50* Not Out – Raising the bat and the bar

Interviewing for an initial teacher training (ITT) position is potentially a nerve-wracking experience for all. It can prove a challenging experience for career changers with established interview practices as well as applicants who are embarking on their first professional interview.

As part of our Covid-19 considerations, during the period of school closures we moved our established and rigorous procedures for recruitment1 from a face to face process to online. It certainly was a learning curve as we embedded effective practices for both interviewer and interviewee. To make the interview process as effective for applicants we:

  • pre-record a presentation on our course programme and provision for an ‘access all areas’ approach to put you at ease.
  • send out supportive pre-interview materials to applicants to aid in their preparation.
  • extended our interviews to one-hour slots to ensure candidates have the time to ask us questions and get to know us.
Art Teacher Training
Nationally, many providers are reporting increasing numbers in teacher training applications. We too are seeing this at the John Taylor SCITT. Over the period of school closures and into the new academic year, we have conducted over fifty remote interviews across the routes we offer into teacher training.

Naturally with a growing interest in teacher training the suitability of applicants can be increasingly scrutinised. Will ITT providers find themselves with higher expectations and subsequently raise the bar for the applicants they make offers to train to teach?

As an applicant, the interview process should be equally important for you to as certain the right provider for you. Below are our top tips to consider when interviewing remotely for a teacher training programme this year.

1 – Do your research:

Each provider will have specific intricacies of their course design. Engage with their websites and other accessible materials to enable you to really understand what the provider can offer for you. It can impress the interviewers when the applicant clearly knows what their course offers as it can show a genuine desire to train to teach with them.

2 – Be prepared:

Read through the pre-interview materials that providers send out to you. You must consider these as being part of the interview as the provider clearly sees the merit in asking you to engage with the tasks. Read all communication in-depth and be ready for the different elements of the interview.

3 – Be yourself:

Interviewing remotely can be quite restrictive. When the webcam is focussed on you it can be harder to utilise the non-verbal communication skills you may have. The interviewers will try to make you feel at ease as much as possible but you may wish to consider practicing your remote presence with a trusted friend or family member, before you undertake your remote interview, to give you feedback on if you were able to convey your strengths and personality.

4 – Ask questions:

Providers will build in time for you to ask questions at the end of the interview. Utilise this time to your advantage. If there are unique selling points about the course or specific elements that interested you during your research then ask the providers for further clarity if you wish to know more. They will be happy to answer the questions you have!

Make an informed choice:

Deciding on your initial teacher training provider is a big decision. You are ultimately handing the responsibility for your training and next steps in your career to this provider and you want to ensure that when you are at the decision-making point you are committed and won’t have any regrets. Feel empowered to ask any questions after the remote interview as providers will be happy to answer any questions you do have. Consider asking to speak to current or ex-trainees of the course to get a first-hand perspective on the course through the eyes of a trainee.

At the John Taylor SCITT we appreciate the situation of the individual when we receive applications to train to teach with us and strive to ensure all our interviews are conducted with warm and approachable staff, but underpinned by a desire to ascertain the individuals’ potential to train to teach with us.

As we move on towards our century of remote interviews we raise the bat to acknowledge the quality of our trainee teachers currently in their training year who were recruited through our online process and make no apology in raising the bar of our expectations for our future cohorts.

The vision of the John Taylor SCITT is to ensure that we can provide outstanding teachers to the local area and beyond that ultimately ensures the children of our schools continue to have the best provision available to set them on a strong path for their future.

Maths Teacher
Mike Simmons Secondary Programme Lead
Mike Simmons is the Deputy Director of the National Forest Teaching School, Secondary Programme lead for the John Taylor SCITT and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at John Taylor High School. Mike is an experienced Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) with extensive experience in supporting geography departments, working with teachers in the early stages of their career and writing about key geographical educational issues through his voluntary work with the Geographical Association. He is a keen advocate of learning outside of the classroom to ensure that students have the opportunity to reach their full potential and develop character and increased intrinsic motivation. Mike’s involvement with The Outward Bound Trust has culminated in national case studies and keynote speaker addresses at a range of events. Mike is an experience facilitator and is available for SLE deployments and bespoke training needs.
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