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My background is in nursing and healthcare, 14 years in NHS, 8 as a staff nurse. I left nursing after my second child due to lack of flexible working and family friendly hours. I have mainly been a SAHM for the last 2 years but doing some flexi admin type work for a wealth management company. Both children (6&4) are now at full time school so I have been looking to return to work. OH runs his own business and is currently working long hours (current financial climate makes this necessary), so I will still be the primary carer for my children.
Teaching assistant posts are something I've been researching for the past couple of months, but as they tend to be LA or individual school set positions round my area it was quite hard to find what qualifications they are looking for. Anyway I found a secondary school in my area already has a couple of vacancies and potentially another 2 or 3 coming up so I've applied.
In the application I have been honest in my complete lack of experience of working with secondary aged children, but have drawn on what I feel are valid parallels between nursing and teaching i.e. putting patient/student at the core of your practice, encouraging independence, creating and implementing care plans tailored to the individual, regular observation to document progress in order to update plans, amongst many others. I have also highlighted what I perceive to be barriers to learning again from drawing parallels to healthcare and barriers to people accessing healthcare for example poverty, learning disability, mental health, alcohol/drug abuse themselves or within the family, caring for family members etc.
Background mostly done, thanks for bearing with me.
So handed in application form 8th of March, got a call on 11th of March from the school to go in today for an informal chat and to be shown round the school. I think it went ok, the deputy head and a support co-ordinator were there (deputy head left after 15 minutes). They asked what areas I felt I could offer support in and really liked the fact I said sciences, primarily biology, then chemistry and if needed I could polish up for physics. Their actual words were "that would be very good for us and the school". They then asked if I would be willing to maybe come in for a couple of sessions with the head of science and see what his classes are like. They also asked if I would be interested in an interview, I said yes to both. I then toured the school.
During the tour I made general observations about the facilities, displays etc, but didn't ask any specific questions as I couldn't think of any. You don't know what you don't know iyswim. At the end when I was leaving they asked if I had any questions, I hadn't, they then said if I did have any to just give them a ring.
I know as much as I can about the job from the job description on the application and the deputy head was very forthcoming about the pupils attending the school. There are several with challenging behaviour and the school has higher incidence of children on the SEN register than other schools in the borough, I did question this asking whether the school was a specialist school for SEN or was it demographics and locality. But that was literally the only question I asked.
So for the help/advice, should I have had any questions about the school/job? What would anyone else be asking? If you were looking to employ, what would you liked to be asked. Any other advice please.
I think you did fantastically well to even get an interview (don't think you have teaching NVQ or equiv?). I know someone with 30 yrs nursing experience like yours so it will give her hope to read that, but she is finishing her NVQ now, too. Good luck, I'll see what those in know say about good questions to ask.