Teacher sitting at desk

Interview questions for overseas teachers


So you’ve made the decision to come to England to teach. To go on an amazing adventure, open yourself up to new experiences, new ways of teaching, new communities, pupils and colleagues. Firstly – a great decision! English schools truly value good overseas-trained teachers who are willing to learn and immerse themselves in schools here in the UK.

The team at Career Teachers has been helping overseas teachers relocate to England for over 15 years. Many of the teachers we support want to secure a teaching job before they head over and this means undertaking video interviews, but how should you prepare for this? Traditionally schools like to see teachers “teach”, so if you only have the chance of a video interview, how should you prepare and what sort of things should you know about the UK education system to make sure you nail the interview and get the job?

You don’t need to be an expert, but having an understanding will seriously impress!

Ofsted language

Once you come over to England to teach, ‘Ofsted’ is a word you will become very familiar with. Ofsted stands for the Office for Standards in Education and is an independent, non-ministerial government department reporting directly to Parliament. Ofsted is responsible for inspecting and regulating education and training for learners of all ages and for inspecting and regulating those services which care for children and young people.

Basically if you are employed in any capacity looking after children or young adults, you will be inspected by Ofsted. They set the expected standards and publish their results about all providers. This gives a good indication of a school or educational establishment. You can look at any school’s latest Ofsted report online, but bear in mind that if the report was done a few years ago the school may have changed – reports.ofsted.gov.uk

Ofsted uses a grading system for all aspects of its inspections:





If a school is good or outstanding it will be inspected every 5 years, although some outstanding schools will simply be risk assessed from this point on. Schools requiring improvement are monitored by Ofsted and will be fully re-inspected within 2 years. Inadequate schools will be ordered by the government to become part of an established academy for support in meeting expected standards.

As teaching and learning is assessed within the same 4 categories, you may well be asked a question by a head teacher using this language:

Give me an example of a ‘good ‘to ‘outstanding’ lesson you have taught

If I walked into your classroom and saw an outstanding lesson, what would I see?

Within the framework of teaching and learning there are a number of factors that would contribute to a lesson being ‘outstanding’.

When describing an outstanding lesson you have taught, focus on the progress that the pupils made and how you achieved it. Try to give evidence of how you developed pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills. You should also talk about how you assessed and recognised progress including pupil self-assessment opportunities. Explain how you adapted your lesson so that pupils of all levels made relevant progress according to their ability.

An outstanding lesson should also take into account the pupils’ wellbeing, attitude to learning and behaviour. Planning and subject knowledge should be in-depth.

For more ideas download ‘The perfect Ofsted lesson’ or have a look at the following videos: good to outstanding’ / outstanding teaching and learning.


What is a teacher’s responsibility in keeping children safe?

What would you do if a child disclosed ‘x’?

Safeguarding refers to the responsibility to safeguard pupils against the risk of harm. Over the past 15 years safeguarding has become increasingly understood and now policies and procedures are firmly embedded in all schools and with anyone who works in schools.

As someone about to begin teaching in England it is vitally important that you have read the most up to date legislation on safeguarding – Keeping Children Safe in Education. You need to understand the school’s individual policy and reporting procedures if you have concerns about a pupil or if they tell you something that raises concerns. If you are asked this question at interview, make sure that you reference both these things. Schools who are looking to employ you on a full-time basis will be required to provide you with training and Career Teachers can also offer basic safeguarding training. Schools and Head teachers will expect you to have a basic understanding of safeguarding during an interview.

Assessment SATS/GCSEs/A-Levels

Have a look at the relevant national assessments and exams that you will be involved in. There are similarities to other exam processes across the world so you can reference any previous experience you have had in other countries, but overall just make sure you know what they are talking about and be honest with your answers. They are not expecting you to know the full curriculum if you have never taught it!

Key stages

Similar to assessments, make sure you know what key stages are. Everyone in education talks in key stages and year groups – a quick and easy way to impress.


SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. All schools are required to follow the SEND Code of Practice, which focuses on ensuring appropriate provision and support is provided to pupils with special educational needs or disabilities. If have had experience with pupils who require additional support either within specialist or mainstream classrooms, talk about these experiences and the support you provided. If you are interested in teaching within an SEND specialist school, state your willingness to learn.

For more help with interviews, check out our general interview advice.

Our Career Teachers Overseas specialist team is here to help you. If you’d like more advice about getting a job in the UK as an overseas teacher, please contact us.

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