schools to drive innovation strategy and set up the Haberdashers’ Innovation Centre. The Digital Innovation Lead will report directly to her. The Director’s remit extends beyond digital innovation, including broader projects in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, as well as innovations across the whole educational journey for our students. In addition, the Haberdashers’ Innovation Centre will act as a hub for research and reflection about teaching excellence, establishing itself as a beacon of excellence on a national and international level.


Our horizons are wide; we are a diverse community that nurtures a global perspective and a deep sense of responsibility for the world in which our pupils will lead and succeed. Our broad curriculum and co-curricular provision prepare pupils for success, wherever their passion may take them.

Our vision for 2024 and beyond is to work together, offering the best of single-sex education in a co-educational environment. We will provide an unmatched comprehensive program of co-curriculum activities with a focus on developing life skills. Our vision is to have an even greater commitment to engaging with the wider world – bringing the best of the world to Habs and taking the best of Habs out into the world. We see digital innovation and Edtech as key part of this strategy.

We see it as our duty to prepare students intellectually, emotionally, socially and technologically to carve out the futures they want. They will become lifelong learners, capable of endlessly adapting to an ever-changing world.

As part of this commitment we have successfully implemented 1-1 devices through Microsoft Learn and piloting several new technologies across different year groups. We are seeking a Digital Innovation Lead to explore and test the most innovative technologies in education, ensuring Habs is leading the way to create the most exciting, challenging and innovative experiences – bringing a sense of magic and wonder to learning.

Gus Lock
Executive Principal

About Haberdashers Elstree Schools

Founded in 1690 and 1875, Haberdashers’ Boys’ School and Haberdashers’ Girls’ School are leading independent day school for students aged 4–18. The Schools’ academic results place them amongst the highest-ranked schools in the UK. They provide a challenging, positive, stimulating and secure community in which students enjoy working hard to fulfil their potential. The co-location of the Schools provides the best of both worlds: an excellent single-sex education within a co-educational environment. The Schools trace their roots back to the 17th century when their founder, Robert Aske, established the principles that guide it to this day – to give talented and ambitious young people the opportunities they need to succeed in life. Their priority is the education of the whole person, amongst other bright, well-motivated students, taught by a highly qualified, committed staff. In partnership with parents, they aim to provide every student with the intellectual, cultural, physical, moral, personal and spiritual resources they need to give them confidence to go forward in a changing world. The Schools are diverse communities which nurture a global perspective and a deep sense of responsibility for the world in which its students will lead and succeed. The excellent pastoral care, broad academic curriculum and far-reaching co-curricular provision prepare students for success, wherever their passion may take them.

Today the Schools educate approximately 1,250 girls and 1,450 boys from the age of 4 to 18, including over 500 in the Sixth Form. Admission to the Schools is by competitive selective assessment. In 2022, both Schools were rated “Excellent” in all areas by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

The Schools occupy a superb 100 acres of green belt countryside, all within easy reach of North London. There has been an extensive, ongoing programme of development since the Schools moved to the present site in 1961 and 1974 respectively, including state-of-the art teaching facilities, sports facilities, performance spaces and Forest School for our youngest students. The Schools operate an extensive coach network for use by students and staff, ranging from Harpenden in the north, St John’s Wood in the south, Hertford in the east and Rickmansworth in the west.

One of the distinctive features of the Schools is their co-location, therefore offering a distinctive learning experience – a single-sex education for its students whilst reaping the benefits of the opportunities for collaboration and joint activities. In the Sixth Form, the Schools run The Habs Diploma, a joint enrichment programme to supplement the curriculum. In September 2022, Habs Nexus was introduced, providing co-educational teaching across the subject range at A Level: every student undertakes at least one subject in a co-educational class. The Schools also work closely together on a co-curricular level, with joint trips, concerts and clubs taking place across the age ranges.

The Schools’ outstanding results at all levels reflect the hard work and commitment of its students and the staff who support them. The majority of students go on to study at leading universities and medical schools, including Oxbridge and Ivy League universities in the USA each year. Education at Habs, however, is about more than just academic success. The students are bright, articulate and open, interested and extremely rewarding to teach. They have a great sense of humour and are both highly motivated and very well mannered.

