Beginning Teaching - the first year(s)
Preparation for the teaching year
Application letter - Int questions - Int expectatations - What should I wear? - How should I behave? - Pay & Conditions
The Application Letter

Most jobs will ask you to add to your application in the form of a some information about yourselves:

1. Read the application form and check that you have covered all the things that they are asking
2. Don't just repeat stuff from your CV or the main body of the application form

Do Include something about your philosophy of education


Do make sure your passion for the subject comes across


Do show that you can do more that be a classroom teacher - what's your added value?


Do show experiences do you have that can contribute to your "teacherliness"


Unless it says differently then 1-2 sides of A4 at 11 point 1 1/2 spaced is plenty


Check and double check the spelling, punctuation and grammar and ask your tutor to check it too.


Personalise it for the school - check their website, OfSTED report, Google them to see if they appear in the local / national press and find something to say about you that fits in with them and their philosophy of teaching / learning.

10. Now get someone else to read it to check for sense and clarity.
What qestions might they ask at interview?

Suitability to the role

  • Why did you apply for this particular role?
  • Why do you want to teach religious education?
  • What else are you able to teach?
  • What are your core strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses / areas for development ?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • How would you deal with an irate / difficult parent?

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?
What might I be expected to do on interview

There are a number of things which are common when you get an interview.

1. Teach a lesson or part of a lesson

Analyse some data


Mark / Assess a piece of child's work


Be interviewed by the head / HoD / governor and possible a child


A written task

6. A panel or group task
What should I wear?
This may be sound obvious but people do get it wrong.

In a phrase ... dress appropriately.

Your choice of clothing tells a lot about you, and as they say, you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression. Women should dress tastefully. That means no shorts, halters, cutoffs, miniskirts, etc. You want to look professional. If you have visible body parts other than your ears that are pierced, remove the objects before the interview. Also, if you have tattoos, do your best to cover them with appropriate clothing.

Men should wear a nice pair of trousers, and shirt and tie or a suit. Polished shoes are a good idea and say a lot about you. If you have a formal coat this is also a good thing to wear.

Don't wear sneakers or jeans. The body piercing and tattoo advice goes for the men also.

You might be thinking, "What in this day and age! How patronising is this" However, this is based on experience of what heads and governors feedback on; there is a lot of conservatism out there.

How should I behave on interview?

Remember that you are on interview ALL the time you are at the school, when you arrive, when you are walking about the school, in the lunch queue as well as the more formal parts of the day so some tips:


Be attentive, look at walls, into classrooms, speak to people, ask questions and above all LISTEN carefully to the answers (and the non-answers). Be polite and respectful and be wary of jokes, sarcasm or banter.


Many times interviews that are otherwise excellent crash and burn because the interviewees speak much too fast, and use expressions such as "like" as a form of punctuation or overuse slang or colloquialisms.

It is fine to pause before answering questions and to ask for a question to be repeated. No-one is expecting Oxford English but you are a role model for the children in your school so no gansta-rap!

A portfolio

It is not a bad idea to compose a portfolio of materials you have prepared for teaching and learning. This might include sample lessons, teaching resources, games or electronic resources. Let the interviewer know you have them but do not push them at the panel unless asked.

Know the territory

Know the setting you're going to. Usually, this type of information is available on the school web site. Know about the ethos and specialisms of the school; make sure that you don't go into a "back to basics-type" school spouting everything you heard in college about cross-curricular development. If you can, do research on the instructional setting, principles, and goals of the school. In other words, "do your homework!"

If possible visit the school. You MUST get permission for this and be on "interview behaviour" during the visit.


Have defined, and be able to defend your philosophy of education. This is not just memorising buzz words, clichés and latest strategies. Know what you believe and why you believe as you do. Have an example of how to put this into classroom practice. If you're unsure, practice out loud and have someone give you feedback.

However, if not asked by the interviewer, it's usually a good idea not to offer it up for scrutiny.


Have a discipline/classroom management system ready when you come in for the interview. Know how it works, be able to explain it, why you've chosen it, and why you think it will be effective. If, for example, you believe in assertive discipline, be able to articulate why you believe it results in desirable outcomes.


Most heads look for teachers they believe will be effective in the classroom AND be good team players. You must communicate to the interviewer that you can be both. The last thing a head wants is a new teacher who will cause them headaches, need constant reassurance, take up their valuable time solving trivial problems, or who has poor parent relation skills. In your interview, you must communicate to the head that you will not cause them headaches, need constant reassurance, etc... It is a temperament thing, so learn how to read people, speak clearly and directly, don't be afraid to look the head in the eyes, ask relevant questions, and thank them for the opportunity to be interviewed.

What are the pay and conditions?

These are the pay scales as of September 2018. You may be intitled to experience points for previous work / employment. The following amounts are for M1 scale.

  • England and Wales (not London) - £23,720
  • Inner London - £29,664
  • Outer London - £27,596
  • London Fringe - £24,859

Note: Since September 2013 the teachers pay and conditions national framework was removed. This means that the amounts about are only for gudiance and you might be able to negotiate different rates esp. if you are in a shortage or STEM subject area.

This website has been developed by web This site last updated December 28th, 2018