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Your Career• 3 Min read

5th December 2019

Answering Deputy Head Interview Questions

Being interviewed for a new teaching position is an intimidating prospect for everyone, whether you’re an established teacher or an NQT looking for your first full-time teaching position, but interviews can be extra daunting when you’re going for a Deputy Head role. 

While nerves are to be expected, feeling as prepared as possible can help you put some of your anxieties to rest. Our expert education consultants have a whopping 300+ years of experience in the education sector between them, so we’ve gathered some of the most-asked Deputy Head interview questions for you.

These questions need to be unique to your teaching style and school, so while we can offer advice, your best strategy when preparing for your interview questions is to practice them – with a friend or family member – so that you know how you want to sell your self, and what your strengths are. (This will come in handy for any questions they throw at you!)

Commonly asked interview questions for deputy and assistant head teacher roles

  1. How will you establish yourself as Deputy Head in your first term in post?
  2. Which aspects of the role will be your strength, and which do you think will be more challenging?
  3. Can you provide an example of a time you have facilitated change?
  4. What is your vision for the school?
  5. Please provide an example of how you have helped a colleague with their teaching?
  6. Based on your knowledge of the school, what are the key areas for development?
  7. How would you deal with a member of staff who was resistant to change?
  8. How would you describe your management style?
  9. What decisions do you find difficult?
  10. What do you think is the ideal management team within a school?

How to answer deputy head interview questions

Some tips to help you to answer deputy head interview questions:

  • Try to tie-in examples of relevant skills when you can. The interviewer will have a checklist of skills and experience that they will be looking for. Cover any skills that you have seen mentioned in the job description with real-life examples.
  • If you are unsure of what is being asked, ask for clarity. This can also help to give you more time to compile your answer. To be certain that you have now understood correctly, you can rephrase the question back to the interviewer before replying. 
  • Make sure that you make eye contact with the interviewer, sit upright but keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid touching your neck or face (which can give the impression that you are uninterested).
  • Consider the ‘S-T-A-R’ method of answering interview questions. This will help you to structure your answers to prevent you from going off track. The STAR method is as follows: Situation (your previous experience), Task (explain the task and goal), Action (the steps you took to achieve the goal), Result (how you achieved the objective).

To help guide you, here are some common deputy head interview questions and example answers:

Question: ‘Where do you see yourself in this school in five years?’

An interviewer will be asking this to try to see whether you plan to stay at the school and invest in your career, as they invest in you. It also helps the interviewer to judge if the school can provide you with the opportunities to meet your career goals.

Answer: ‘In five years’ time, I’d like to be continuing to assist in providing direction and leadership for the school, enabling it to meet future goals and achieve even more.’ 

Question: ‘How do you ensure that your staff’s wellbeing is a priority?’

An interviewer will be asking this question to ensure that you will actively support the school’s staff. You can highlight the importance of staff wellbeing and include previous examples of relevant experience. 

Answer: ‘An increased level of staff wellbeing results in increased student wellbeing and academic performance. In my last position, I helped to encourage staff wellbeing by setting up a wellbeing team to organise regular events. I also allocated time within the weekly staff meeting to ask how staff were feeling and to praise individual members of staff for the successes of the week.’ 

Question: ‘Why are you interested in being this school’s deputy headteacher?’

The interviewer will want to see that you have done some research about the school and that you understand that you can add value to their school in particular. 

Answer: ‘I’m very interested in working here because I have spent a lot of time researching about schools in the area and your school stands out. As I live locally, I have been able to talk to parents with children at the school and they have told me all about certain teachers here who have really inspired and helped their children. I am also very impressed by the admirable reputation you have for SEND provision. It is important for me to work at an inclusive school with strong core values of [refer to the specific values on the school website]. I would be immensely proud to work here’.

Moving on up

If you’ve mastered the questions above, here are two things you can do to take your teaching career to the next level: 

  1. Register with Engage today to connect with your own personal Engage consultant, who will work tirelessly to find you your dream teaching job at any level.
  2. Subscribe to receive updates from the Reading Corner. We have over 500 informative articles and blog posts, and will email you with competitions, prizes, industry news and free resources to help you at every step of your career.

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