Pastoral care is exceptional, designed to help students make decisions and to care about others within the framework of a very diverse community. Co-curricular activities abound, with many students assuming responsibility for the running and organisation of events and societies. The students regularly reach the finals of national competitions, such as Olympiads, robotics, chess, bridge and debating, but there is also a remarkable commitment to partnership and charity work, reflecting the rich and harmonious ethnic and religious diversity of the Schools.

The members of the teaching staff are united by a caring approach, passion for their subjects and the aspiration to be dynamic, and reflective practitioners, working at the cutting edge of pedagogical practice. The Schools fully support the continuing professional development of its staff. As well as external INSET courses, a full and varied programme is offered in-house. There is a well-established performance-related pay programme which is closely linked to the professional development programme. The Schools support staff in gaining relevant qualifications such as ISQAM, QTS, PhD, as resources allow.

The Schools award a number of scholarships on entry, but the majority of funding goes into the provision of bursaries for cases of financial need. A very successful joint Development Foundation exists to broaden participation in the life of the Schools and encourage philanthropic giving.

More detailed information about the Schools and their history is available on the school websites: and and through the Good Schools Guide

The Elstree Schools (Habs Girls and Habs Boys) are part of the Haberdashers’ Company and, as such, form part of a wider family of schools in both the independent and state sectors across England and Wales. Between them, these schools operate across the grammar, academy and independent sectors, educating children at primary, prep and secondary ages, with both boarding and day provision. There is active sharing of best practice at multiple levels between all four main ‘hubs’, and the Company is a recognised  voice on the national educational stage. More directly, the Haberdashers’ Company is highly engaged in the work of the Elstree Schools in a number of ways, including deputations, the provision of Governors and charitable funding, and cross-hub events in music, sport and other co-curricular activities.

The role

Digital Innovation Lead (AQ2631)

Apply now

Job Summary

Never has it been truer that schools are preparing students for futures that are not yet imagined. Creative and critical thinking, problem-solving, deep understanding and an ability to collaborate effectively will be crucial to success, not just in work, but in life. Big data, a greater and greater reliance on technology and the development of generative AI prompt a rethinking of what and how students need to be learning. At Habs, we find this immensely exciting. We are seeking someone working at the forefront of developments in technology to navigate this with us.

The Digital Innovation Lead will define, articulate and oversee the implementation of a vision and strategy for digital engagement within the Habs Elstree Schools. This vision should be ambitious, pushing boundaries and generating new practices, which become embedded.

The role encompasses four facets of digital strategy:

  1. Developing the digital skills of students so they are not just future-ready, but are at the cutting edge
  2. Embracing what digital can offer to enable excellence in teaching and learning, driving change through imaginative, well-judged and research-informed use of digital tools
  3. Facilitating efficiencies in working practices across the Schools in all areas of work by using technology  to enable staff to focus on their core purposes, for example by reducing teacher admin workload to facilitate focus on exceptional teaching & learning
  4. Establishing a culture of digital health and wellbeing, and fostering good practice in the Schools more generally

Key duties of the Digital Innovation Lead

1.      Landscape Analysis and Networking

  • Identify and evaluate emerging technologies and trends in education, the workplace and beyond, and assess their potential impact on educational practices, administrative and operational processes
  • Maintain cutting-edge understanding of current developments in the field, including opportunities in pedagogy, curriculum and assessment
  • Continued appraisal of the skills and dispositions needed by children in the future
  • Cultivate relationships with industry leaders, tech companies, and educational institutions to access resources, expertise, and opportunities for students and staff
  • Build on links with other Haberdashers’ Schools, in order to support digital education more widely in the Haberdashers’ Family
  • Support the Director of Innovation to develop budgets and allocate resources efficiently to support digital education and innovation initiatives

2.   Strategy and Building Culture

  • In collaboration with the Director of Innovation, develop the digital strategy that sits as a major strand within our wider innovation strategic planning, and aligns with wider Schools’ strategy
  • Coordinate the communication of digital strategy and advice to all key stakeholders, including parents
  • Devise a programme of training for parents on digital innovation and digital safety
  • Work collaboratively with digital champions and departments to establish, execute and evaluate the Digital Strategy
  • Work closely with the Director of Innovation, and Schools’ leadership (particularly academic leaders) more generally to foster a culture of digital innovation and agility within Habs
  • Encourage and support teachers and students to explore creative solutions and embrace innovative approaches in teaching and learning
  • Lead, inspire, and motivate colleagues by engendering a culture of collaboration on digital approaches and projects in which colleagues are encouraged to use their initiative and are fully supported

