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UCAS Teacher Training: preparing for interviews

Before you're offered a place on a teacher training programme, you'll have an interview. Here's what training providers look for and what they may ask.
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Preparing for teacher training interviews.

Many training providers receive a large number of applications, so can't interview everyone who meets the essential requirements. In this case, they'll select applicants for interview using the academic and non-academic criteria.

You could be invited to interview by each of your chosen training providers – if you are, leave a full day free for each interview and make sure you can attend interviews within the 40 working days.

  • Your training provider should give you plenty of notice of your interview date. 
  • They may offer you an interview at short notice, if they already have a day set up. If you are unable to attend, they should offer you an alternative date – it’s important to make every effort to attend this date, to ensure you’re considered for a place on your chosen programme.
  • If you're invited to more than one interview on the same day, get in touch with the second training provider to ask if your interview can be rearranged.
  • If they can't rearrange it, you might have to choose which interview to attend.
  • If you’re unable to attend an interview, or change your mind about attending, you MUST inform the training provider, and give them the reason why. If you don't, your application may be rejected. They will offer you an alternative interview date where possible.
  • You should be given all the information you need about your training provider’s interview process – for example, if it’s a two-stage process. This should be on their website.
  • Your training provider should give you any preparatory work that needs to be completed in good time.
  • If you decide you would not like to attend the interview, and would like to withdraw that particular choice from your application, here is a step-by-step guide to help you.
  • If you decide not to take up a place, you may want to give the training provider feedback about your decision. Training providers should make it clear how you can provide feedback.
Check with your training provider if you'll need to have passed your professional skills tests before the interview. If you haven't yet, any offers will be conditional on you doing so before you start the training programme. The Department for Education has recently announced changes to the professional skills tests – find out what these mean for you.

What qualities are training providers looking for?

Training providers will be on the lookout for a wide range of qualities which would make you a good teacher. Here are some of them:

  • Passion – show you care about teaching.
  • Confident with and respectful towards children.
  • Professionalism – in both your mindset and the way you conduct yourself.
  • Personality – this can easily be reflected in how you present yourself, so dress smartly!
  • Energy – enthusiasm is infectious!
  • Resilience – being a teacher can be tough, so you'll need to show you're up to the task.
  • Understanding of the commitments for teaching – even the most prepared interviewees can be nervous about some things. It'll be ok as long as you demonstrate how you can overcome these in order to succeed.

What skills are training providers looking for?

At your interview, training providers will be looking for evidence of relevant skills a teacher must possess, including:

  • good reflective abilities – if you're asked to do a presentation, training providers often look for your ability to reflect on your own performance
  • ability to scale information to present to a range of audiences
  • literacy and numeracy – some providers may carry out English and maths tests as part of the interview process
  • subject knowledge – some providers may ask you to complete a subject knowledge enhancement course as a condition of their offer.

What questions could they ask?

  • They could ask you to demonstrate an understanding of what helps children to learn.
  • Why have you picked a school-based/university-based route?
  • What have you learnt from your experience in schools?
  • They could also ask you about your understanding of the subject you will be expected to teach – it's a good idea to look at the national curriculum before your interview.

The process is a supportive one – we are trying to find a good fit for us as the trainer, and you equally want to feel that you can work with us.
David Douglass, Director of Sacred Heart Newcastle SCITT


Where can you find out more?

  • David Douglass, Director of Sacred Heart Newcastle SCITT, shares his top tips for teacher training interviews on the UCAS Teacher Training blog.
  • You can find lots of information to help you prepare for you interview on the Get Into Teaching website.
  • Training providers will often have specific information about their interview process on their website.

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