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15 Deputy Head Interview Questions

Deputy Head Interview Questions and Tips for Success in 2023

This article on Deputy Head Interview Questions has been written for aspiring Deputy Headteachers in the UK. These possible questions cover most of the key leadership areas. Often deputy head roles include a significant safeguarding or DSL role. Click the link for interview questions linked to keeping children safe in education 2023. There are suggested answers to the questions but these will have no personality so are just examples. Bring your own ideas to your answers.

15 Deputy Headteacher Interview Questions

What is one key strength you would bring to the leadership team at this school?
I have a proven track record of building effective curriculum teams. I motivate staff through supportive coaching, fostering collaboration, and recognising achievements. The impact of this at my current school is to improve the attainment of pupil premium children by 15%.

How would you go about improving teaching quality and raising academic standards at this school?
I would focus on evidence-based teaching strategies such as adaptive teaching, targeted professional development, peer observations, and consistent monitoring of student progress data. I would collaborate with staff to set ambitious yet realistic improvement goals. I always use a plan do review model for implementing change, we covered this in my NPQSL and I have found it to be an effective model.

How would you ensure effective safeguarding practices are in place at this school?
I would review all safeguarding policies and procedures, provide regular safeguarding training for staff, establish clear protocols for reporting concerns, and foster a vigilant culture of student safety and wellbeing. I would liaise closely with external agencies when necessary. See this post on 5 Interview questions for DSLs

What is your approach to performance management and how has this contributed to school improvement?
I set clear objectives aligned to the school’s priorities, providing support and stretch opportunities. Through regular reviews, I identify successes to celebrate and areas for development to maximise teacher effectiveness. This has improved teaching quality and student outcomes.

How would you go about managing change and getting staff buy-in for new initiatives?
After identifying an area amenable to change using the EEF guidance, I would consult staff and communicate the rationale for change. I would provide training and resources required for successful implementation. I would acknowledge concerns, provide support, and allow time for adaptation. I would highlight benefits and celebrate wins to maintain momentum. One example of a successful change process I have undertaken is…

How do you ensure the needs of all students are met, including SEND and EAL students?
I advocate inclusion for all. I would review provisions, identify gaps, allocate resources, provide staff training, assess student needs, adapt planning of teaching, and monitor progress data. I would also engage parents and external professionals when required.

What strategies would you use to promote high standards of student behavior and discipline?
I would establish a clear behaviour policies, model expectations, praise positive conduct, and build relationships with students. I would maintain visibility and fairness when following up on issues. I would engage parents and utilise data to identify patterns/triggers to guide interventions.

How would you go about building effective relationships with staff, students, and parents?
I am approachable, I actively listen to concerns, and communicate with transparency. I would celebrate successes, support development, and lead by example, fostering a collaborative culture focused on achieving the best outcomes for students.

How would you evaluate the impact of your leadership and hold yourself accountable for progress?
I would gather feedback from staff, students, and parents annually. I always monitor progress towards KPIs (Key performance indicators – used a lot in business but creeping into school leadership more and more) aligned to the school improvement plan through data analysis, staff/student surveys, and my own observations. I am reflective, responsive to feedback, and focused on continuous improvement.

What is your approach to leading and developing your SLT/Middle Leaders?
I identify strengths and development areas through regular one-to-ones. I would provide coaching and mentoring within areas of expertise. I would promote collaborative work and delegate responsibilities within a risk mitigation framework to broaden experience. I would motivate them to undertake further professional development such as the NPQSL.

How would you manage the school’s budget allocation efficiently?
I would evaluate previous spending, explore savings through economies of scale, and allocate departmental budgets according to school priorities outlined in the SIP to optimise student outcomes within budget constraints. I would monitor closely and make adjustments as required supporting the headteacher to ensure the curriculum is fully costed. I would also look at possible income generation potential of our resources like the sports hall.

How would you establish effective working relationships with the governing board?
I would meet link governors regularly to provide updates, seek input on strategy, and discuss progress on improvement plans. I would be transparent about challenges and successes, welcoming scrutiny and feedback. I would also highlight governor expertise that could support school priorities and invite governors to attend CPD opportunities.

How would you engage parents and the local community to improve perceptions of the school?
I would proactively communicate successes, invite parents in for activities, and survey views regularly. I would address concerns, publicise improvement plans, and participate in community events. I would also facilitate volunteer and partnership opportunities to benefit students.

How would you develop an inclusive school environment where all students feel safe, valued, and able to thrive?
I would model respect and high expectations for all. I would review policies, curriculum, and teaching practices to ensure cultural relevance and promote diversity. I would implement robust anti-bullying strategies and forums for student voice. I would also celebrate achievements to foster a positive school community.

Do you have any questions for us?

Are there any questions I can answer in more detail to demonstrate why I am an excellent candidate for this role?

Tips for a successful interview as a deputy head teacher

Prepare for a successful interview

  • Plan your answers based on the job description and person specifications
  • Gather evidence and examples that match the criteria
  • Be confident in your preparation and have lots of examples to use during the interview

Prepare examples and practice your answers

  • Prepare a list of examples on initiatives and your impact to take into the interview
  • Practice your answers by saying them out loud and recording yourself

Be prepared with questions for the end of the interview

  • Planning your questions shows confidence
  • Practice and plan your answers ahead of time
  • Bring a one-page summary of your career to the interview

Bringing notes into the interview

  • Taking notes in interviews is can be helpful
  • Think of them as prompts only
  • Write out a few points that you would be kicking yourself if you forgot to mention
  • Keep your notes concise and organised to easily reference them during the interview.
  • Use 1 side of A4 or a few index cards so you are not scrabbling through your notes

Improve your interview technique

  • Find out more about how to improve performance
  • Make a strong first impression
  • Show confidence and leadership skills

Prepare for Tasks in a Deputy Headteacher Interview


We hope this article on deputy head interview questions has given you some useful hints and tips. Here are 5 key takeaways.

  • Key areas covered in the interview questions: leadership, teaching quality, safeguarding, performance management, managing change, meeting student needs, behaviour, relationships, leadership impact, budgets, governance, community engagement, and inclusive environment.
  • Tips for a successful deputy headteacher interview: prepare based on the job description, gather evidence and examples, practice answers, prepare questions, and make a strong first impression.
  • Importance of bringing a one-page career summary and concise notes to the interview.
  • Interviewers will assess candidates’ abilities across a range of areas related to school leadership and management.
  • Thorough preparation and a professional, evidence-based approach are crucial for success in the deputy headteacher interview.
15 Deputy Head Interview Questions

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