3.   Digital Teams:

  • Alongside the Director of IT, act as a link between IT Services staff and teachers
  • Coordinate with the Designated Safeguarding Leads and IT Services department to ensure that the schools achieve the highest standards for safeguarding, in particular filtering and monitoring
  • Act as a point of contact on digital matters for academic senior leaders
  • Galvanise support from key stakeholders, such as Computer Science departments, other STEM departments and robotics leads
  • Manage and develop teacher Digital Champions to MIEE status, holding regular meetings and monitoring their impact as well as supporting their individual development needs
  • Develop a programme for students to become digital champions amongst their peers
  • Establish a digital steering group with defined objectives and timescales
  • Meet regularly with Designated Safeguarding Leads and Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE) staff to discuss digital wellbeing and safety
  • Attend Filtering and Monitoring meetings

4.   Professional Development:

  • Upskill teachers and students to effectively, boldly, yet safely use AI
  • Lead training for teaching staff in acquiring and developing the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to effectively use technology to enhance teaching and learning and to manage workload
  • Develop all teaching staff to at least Microsoft Educator status within an agreed and realistic timeframe
  • Contribute directly to the training of staff and students, and ensure that training is timely, relevant and effective
  • Guide staff in supporting students with digital literacy and digital wellbeing, including healthy screen time working habits, both in class and when students are unsupervised

5.   Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment

  • Identify opportunities for digital innovations in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, in collaboration with the Director of Innovation and other academic leaders
  • Facilitate the sharing of best practice between departments in the use of digital technology in the classroom.
  • Liaise with all departments and support teachers in the sourcing and use of appropriate resources, attending Heads of Department meetings where appropriate
  • Develop strategy on the use of pupil devices and work with IT staff to oversee the rollout of this strategy
  • Coordinate digital literacy induction for new students
  • Support the effective use of devices and online tools in support of learning, both inside and outside the classroom, by teachers and students
  • Review subscriptions and software to ensure Habs is using the best resources to support our students to achieve academic success and keep them safe
  • Liaise with pastoral leaders in integrating digital literacy, digital wellbeing and healthy digital working habits into the PSHE curriculum and elsewhere
  • In all the above, work with colleagues across both Schools, to ensure consistency of approach between the Girls’ and Boys’ Schools

6.   Governance:

  • Prepare reports for and, where appropriate present to the Schools’ SLTs, the Joint SLT, ExCo and Governors on progress with digital strategy, to aid decision-making and analysis
  • Provide guidance and support to school leaders and governors on leveraging technology for effective teaching and learning, administrative and operational efficiencies
  • Develop relevant policy relating to digital matters, including AI, to ensure consistency of approach

Person Specification/Core Competencies

The following criteria are essential:

  • Understanding of schools and education
  • Ambition for achieving the very best for students
  • Alignment with all Habs’ core values
  • Good undergraduate degree in a relevant field
  • Passion for digital innovation and energy to make things happen
  • Digital expertise: Including knowledge of digital trends, tools, and platforms, particularly use of AI for education.
  • High level of competence with Microsoft 365
  • Ability to build relationships and work collaboratively with teachers, professional services staff and students
  • Ability to build links with external service providers and partners
  • Strong communication skills for engaging stakeholders, including parents
  • Strategic thinking: Strong analytical and problem-solving skills to identify
  • opportunities, evaluate risks, and make informed decisions
  • Strong project management skills
  • Resilience and positivity

The following criteria are desirable:

  • Experience working in a school
  • Understanding of UK school system
  • Understanding of teaching principles
  • Postgraduate degree in a related field
  • MIEE certified

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to Haberdashers’ Elstree Schools. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to public advertisements.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 28 May.

Applications should include:

  • A completed application form and career overview or CV.
  • A cover letter outlining how you meet the “What will you bring to the role?” criteria of the person specification, including your experience of leading innovation in education.

Please include details of two referees in either your CV or cover letter. Note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent, and only should you be successful in the recruitment process.

If you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Hayley Mintern.

The recruitment timetable is set out below. Please inform Anderson Quigley if any dates are problematic, we will do our best to accommodate flexibility.

Preliminary Interviews: 29 – 30 May

Informal Sessions with Habs for the shortlisted candidates: w/c 3rd June

Panel Interviews: To be confirmed