Your views on current educational issues are an important element of your teaching/NQT/teacher training interview

It's not possible to predict all future educational issues or know all of the answers but some preparation and research can help you go a long way.

Why you need to be aware of educational issues

Recruiters are trying to find out how much you're engaging with current educational issues and are aware of the challenges that these place on a school. Your answers can reveal if you are genuinely interested in education, schools and the world of teaching.

You should do some research to find studies or statistics to back up any ideas you have. Download a news app and get into the habit of checking the education section regularly. It will look a lot more impressive if you have some recent evidence you can refer to.

You don't need to know everything about all the issues as there are far too many. Aim to be knowledgeable in about three issues, particularly those which relate to your curriculum area or age phase.

Examples of current educational issues

Government policies and spending

  • What impact will Brexit have on the education system and the recruitment of teachers?
  • How is the government responding to the increase in pupil numbers? How does that impact teacher recruitment and over capacity of secondary schools?
  • What do budget cuts mean for pupils and teachers?

Technology and education

For example the digital divide, should classroom connectivity be a right for every child? Do some research and have some arguments prepared for and against trends such as e-assessment, learning analytics, game and video based education and blended learning.

Assessment and attainment

  • What's the impact of the new GCSE gradings?
  • How accurate are the SATs results for primary schools?

Other issues you should know about include the nature of the exam system and global trends in attainment.

School reform

  • What are your views on all schools becoming academies?
  • How successful are Free Schools?

Related issues you may be asked about include:

  • the curriculum - what is it and how do we teach it
  • class sizes
  • school funding reform.

Health and child development

  • How can we support pupils to have better mental health?

Education and the curriculum

  • How important are arts and drama education in secondary schools?
  • How much early years education should be provided for free?
  • What are your views on the flipped classroom?
  • Inclusion, has this been impacted by Brexit and how does this impact citizenship education and exploring British values?
  • What is your approach to mainstream education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students?

How to find the latest issues in education

When you're researching facts to back up your answers make sure you go to reliable sources. Clearly not everything printed online is true so good evidence, such as government statistics, is vital.

Discussing educational issues in your teaching interview

You may have a question around recent education trends, current issues, or new methodologies in education. In your PGCE interview you may be asked to create a presentation on current issues in education or asked a question around current educational issues in schools and in the media. Relate your answers back to the classroom, start with, 'when I was in the classroom I noticed…' or 'in the staffroom I heard teachers talk about...'. Take a look at what other interview questions you may be asked.

If you aren't asked about issues in education, it's still a good idea to refer to a current topic, if it's relevant, in your group interview or at some time in the recruitment process.

When you're in a teaching or NQT interview, the questions are generally more specific. There may be a question around your subject or age phase such as 'What are the important developments in science education?' Heads and governors will be looking for references to current educational issues and how these relate to their school, for example, if in a secondary teaching interview you were asked 'How would you support weaker pupils in your classroom' you could refer to scaffolding techniques or chunking as a part of your answer.

Be sure your answers are natural, not contrived and relate to the school or organisation who is interviewing you. It's worth finding out as much about the school as possible through your pre visit, the website, prospectus, Ofsted report and school development plan. Then talk about solutions to some of the current challenges the school is facing, from your own knowledge and with examples of other practice you have seen.

It helps if you get used to talking about issues in education with stakeholders, pupils, teachers, governors and parents, that way you will have a more informed knowledge of the topic.

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