How to Research for an Interview at a School

In addition to preparing for questions you might be asked in the interview, it’s vital to do research on the school you are hoping to work for.

By displaying your knowledge in the interview, you can show your interest in the school and you can use that information to demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate for the role. 

Good research will make you look prepared, keen and may help you stand out from all the other candidates.

These are areas you should consider for your research.

1. Job Description and Person Specification

These documents contain key information about the school and the role so it's worth going through both documents carefully. They are useful for determining what the school finds important in a candidate and how they view themselves. Try to include the key information in your answers.

2. School website

You will have looked at the website when you were doing your application. There may be information about the school which you hadn’t fully considered so you can be more thorough this time. Be sure to read up on the school’s values, ethos, and vision. You may also be able to see the staff structure, school news and any other information relevant to the school.

3. Ofsted Report

This may be on the school’s website but if not then you can find the school’s latest report on the Ofsted website. This will provide information on the challenges the school faces and what they are doing well, giving you the opportunity to explain the skills you will bring to the school to support weak areas highlighted in the report.

4. Social Media 

Find out if the school has social media accounts and follow them so you can discover key interests, events, and issues.  If they have a YouTube channel, watch some of the videos and see if you are able to mention any that impressed you in the interview.

5. School news, events and campaigns

Being up to date with a school’s activities can demonstrate your enthusiasm. The information can also further improve your understanding of the school’s character and can be mentioned in the interview as reasons why you would like to work for them.

You can search for news on Google, input the name of the school, review the results and also check the Google News section. Type in the school name in social media platforms and see what results come up.

6. Education news

Make sure you are up to date with any big stories or issues relating to education so you know what you are talking about when it's mentioned or you can bring up a certain topic during the interview. This is the sector you are working in so make sure you know your stuff but be wary of coming across too strong with your views.

7. School policy 

In the interview, the school may touch on their school policy which will give you the opportunity to ask more questions and find out more about their school. The policy information may be available on the school’s website so ensure you carry out in-depth research on their website. 

8. National Curriculum

If you are a teacher who has been on a career break you will need to polish up on the current National Curriculum. It would be helpful to speak to current teachers or even observe teachers if possible before applying for a job so you are up to date and can find out more about new changes to the curriculum since you last worked. This will show you are proactive, committed and are keen to get back into teaching. 

If you have visited the school, this will also help you gain an understanding of the running of the school and allow you to ask questions relating to your visit. 

Research is a crucial part of the interview process, it can help determine if the school is right for you, prepare you for any questions about the school, and the information can be used to enhance your answers to the interview questions. 

Here are 9 things to consider before your interview.

This article was inspired by Where do you start when researching for an interview on The Guardian. 

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