5 things to do on a pre-interview school visit

As schools start to advertise positions for the new academic year, you may be unsure whether or not to apply. It is always recommended that you visit a school before applying for a role there.

Why should you visit the schools before applying?

This is the best way to get a feel for the place. It gives you a good, educated first impression of the school before you decided whether or not the school is one you can see yourself working in. You can see and speak to the staff, see their interactions, find out how the school day goes, and get information that you couldn't find out on their website.

Advice for teacher pre-interview school visits



1. Dress to impress


Looking professional isn't just to make a good first impression. I often chuck on a blazer or suit on those days I want to feel more confident than I felt at 7am. You should let your personality shine through a bit too - if you normally wear bright colours or patterns, why not? Just DON'T wear anything brand new! You want to be comfortable enough that you aren't limping around in those shiny, blister-inducing shoes or fretting about how short your skirt is when you're sitting down.

2. Smile, relax and comment on things you like about the school

Compliment displays and teaching approaches you are interested in. Usually, these visits are scheduled so a few potential applicants go around together. You want to be noticed and memorable for the right reasons. Don't be the person selling themselves the whole time and talking over the staff showing you around. Listen to them and comment when it feels natural to. Also mention equipment and methods you've either used before or are interested in learning about - "I use Numicon in my current year 1 class as well."

3. Ask questions

Ask useful questions that you may still have after looking at their website (mention you wondered this after looking at the website). Listen carefully when being shown around to make sure your question hasn't already been answered. You may be interested in the staffing structure, daily structure for that key stage, support for SEN or EAL pupils. If it comes up in conversation during the visit, ask then. If not, there should be a chance at the end of the tour where you can ask questions.

4. Answer your own questions about the school 

Go to the school with a list of questions in your mind to find out.

  • Who greeted you at the beginning? Were they friendly and approachable?
  • Do the staff and children seem happy?
  • Is there evidence of engaging, interactive lessons either taking place or on display?
  • Are there extra-curricular activities on at lunch or after-school?
  • What can I contribute to the school that they might not already have/want to improve?

5. Take notes 

Maybe not during the actual walk around, but once you're back in your car. Write things you liked about the school or now know they are looking for (thanks to that conversation you were apart). This will be very helpful when writing your personal statement or a section of the application on why you are applying to that particular school. Mention that, "Whilst looking around the school, I...."

Good luck with finding your perfect school! Just because you visited the school, doesn't mean you have to apply! Stick to your gut. If it doesn't feel like the right fit, don't waste your time applying.

Check out my TES shop for great lesson plans, ActivInspire flip charts, and worksheets.


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