Keeping up to date with current educational issues is an important factor in making a good first impression at your teaching, NQT or teacher training interview
It's not possible to predict all future educational issues, or know every detail of the sector's current situation, but in the process of applying for teacher training some preparation and research will go a long way in demonstrating your enthusiasm and impressing potential employers.
Why you need to be aware of educational issues
Recruiters are looking to see how much you're engaging with current 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.
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. Having some recent evidence you can refer to in your interview will impress your interviewer.
You don't need to know everything, as there are far too many issues to discuss at length in such a short space of time. Aim to be knowledgeable in three areas, particularly those which relate to your curriculum area or age range.
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 increasing pupil numbers? How does this response impact teacher recruitment and overcapacity of secondary schools?
- What do budget cuts mean for pupils and teachers?
Technology and education
Should classroom connectivity be a right for every child? Do some research and have arguments prepared for and against trends such as e-assessment, learning analytics, game and video-based education and blended learning.
Assessment and attainment
- How has the new GCSE grading system impacted learning?
- How accurate are SATs results for primary schools? Is placing this level of pressure on children a viable way of testing intelligence?
You should also familiarise yourself with the nature of the exam system and global trends in attainment.
- What are your views on all schools becoming academies?
- How successful are Free Schools?
Related issues include:
- the curriculum - what is it and how do we teach it
- class sizes
- school funding reform.
Health and child development
- How can we better support pupils' 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?
- Has inclusion been impacted by Brexit? 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. Not everything printed online is true, so good evidence - such as government statistics - is vital.
- BBC - Education
- The Guardian - Education
- GOV.UK - Education, training and skills
- The Independent
- The Glossary of Education Reform
- UK Parliament
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 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 teaching interview questions you may be asked.
If you aren't asked about issues in education, it's still a good idea to refer to relevant topics 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 range, 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 the chunking method 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, its website, prospectus, Ofsted reports and school development plan. 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 to get used to talking about issues in education with stakeholders, pupils, teachers, governors and parents. If you do this, you'll have more informed thoughts and opinions and a broader knowledge of the topics.
Find out more
- Want to improve your knowledge? Do some volunteering in schools.
- Find out what life as a primary school teacher is really like, or see what it's like to be a secondary school teacher.