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A* Star Teachers understands its duty to keep children safe from harm.

We therefore take carrying out safer recruitment practices very seriously in addition to our comprehensive safeguarding process outlined in our “Safeguarding Guarantee”
We ask additional follow up questions /actions at interview
  • Ascertaining the status of the referee if it is unclear on application / reference form or if there is no reference from previous employer an explanation will be sought.
  • Exploring any gaps in employment history.
  • If references are not available at the time of the interview you will be asked if there is anything you wish to declare prior to information being sort from referees.
  • If there are any concerns or discrepancies arising from information provided by you (application form, CV, references, answers to questions)
  • You will also be asked if there is anything they would like to declare in the light of the requirement of the enhanced DBS disclosure.

We also ask questions regarding “Safeguarding” – see sample below

Sample Safeguarding Interview Questions: (Many schools will have similar questions as the sample below – taken from across the UK)

Knowledge of policy and procedure questions:

  • What have you done in the last twelve months to improve safeguarding of children in the workplace?
  • Describe to us the key aspects of the safeguarding policy in your workplace
  • Give me an example of when you have had a safeguarding concern about a child. What happened?
  • Tell us about a time when you have had to challenge the views of someone more senior than yourself in relation to safeguarding concerns.  What was the outcome?

Values and ethics questions:

  • How do you feel when someone holds an opinion that differs from your own? How do you behave in that situation?
  • What are your attitudes to child protection? How have these developed over time?
  • What are your feelings about children who make allegations against staff?
  • Have you ever had concerns about a colleague with regards to his or her behaviour or attitude towards the children in his or her care? How did you deal with this?

Emotional maturity and resilience questions:

  • Tell us about a person with whom you have had particular difficulty in dealing.  What made it difficult?  How did you manage the situation?
  • Tell us about a time when you have been working with children and your authority was seriously challenged.  How did you react?  What strategies did you employ to bring things back on course?  With hindsight, how might you have improved your response?

Motivation for working with children questions:

  • What do you feel are the main reasons that have led you to want to work with children?
  • What has working with young people/children taught you about yourself?
  • Not only when asking questions about safeguarding, but throughout the interview process, interviewers should be attuned to answers that are vague or unrealistic.  In particular, interviewers should look out for answers that show no or little understanding or appreciation of children's needs or expectations; that fail to recognise the particular vulnerabilities of children from troubled backgrounds; inappropriate language about children; unclear boundaries with children; and answers that imply adults and children are equal.   It can be particularly difficult for an inexperienced staff member to maintain proper boundaries where the age differential between staff and service user is small, for example, as a worker with young people, or a young NQT working with sixth-formers.  It may be worth designing a question around this issue if it is relevant for your setting

Additional example questions

  • Tell us about a time when you took action to help protect a child. 
  • Describe the procedures that need to be in place to protect children. 
  • How in your work or life so far have you tried to ensure that children are protected?
  • Give me an example of when you had safeguarding concerns over a child.
  • Give me an example of where you had to deal with bullying behaviour.
  • Give me an example of how you have managed poor pupil behaviour.
  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to control a child’s behaviour?
  • What do you think makes a school safe and supportive?
  • He you ever felt uncomfortable about a colleague's behaviour towards children in a previous job? What were your concerns, what did you do and how was the issue resolved
  • Safeguarding children is an important part of our work. Can you give me same examples of how you would contribute to making the organisation a safer environment for children?
  • Tell me about a time when a child or young person behaved in a way that caused you concern. How did you deal with that? Who else did you involve?
  • Why do you want to work with children? What do you think you have to offer? Give an example of how children have benefited from contact with you.
  • Bullying is often a serious issue that has to be dealt with in all areas of work with children. In your experience what is the best way to deal with it? How did your previous organisation tackle the problem?
  • What is your favourite teaching method and why did you choose it?
  • What do you do to ensure that every child in your class reaches their potential?
  • What is your opinion on doing yearly safeguarding children training?
  • ive an example of how children have benefited from contact with you.
  • Bullying is often a serious issue that has to be dealt with in all areas of work with children. In your experience what is the best way to deal with it? How did your previous organisation tackle the problem?
  • What is your favourite teaching method and why did you choose it?
  • What do you do to ensure that every child in your class reaches their potential?
  • What is your opinion on doing yearly safeguarding children training?

Candidates should understand

These interview questions will arise in every interview for a job that involves children, young people, and vulnerable adults.

  • Whatever post you are going for in a school, understanding of the principles and practices of Safeguarding and Child Protection will be very important.  Not just for the interview, of course, but for a job in a school too, so that you can keep the pupils safe. 
  • The interview panel will ask you at least one question about Safeguarding or Child Protection.
  • The challenge, however, is that the words Safeguarding or Child Protection may not actually appear in their question, so you have to be alert for the topic.
  • It is absolutely essential that you are prepared for this, so here are some questions and some pointers, but NOT answers - you must develop these yourself from your own understanding of the issues. 

Preparation

  • Prepare by reading again any Safeguarding and Child Protection policies there are in your school, the school you are applying to work at (look at their website), or failing these two, the policies from any school.  
  • Tip: Remember in your answer to mention (a) the Designated Persons (there should normally be two, in case the complaint is made against the colleague who is a Designated Person), and (b) consulting the school’s own policy.
  • Sometimes these questions are impossible to answer apart from: I have never been in that situation, but if I were I would ....  They are designed for wider employment than just as a teacher in schools. They do, however, give you a general feel of what you might need to recognise as a Safeguarding or Child Protection question.

Useful Links 

These Potential Areas of Concern
N.B. During selection activities interviewers may hear things that cause concern and would then need to explore further with the candidate.

These may include:

  • Lack or no understanding or appreciation of children's needs or expectations
  • They appear to want the role in order to meet their own needs rather than the needs of children
  • Using inappropriate language when talking about children
  • Vagueness about experiences and/or gaps on the application form or unable to provide examples to support their answers
  • A maverick - unwilling to follow rules, procedures or work with others