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Primary Education and PGCE interviews

If your application to study Primary Education or PGCE is accepted we will invite you for an interview. An offer to study with us will only be made after a successful interview.

Trainee teacher working with two secondary pupils

Primary Education

Go to: What to expect on the day  |  Interview preparation  |  What to bring  |  Tips and tricks

What to expect at the interview

You will move through 5 interview stations. Each station will:

  • Focus on a different aspect of being a student teacher.
  • Have a different interviewer.
  • Use a different interview approach (such as tasks or questions).

Interview preparation

When we invite you to interview, we will send you a 3 part presentation about our Primary Education course. We recommend watching this before you come to your interview. You will have the chance to ask questions about this presentation on the day.

You might want to think about the following before your interview:

  • Your recent experience of working with children, especially in primary schools.
  • What you know about being a primary school teacher.
  • What you want to tell us about yourself.

The interview will take place in a single room. We want your interview day to be professional, friendly, informative and fair. We hope it will be a positive experience and we look forward to meeting you.

We will provide refreshments on the day. There will also be a short presentation for any friends or family who have come with you.

What you need to bring

  • Certificates: All GCSEs, Level 3s (A levels, BTECs), degree certificates. If your grades are pending, you do not need to bring confirmation of what you are studying.
  • ID: You will need 3 items of ID to allow us to start your DBS and Medical Check. A passport, birth certificate or full driving licence will be sufficient for the first 2 documents. A bank statement, credit card statement or a P45/P60 will suffice for the third.

Top tips

  • Show us your passion and enthusiasm for working with children and helping them to learn.
  • Reflect on any experience you have in schools and use this in your answers.
  • Make sure your answers are full and detailed, not short single sentences.
  • Show what you have learnt about the job of teaching, what you have learnt about how children and teachers interact, and what you know about the rewards and challenges of the job.
  • Show us that you have a realistic view of teaching alongside your passion.

PGCE Primary (University Centred)

Go to: What to expect on the day  |  How we assess you

What to expect at the interview

Our PGCE interviews give academic staff chance to meet with applicants. This is so they can find out what made you apply for the course and discuss your application form in more detail.

It also gives you a chance to talk about yourself, and to show the practical and academic skills relevant to the course through a range of tasks.

We are looking for your:

  • Commitment to, experience and understanding of primary education.
  • Personal and intellectual qualities.
  • Ability to communicate well with adults and children in a school context.

These assessments are made through group and individual interviews. You will also be able to tour our campus on the day.

How we assess you

Group teaching task (40%)

As part of your interview day, you will do a short teaching task.

You will be placed in a small group of up to 6 applicants. You will be given 8 minutes, in which you have to teach the members of your group something new. It can be anything, and may be a skill or interest you already have. It is up to you to decide how and what to teach, but it should not be aimed at primary level teaching, as you will be teaching adults. Examples of a teaching task might be how to snorkel, how to play a card game, how to survive an overnight hike, or learning a new song.

The short amount of time will limit the nature of the task. You may bring simple resources to help you, but these may not be needed in many circumstances. There will be some floor space, tables and chairs, and the task will take place in a general teaching room. You will not be able to use PowerPoint presentations. During the task, an interviewer will assess your personal attributes, and your potential to succeed on the course.

Interviewers will consider your:

  • Presence, personality and aptitude for teaching
  • Creativity of ideas and approach
  • Communication skills
  • Effectiveness and ability to engage the group
  • Timing and structure

Group teaching task assessment criteria (40 marks)

