Head of Grounds

Responsible to: The Deputy Director of Operations

Head of Grounds

Head of Grounds

There is no accommodation available for this post

The Grounds at Haberdashers’ Elstree Schools

Our attractive grounds extend to 100 acres of which 20 acres are playing surfaces. These allow for a full range of sports to be played with cricket as the principal sports at the Boys’ School and lacrosse at the Girls’ School.

Garden areas, woodland areas and staff gardens are extensive and managed by an external gardening contractor.

Summary of the role

The Head Grounds person will, along with their team, proactively manage and maintain the highest standards of natural and artificial playing surfaces and surrounding areas, and will oversee the long-term planning of grounds’ maintenance, upkeep and renovation in line with time, financial and user requirements.

The successful candidate is accountable to the Deputy Director of Operations for the quality, success and development of the grounds and, as such, will have a genuine enthusiasm for their profession. The Head Grounds person will be expected to build and foster relationships with stakeholders, particularly the sports departments at both schools.

External Relationships: Will include relevant suppliers and contractors for resources and other equipment, Grounds Management Association and other industry associations, other schools’ grounds personnel. Of major importance is the fostering of a good relationship with the current long term gardening contractor.

Internal Relationships: Head, Senior Deputy Head, Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Director of Operations, Director of Sport, Head of Estates, Lettings Manager, Health & Safety Manager, Teachers in Charge of sporting activities.

Main Duties 

Grounds Management

  • Manage all sporting facilities to deliver first class surfaces as required
  • Produce an annual Department Plan setting out tasks for improving the sporting facilities
  • Work closely with the Directors of Sports to monitor and advise on the sporting programme of activities and their use of school facilities throughout the school year
  • Make ‘play and no play’ decisions in conjunction with Directors of Sports, relevant members of the Sports Department and/or Teachers in Charge of sports
  • Monitor pitch usage
  • Undertake or manage grounds projects, including with external contractors
  • Ensure the efficient maintenance of machinery and equipment
  • Maintain awareness of industry developments, drawing relevant aspects to the attention of the Deputy Director of Operations, Directors of Sport and wider Grounds team to the benefit of the school
  • Prepare and organise the grounds and facilities for sports lets, particularly out of term time and in full consultation with the schools

Management of Team

  • Supervise and lead a small team of grounds people
  • Promote and coordinate the training and development of team members, including ensuring that the team have the right balance of skills throughout the sporting year
  • Coach, mentor and motivate staff to achieve work schedules and objectives
  • Provide effective performance feedback with the team and by conducting annual appraisals on team members and provide this information to the Deputy Director of Operations
  • Ensure all mandatory training is kept up to date in conjunction with the school’s Training Officer
  • Develop an appropriate work shift pattern to meet the seasonal and sporting needs of the schools

Health & Safety

Maintain a thorough knowledge of all relevant current legislation ie health and safety, first aid, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), environment management and ensure compliance by preparing, conducting and regularly updating risk assessments


Demonstrating the highest levels of commitment and compliance to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.

Person Specification 

Relevant Experience/Knowledge & Technical Competencies


  • proven track record within the grounds care profession, producing facilities to the highest standards
  • demonstrable technical knowledge of industry standards and resources
  • proven staff management experience, capable of motivating team without micro-management of situations
  • budget planning and control skills experience
  • demonstrable understanding of relevant and current health and safety and industry legislation
  • IT literate
  • sound working knowledge of grounds-related plant and machinery


  • grounds management experience within a school environment
  • membership of Grounds Management Association (formerly known as the Institute of Groundsmanship)
  • Experience of working in a school environment



  • a minimum of an NVQ Level 3 or equivalent experience in sports turf management
  • current clean driving licence


  • an NVQ Level 4 or equivalent experience in sports turf management
  • formal training in manual handling, risk assessment and supervision of staff

Personal Competencies / Skills

  • ability to communicate both orally and in written form
  • problem solver and ability to use initiative
  • highly organised, decisive and able to manage time effectively
  • flexible attitude with the ability to work under pressure
  • keen eye for and attention to detail
  • capable of working with people from wide range of backgrounds – able to demonstrate tact and diplomacy
  • team player with a positive attitude, strong and good at forming effective working relationships with people at all levels
  • keen sense of customer service and pride in success of team and finished product

Working Hours

This is an exciting full-time role, working 40 hours/week all year round. Generally, the responsibilities can be carried out between 7am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, however evening and weekend work will be required particularly during the cricket and summer season, and when the weather impacts on the activities of the school.