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Preparing for your interview

Preparing for your interview

The key to any successful interview is proper preparation – and your application for teacher training is no exception. The way different schools and universities structure their interviews will vary, as will any assessments you’ll need to complete. You’ll be looking to stand out from the crowd, so before the interview’s even started, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself.

Have you done your research?

There’s no overarching, generic interview for teacher training, so you need to be able to tailor your approach. Make sure you do your research about the school(s) or university that will be leading your training. If successful, you’ll be with them for a year (and possibly longer if one of your placements leads to employment).

When you receive an invitation for an interview, read it very carefully so you know exactly what to expect. Most interviews will generally take place over a full day – although some could take as little as an hour – and they can include some, if not all, of the following:

  • a review of personal documentation including examination certificates
  • a group task or discussion (e.g. discussion on current educational issues)
  • a short presentation – the topic may be given to you prior to the day of the interview
  • an individual interview, which could be one-to-one or with a panel
  • a written task, or tasks, which could involve a literacy test and/or subject-based test

What qualities will you bring to teaching?

Guessing the questions you’ll be asked in an interview can be tricky, and risky if you get it wrong. So be sure you can provide compelling reasons for why you have all the right qualities for teaching. These include:

  • having an assured, committed reason for wanting to get into teaching and an understanding of how you can make a difference as a teacher
  • knowing what you can bring to the course you’re applying for – both in terms of your subject knowledge and the ethos of the school(s) or university leading your training
  • being able to explain what you’ve learnt from your time spent in schools so far – by the interview stage, you should have spent at least some time in school, see our school experience section for details
  • showing you can apply transferable skills from any previous employment to teaching
  • understanding current policies and practices in education and teaching in general

You may have already given a lot of thought to these areas when submitting your written application. That’s a good start, but don’t be complacent and hope reciting that will carry you through.

And, as with any interview, you’ll be expected to demonstrate good personal, intellectual and communication skills – in fact, as a prospective teacher, these are vital skills.

Get some helpful tips on making a great impression at the interview stage from a range of teaching professionals. Transcript (PDF, 201KB)

On the interview day, I knew that I’d love working in a school – I remember I was buzzing afterwards.

Claire Johnson, newly qualified physics teacher

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  • Interview tips video

    Get some helpful tips on making a great impression at the interview stage from a range of teaching professionals. Transcript (PDF, 201KB)

  • Registering allowed me to get my school experience arranged. I even used some of the techniques that I had observed at the school for my teacher training interview.

    Chloe Wells, trainee MFL teacher
  • I love that I can be creative, manage my own classroom and make science fun.

    Claire Johnson, newly qualified physics teacher

Upcoming events

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Premier Pathways – Get into Teaching

31 May 2016 12:30

An interactive presentation and workshop on the benefits of teaching, and explaining the different routes into teaching.


Ark Teacher Training information evening

31 May 2016 18:00

A chance to learn about the Ark Teacher Training programme and get application advice.


Changing Career – drop-in sessions

02 June 2016 17:00

Join us for a coffee with a Teach First recruiter


Oxford Brookes University – PGCE primary open day

04 June 2016 09:00

Come along to our open day and find out about training to be a primary teacher on our PGCE course.