Score: 9-10 (Excellent)
  • Varied intonation and excellent projection.
  • Highly effective interaction between candidate and learners.
  • Candidate channels enthusiasm towards learners and learning in highly effective manner.
Score: 7-8 (Good)
  • Good use of voice to engage learners.
  • Good level of interaction between candidate and learners.
  • Candidate shows enthusiasm.
Score 5-6 (Satisfactory)
  • Some use of voice as means to engage learners.
  • Some useful interaction between candidate and learners.
  • Candidate shows limited enthusiasm.
Score 0-4 (Poor)
  • Use of voice is unlikely to engage learners.
  • Little or no effective interaction between candidate and learners.
  • Candidate shows no enthusiasm.
Score: 9-10 (Excellent)
  • Highly interesting, stimulating, and appropriate content.
  • Preparation effective and shows attention to detail.
  • Lesson has engaging start and uses variety of teaching methods very effectively.
  • High level of understanding of how to match tasks to needs of learners.
Score: 7-8 (Good)
  • Interesting and appropriate content.
  • Evidence of effective preparation.
  • Lesson has clear start and variety of teaching methods.
  • Tasks engage learners and support learning.
Score 5-6 (Satisfactory)
  • Some aspects of content made interesting.
  • Limited preparation demonstrated.
  • Lesson uses limited range of teaching methods.
  • Tasks have some potential to engage learners.
Score 0-4 (Poor)
  • Content not made interesting.
  • Little or no preparation.
  • No variation in teaching methods.
  • Tasks do not engage learners or support learning.
Score: 9-10 (Excellent)
  • Verbal communication is very clear, articulate, well-paced and confident with articulate use of standard English.
  • Learners understand what they are learning and what they are expected to do.
  • Clear and accurate explanations given.
  • Learners are clearly aware of what they are learning and how to achieve success. 
  • Questioning, as appropriate, promotes thinking and engages learners.
Score: 7-8 (Good)
  • Verbal communication is clear, well-paced and quite confident in standard English.
  • Clear explanations given which enable learners to respond or carry out activities.
  • Questioning consolidates or extends learning.
Score 5-6 (Satisfactory)
  • Verbal communication is quite clear, there is some hesitancy or rushing, and some use of non-standard English.
  • Explanations given which enable learners to respond or carry out activities.
  • Questioning sometimes consolidates or extends learning.
Score 0-4 (Poor)
  • Verbal communication is unclear, lacks pace and confidence and has poor use of standard English.
  • Explanations not given or unclear.
  • Questioning, if used, does not consolidate or extend learning.
Score: 9-10 (Excellent)
  • Very effective structure and timing throughout to promote secure learning for all.
  • Pace matches content and learners' needs.
  • Very effective organisation of space and resources.
Score: 7-8 (Good)
  • Lesson is structured well with timing appropriate for learning to take place.
  • Space and resources well organised.
Score 5-6 (Satisfactory)
  • Structure and timing of lesson takes some account of learners' needs.
  • Some organisation of space and resources apparent.
Score 0-4 (Poor)
  • Limited or no structure or awareness of learners' needs.
  • Organisation of space and resources does not promote learning.

Writing task (20%)

You will be asked to provide a written response to an extract from an educational paper. The response should be no longer than 500 words and written on the day of interview. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your suitability for future master's level study and your potential to become a critically reflective practitioner.

You will be assessed on your:

  • Intellectual qualities and the level of perception and reflection demonstrated
  • Communication in writing and potential for master's level study
Writing task assessment criteria (16 marks)
Score: 8-10 (Excellent)
  • Writing offers structured criticality of the key points within the article.
  • Current reading is used to demonstrate contrast within the discussion.
  • Clear conclusions are drawn from critical reflection.
Score: 5-7 (Good)
  • Writing offers evidence of contrast or extends points.
  • Wider reading is used to substantiate points made but may be outdated.
  • Some critical analysis or evaluation of the article is present.
Score 4-6 (Satisfactory)
  • Core understanding of the article is demonstrated.
  • Writing demonstrates evidence of wider reading but this might not be explicitly referenced.
  • Some reflection is evident and conclusions are drawn.
Score 0-3 (Poor)
  • Writing demonstrates little structure.
  • Points are not clearly communicated.
  • Writing is descriptive and poorly summarises the article.
Score: 6 (Excellent)
  • Ability to write logically within given time scale, ideas brought to appropriate conclusion.
  • No errors of spelling, punctuation or grammar.
  • Use of paragraphs appropriate. Clearly articulated.
  • Very good potential for engagement with master's level study.
Score: 4-5 (Good)
  • Generally written logically within time scale.
  • No errors of spelling or grammar.
  • Generally clearly articulated.
  • Good potential for engagement with master's level study.
Score: 3-4 (Satisfactory)
  • Structure is not logical due to time limitation.
  • Minor errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Potential for master's level study, but may have difficulties and need additional support.
Score: 0-2 (Poor)
  • Writing is not relevant to the task. Unacceptable errors in writing.
  • Would be highly unlikely to cope with master's level study.

Individual interview (40%)

The interview is your chance to tell us about yourself. We want to get to know you better and find out more about the information on your application form.

Primary and Secondary (School Centred) PGCE

Go to: What to expect on the day

Interviews for the Primary and Secondary (School Centred) PGCE courses will be run by members of the our academic staff working with school-based staff.

Interviews take place in a school setting.

What to expect at the interview

At the interview you will need to show:

  • Your commitment to teaching.
  • Your capacity to learn from working with children and young people.
  • Your ability to communicate with others.
  • Your knowledge of current educational issues.
  • An appropriate level of skill in writing, to reflect the demands of the course.
  • Your experience of working in an appropriate setting. For example, voluntary or paid work as a teaching assistant or nursery nurse, or time spent in an education setting.