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Questions to expect at an interview for a teaching assistant post.

(18 Posts)
curlytoes Mon 31-Mar-14 21:09:36

I am very excited to have been invited for an interview for a teaching assistant post at school I'd love to work in. The trouble is that my brain is freezing up with nerves. Everytime I try to think about potential questions I find myself pacing about nervously eating biscuits!

The school have said that they are prepared to be flexible with which year group the TA would be in depending on who gets the job. It's a job in a primary school with a nursery.

My background is that I used to teach in Early Years but have been a stay at home mum since 2008.

Any ideas about what kind of questions to expect? Also what should I know about changes to The National Curriculum/ National Literacy & Numeracy Strategies? I'm a bit more clued up on changes to the EYFS. I've also heard the term 'personalised learning' being used and have looked into that as it wasn't a term I knew.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Mon 31-Mar-14 21:16:17

1. What is a TA's role in safeguarding?
2. How would you motivate children at risk of low achievement?
3. Give us an example of a situation in which you worked as part of a team?
4. How would you manage challenging behaviour?

Octopusinabunchofdaffodils Mon 31-Mar-14 21:17:07

You might well get asked to do a guided reading activity as well.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Mon 31-Mar-14 21:18:28

Try to mention Every Child Matters, impact on outcomes, your ability to build relationships with children, ability to identify gaps in learning and use initiative to plan and deliver intervention to close those gaps, positive attitude which helps motivate children....

curlytoes Mon 31-Mar-14 21:23:36

Thanks for the quick replies. Really helpful.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Mon 31-Mar-14 21:57:33

Good luck!

curlytoes Mon 31-Mar-14 22:05:00

Thank you. I used to feel so confident when I was teaching that I could bring an example to mind or roll out the appropriate buzzwords. Now I'm really worried that I'll get asked something and my mind will go blank.

hippo123 Mon 31-Mar-14 22:19:12

Safeguarding! What are the signs of potential abuse? What would you do about it?

Fuzzymum1 Mon 31-Mar-14 23:04:10

At my recent interview (for a TA1 role) I was asked what experience I had of working with children that would make me suitable for the role. If I had any experience of doing intervention strategies with children, what I would do if a parent or grandparent asked me how their child was doing if I met them in the supermarket and how I would deal with a child who was being disruptive during whole group teaching.

I talked about any voluntary things I had done and previous working experience. I talked about a reading recovery scheme I had been trained in and enthused about how helping children to read was something I am passionate about etc. The supermarket question I said something like "I would explain that school policy doesn't allow me to discuss it and suggest they spoke to the child's teacher if they had any questions". For the disruptive child I said that I would use the child's name to get their attention then give a positive instruction such as "Cross your legs and put your hands in your lap". If that didn't work then I would ask them to move and sit near me. If they were still disruptive I would expect that the teacher or senior TA (whoever was doing the whole group teaching) would step in and discipline further.

I was advised to try and mention policies at some point, confidentiality is a big thing to show you are aware of as well.

Just remember that they're not there to catch you out, they genuinely want to know what you think/know.

Hope that helps.

RussianBlu Mon 31-Mar-14 23:32:45

Do you know how to do a long observation and next steps? not a question they are likely to ask but I'm asking if you know about them.

I imagine they will ask why you want to work at the school, safeguarding , like someone else said, what do you do if approached by a parent about their child in the street and so on. maybe how you keep yourself informed of education matters, which age group you would like to work with and why.

curlytoes Tue 01-Apr-14 10:32:08

Thanks Fuzzy. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. I hope you got your job. Can you tell me a little bit about how your reading recovery scheme worked? I've used Read, Write Inc before but any other info would be really helpful.

Russian - I've done lots of observations in Foundation Stage. I'd generally try and do a planned observation of every child each half term which involved stalking the child for a session and making notes. Is this what you'd call a long observation? I also did lots of incidental observations on post it notes as well as annotated photos. I also did planned assessments. All the info went into the child's learning journal and informed my planning. I'm not sure if this would be relevant to KS1 and KS2.

Fuzzymum1 Tue 01-Apr-14 14:04:10

The reading recovery thing is called the better reading partnership. It's an intensive course of three 15 minute sessions per week for ten weeks of very specific intervention.

Fuzzymum1 Tue 01-Apr-14 14:05:10

oh and yes, I did get the job smile thanks.

Lesleythegiraffe Tue 01-Apr-14 14:10:20

Sorry to appear dense as we don't have TAs here, but if you are a teacher, why are you going for a TAs job rather than a teaching job?

TeenAndTween Tue 01-Apr-14 14:29:53

I am not a teacher, or a school governor or anything.


If I were interviewing an ex teacher wanting a TA job I would ask

- how do you think you are going to cope taking instructions from a teacher?
- what would you do if you thought the teacher wasn't teaching well, or was managing the classroom poorly?

curlytoes Tue 01-Apr-14 15:18:59

Thanks Lesley and Teen. I think there are two reasons why I'm looking for a TA post. The main reason is that while I love working in school I still want time to focus on my own family. The last time I was teaching it took over my life! I worked every evening in term time and some of every weekend and yet I always felt that I should do more. I'm not ready for that again yet. The other reason is that I do feel rusty and would appreciate the support of working under a teacher.

I guess that also answers the question about how I would feel taking instructions. I think I'll be fine with that. I'm already volunteering in school and enjoying my role as mum-helper. I would hate to stand by and see things done badly though. However that's why I am so keen to work at this particular school. The teachers are awesome and I could learn loads. It would be a privilege to work there in any role.

curlytoes Tue 01-Apr-14 15:20:14

smile Fuzzy

RussianBlu Tue 01-Apr-14 23:37:36


The long obs is pretty much as you said. You follow the child for 15 to 20 mins ish and write down everything as it happens then you will write a couple of next steps and maybe tick some boxes depending on your pro forma. I agree that it probably would be useless knowledge is KS1 and above though!

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