Assistant Head interviews

3rd May 2014 at 01:00

Questions, questions, questions!  Some experiences of Assistant Head interviews from posters



With very many thanks to the posters Tassy84, Ljcrow, Scarlot03 and Armandine for gathering these questions from their interviews.


Do remember not to prepare answers, but to use mind maps for the main areas that are relevant to you.  


Here's what one poster tells us:  

I calculated that I was asked somewhere in the region of 70 questions so trying to prep for individual questions really is impossible - mind mapping worked so much better.


Using mind-mapping for interviews  



  • Student Interview
  • Formal Interview
  • In-tray exercise
  • Data analysis exercise
  • Planning activity
  • Lesson observation and feeding back
  • Teach a lesson
  • 'Round table' activity (observed group discussion)



 1. Why did you become a teacher?

2. Why do you want to work at this school?

3. What is the role of a form tutor?

4. How would you react to an allegation made against a member of staff?

5. How would you deal with a difficult situation with a member of staff? Give an example of the actions you took and the result.

6. Describe a situation where you have led a whole school change. How did you know it was successful?

7. What is your leadership style?

8. How would you challenge a more senior member of staff if you disagreed with their decision?

9, How would you line manage an underperforming department?

10. How would you line manage a department that is overperforming?

11. What do you think makes an outstanding lesson?

12. Do you agree with the new Performance 8?

13. What impact may Performance 8 have on our students?

14. Should all students be made to take 8 GCSEs?

15. Do you think the new Ofsted guidance for grading lessons is fair? Why?

16. What would you current students say about you as a teacher?

17. How would you deal with discrimination in the workplace?

18. What is the role of Governors?

19. How could you involve parents into the school community more successfully?

20. How would you ensure all students are fulfilling their potential in our school?

21. What makes a good assembly?

22. What would be your first actions as AH in X school?

23. As an external candidate, what would be your priorites in the first term?

24. What CPD do you feel you would need in your new role?

25. If you could be a fictional character, who would you be and why? From the pupil panel!

26. Why do you want to work at this school?

27. How do you feel your lesson went?

28. How would Ofsted judge your lesson?

29. How would you ensure that children in your class were safeguarded?

30. What would you do if one child was falling behind?

31. This is a fast-paced, busy school. How do you think you would cope with that?  

32. What areas would you potentially be interested in specialising in beyond your main duties?

32. How do you think you handle working as part of a team?

33. How do you handle parents/relationships with parents?

34. What do you think you are like as a teacher - how would you sum up your approach?

35. Why do you want to work in this school?  Repeat question, I know, but it shows it comes up often

36. Why did you go into teaching?  Similar to question 1. Again, very popular.

37. Why do you want to be an AHT?

38. What do you think the difference is between being on a senior leadership team and middle leadership?

39. What leadership style do you use and why and tell us about an occasion that you used a different style and why?

40. How would you go about leading departments that you line manage? 

41. Describe a whole-school initiative that you have lead, how you set it up, ran it and analysed its success.

42. How do you think you would develop _____ (insert an aspect of that AHT particular role from the job description) in ______ school. 

43. What do you look for in an outstanding lesson?

44. How do you feedback lesson observations to staff? 

45. How would you manage a difficult member of staff?

46. What would you do if a member of staff is not performing to a satisfactory level? 

47. How do you ensure that staff take accountability for examination results? 

48. Describe an occasion when you have worked with the local community as part of your role in school. 

49. What outside agencies have you worked with? 

50.   Describe an occasion when you have been concerned about the wellbeing of a student and what action you took. 

51. How do you think _____ (insert one of the processes they put you through) went and how would you improve it/ your performance in it. 

52. What are your three biggest strengths?   Tip from TG:  Tell us about yourself - dream or nightmare question?

53. How would you contribute to the school ethos? (It was a faith school). 


See also:  SLT interviews - possible questions


And finally, the poster Armandine recommends this website:  Assistant Head selection



N.B. (from Theo)  if they ask you at the end if you have any question that you want to ask,  don't bother inventing a question to ask to impress.  The panel would much rather that you said Thank you, no, I don't need to ask anything as I have all the information that I need.
We absolutely HATE being asked questions just to impress us.   Especially if it's a question totally TRITE  such as: What did you do in your Inset days last year?
Ask if there's something that you absolutely MUST know (although really you should have found that out before).  Otherwise, don't ask anything. That allows us to get on with interviewing the next candidate.  
People have been known to talk themselves out of a job by the stupid question at the end . . .

Questions to ask at the end of your interview  



Best wishes