Now that you have the offer of an interview at a school in Wales, there’s a lot that you can do to help prepare yourself to do well at interview. A lot of useful information on each and every school is available online.
My local school
If you do nothing else, you should visit My Local School, a website that has a great deal of data on every school in Wales. You can search for individual schools or search by school types or for schools by area. The data per school includes data on pupil numbers and characteristics, to school performance, attendance and data on staffing and finance.
Performance data is also set in context – for example, by comparing schools with similar levels of Free School Meals or by grouping schools into families where every school is believed to share a similar level of challenge.
As an applicant, this helps you in two important ways:
– It gives you a pretty good idea of what may be the priorities of the school; these might be raising performance, maintaining performance or improving the outcomes of relatively disadvantaged pupils.
– It gives you an opportunity to reflect on your experience and interests and to identify how these match with what you can see is the profile of the school.
School inspection reports
Apart from ‘My Local School’, there are other sources of useful information that you might want to visit.
Schools and other providers of learning in Wales are inspected by Estyn (not Ofsted). You can search for a school’s inspection report on Estyn’s website. You will need to check the date of the report; the report can be up to 6 years old, because of the inspection cycle.
The Welsh curriculum
The school curriculum in Wales is changing. The aim is that it will be available by September 2018, and used throughout Wales by 2021. You can find out more about this change, called Successful Futures, here.
Some schools in Wales have been recruited to work on this change to the curriculum. These schools are called Pioneers. You can find a full list of Pioneer schools here. As an applicant preparing for an interview at a Pioneer school, you may want to spend a little more time reading up on the new curriculum and prepare a question that you may ask at the interview that shows at least that you know that they are a Pioneer.
For secondary teachers…
For secondary school applicants, you will have an interest in the subject syllabus that may be in place. It is highly likely that the school, in all subjects, uses the examination board based in Wales – WJEC. In England, the WJEC trade as eduqas. You can visit the WJEC website here.
Congratulations on getting an interview. Now, just doing a little homework will set you up for success. And remember, turn up on time and at the right venue, with the documentation the school has requested!
About the author
Robin has been a school governor for over ten years and is bilingual, Welsh and English. Before becoming a consultant and working with a number of private and public sector educational organisations, Robin had stakeholder management roles in an examination board and was the Wales Secretary for ASCL, a body that represents over 16,000 senior school leaders.