* Read the school's Ofsted report, available online at http:www.ofsted.gov.uk
* Check out school performance tables at www.dfes.gov.ukperformancetables, but do remember to look at the school's record over at least the last five years
* Good Schools Guide: www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk
* Check out the school website. Is the information accurate and up to date?
* Do a Google search on the headteacher for more detailed information
* Buy a local newspaper or search archives on the internet.
What kind of publicity does the school tend to attract?
* Arrange an informal visit before your interview. Are the buildings well-maintained? Is students' work on display? What is the atmosphere like in the staffroom? What do pupils think of their school?
* Talk to local shopkeepers, estate agents and parents. What are their impressions of the school and its students?
* Use your personal contacts. A "friend of a friend" can often provide valuable insider information.