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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.

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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 etc), 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 learned 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 presentation assessment criteria: PGCE Group Tasks Criteria 2015 (DOCx, 18.5kB)

Group Discussion (20%)

You will be asked to discuss an educational article in small groups. I this discussion, you will reflect on the issues raised in the article linked here: PGCE Primary Interview Paper - Principles of Instruction (PDF, 0.8MB).

We will consider how you discuss the topic in an analytical and critical way. You may wish to prepare by reading further about the topic to discuss different perspectives on the issue. The interviewer may ask you questions to develop this further.

Assessment criteria: PGCE Presentation Criteria 2015 (DOCx, 14kB)

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.

Interview assessment criteria: PGCE Individual Interview Criteria 2015 (DOCx, 16kB)

Primary and Secondary (School Direct) PGCE

Go to: What to expect on the day

Interviews for the Primary and Secondary (School Direct) 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.

PGCE Secondary RE

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

What to expect at the interview

The interview will include:

  • Welcome and introductory briefing.
  • A tour of the school tour with pupils.
  • Teaching and learning activities with pupils.
  • An individual interview with members of staff.
  • A group task.
  • A literacy task.
  • A reflection activity.

How we assess you

The interview activities are designed to make sure we recruit students who have the potential to be outstanding teachers in the future.

We are looking for your:

  • Ability to interact and communicate with pupils and staff in a professional setting.
  • Personal and professional conduct.
  • Ability to plan, organise, deliver, and engage pupils in learning.
  • Subject knowledge, personal and intellectual qualities, and understanding of secondary education and current issues in this area.
  • Understanding of key issues such as behaviour management.
  • Quality of writing and ability to prioritise.
  • Ability to reflect and identify targets and strategies to prepare for the course.

Interview preparation

To prepare for your interview day, we ask that you complete the documents sent with your invite e­mail. You should bring these to the interview with you:

  • Prior achievement booklet
  • Initial subject knowledge audit

You should also come prepared to discuss how your subject area is taught as part of the curriculum.

As part of the interview day, you will deliver a short teaching and interaction activity to staff, the pupil panel and peers.

You will choose any aspect of your subject to teach a small group of pupils for 10 to 15 minutes.

We recommend you keep the following points in mind when preparing for this task:

  • Aim to use the full 10 to 15 minutes. You will be stopped if you exceed the time.
  • The pupil group will consist of 6 to 10 pupils (unless advised otherwise).
  • You are not limited in terms of topic or content.
  • You will be expected to engage and interact with pupils and show the ability to facilitate learning.
  • You will not have access to a computer or projection equipment but may bring other resources if you wish.

If you are successful at the interview and are offered a place, you will be invited to an afternoon at York St John for an induction session.

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