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Possible interview questions

Career | Published 3 March, 2010 | By: Theo Griff

Hope this is helpful. However, don’t get too carried away with learning off reams of interview question answers; see also Interview Tips for advice on tackling interview preparation. The  Interview Tips also has possible questions for different types of post: Headteacher, Deputy Head, Assistant Head and Teaching Assistant.

On another Forum, Joe Blair said the following:

We got an expert to put together some interview questions for a teacher position. They are aimed at primary schools, but might still be useful if you are at a secondary.

Suitability to the role

Why did you apply for this particular role?
Why did you choose to teach this particular age range?
What are your core strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
What can you bring to the role that other candidates may not bring?

The school and staff

What makes a successful school?
What importance do you attach to co-operation with colleagues, such as those who are teaching parallel classes?
How would you cope with a lack of enthusiasm from colleagues?
What is your impression of the school/organisation?
How do you feel about parent helpers in the classroom?
How would you work with a teaching assistant in your classroom?
Do you find it difficult working alongside older, more experienced staff?
What is the most difficult piece of feedback you have ever had to give, and why?
How would you react if a senior member of staff queried or criticised some aspect of your teaching?

Teaching and learning

What is your understanding of high-quality teaching and learning?
Describe a good lesson
Describe a lesson that did not go well. What were the reasons for this?
If I came into your classroom, what would I see?
Describe the teaching method you find most effective
How would you organise teaching and learning for a mixed-age group?
Do you differentiate between outcome or task?
What are the important things to consider when setting up a classroom?

Ensuring progress

What assessment strategies would you use?
How do you ensure all children are involved?
How do you assess and record your children’s progress?
How would you motivate a reluctant child?
How would you meet the needs of gifted and talented children in the class?
Have you had experience of a very high attaining and very low attaining child in your class?
Tell us about your experience of assessment for learning and assessment of learning
If a child doesn’t show signs of improvement after all your planning, monitoring, assessing etc, what do you do next?
What strategies do you use to manage children with special educational needs?

Behaviour management

What behaviour management policies have you experienced, and what do you consider as having been effective?
How would you deal with a pupil who is not co-operating?
How would you deal with a disruptive child?
What do you think is the best way to motivate pupils?
Some people say you should demand respect from children. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
What do you understand by the term ‘providing support’ for the pupil?
Bullying is often a serious issue that has to be dealt with in all areas of work with children. In your experience, what is the best way to deal with it?
Child protection issues
Have you ever felt uncomfortable about a colleague’s behaviour towards children in a previous job?
What were your concerns, what did you do, and how was the issue resolved?
Safeguarding children is an important part of our work. Can you give me same examples of how you would contribute to making the organisation a safer environment for children?
Tell me about a time when a child or young person behaved in a way that caused you concern. How did you deal with that? Who else did you involve?
Why do you want to work with children? What do you think you have to offer? Give an example of how children have benefited from contact with you.
How did your previous organisation tackle child protection?

Career development

How will you develop yourself as a professional teacher?
What is your understanding of effective performance management?
What are your plans for the future?
How would you like to see your career develop?
Are you prepared to go on courses?
How long do you expect to stay here?
Would you aim to widen your experience by seeking posts in other schools after a reasonable period here?

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Comment (18)

  • Would be great to have some model answers for some of these questions...anybody know where I can find answers too?

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    13 March, 2010


  • Yeah anyone got any model answers? The sorts of things schools will be looking for?


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    15 March, 2010


  • very helpful, thanks

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    13 April, 2010


  • "Yeah anyone got any model answers? The sorts of things schools will be looking for?
    Don't be so daft!

    How would the interviewing panel judge you if half-a-dozen candidates came in all giving identical model answers?

    Think of your own answers!

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    4 May, 2010


  • I've been looking for model answers (after all we're supposed to 'model' good essays, etc, for the pupils). I wouldn't dream of repeating them verbatim but just an idea of the length and structure would be really useful. I've been told around 4 minutes for each answer but that seems quite a long time so I'd love to see how someone else manages to talk for that long on one answer without waffling.

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    5 May, 2010


  • Anyone looking for a job in Birmingham? How are you finding it?


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    25 May, 2010


  • Excellent material really helped me focus my experience in topic areas rather than answers to question i may not get asked. Now all i need is the job!!!!

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    4 July, 2010


  • Just be yourself and talk about what you know- then you can't go wrong!!

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    14 October, 2010

    fiona halliday

  • I can tell you how NOT to do it. (all genuine answers)
    Question (English teaching job) : What are you readng at the minute?
    Answer: I haven't time to read really with having a young family.
    Question: If you had a free choice, what novel would you teach at GCSE?
    Answer: I think the ones you teach now are fine. I wouldn't change it.
    Question: What would you bring to the department?
    Answer:Chocolate biscuits. (Genuine!!)

    Eeek. 3 different candidates. Didn't employ any of the them.

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    13 February, 2011


  • I beg to differ with the comment-maker who advised that the candidate who offered the "chocolate biscuits" reply shoudl be immediately thrown on the scrap heap. It demonstrates to me, as a former SMT member, that the candidate is at ease adn confident enough in a tense interview situation to show he/she has a sense of humour, provided that was merely a lead-in to a more expansive and sensible set of suggestions as to what would be brought to the department.

    It occurs to me that in teaching, or in any profession for that matter, having a sense of humour serves to humanise us all and often diffuses the ense situations that inevitably arise from time to time. Remember, as desperate as we all are to find permanent teaching posts, the job is a two-way street: it has to serve you as well as the other way around. Do not forget that or you could, as I did, find myself in a school that was completely wrong for me, and ultimately, I for them.

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    8 May, 2011


  • Forgive my faulty keyboard and its many sticky, erratic keys!

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    8 May, 2011


  • I was asked what I could bring to help the ethos of the department and answered 'cake'. I then expanded and talked about a positive working environment, creating good working relationships and leading by example, but I did start with cake.

    I got offered the job.

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    23 May, 2011


  • I prepared by researching interview questions, possible answers etc then was asked by Head
    "Did you prepare a list of questions?"
    "Throw it away! Don't do that talk more, we talk for a living as teachers so just talk!"


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    6 July, 2012


  • Great questions. Worked on them at home - got the job next day!

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    1 December, 2012


  • At an interview on Friday I started to giggle all thanks to this list and your comments. We were about 4 or 5 questions in, when I realised that they were all taken word for word on from this list. It was the question about a child showing no sign of improvement, the deputy head read it word for word and even said etc! That's when I suddenly started thinking about chocolate biscuits. I haven't heard back from the school, they probably think I'm a nutter now, hey ho, 3 more next week, I must study harder!!!!

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    19 May, 2013


  • I have an I interview later today and this has helped me prepare and be focused. I will probably also mention cake or biscuits at some point - I agree it does break the ice a little and as long as you go on to explain why you think it's positive then I think you'll be ok!

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    13 March, 2014


  • I had an interview on Friday. Was asked about how is fit into a small team. I talked about getting to know everyone, building positive relationships, being myself etc. I then finished with 'and I find cake always helps.' I got the job, so don't worry about mentioning cake or biscuits!

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    11 May, 2014


  • Very useful, thank you. I had an interview recently and they asked me ten questions, they were all on the list above. Because I had gone through all of these questions, I felt I was well prepared and gave a good account of myself.
    Good luck.
    I got the job!

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    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    7 March, 2015


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