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Interview For A Reception Teaching Job


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Hello all,


I have been trying to make the leap from year one into reception. This is proving very difficult as I have no direct experience of it (and never will have any if someone doesn't give me a chance!) At last though I have secured an interview. The problem is that although I feel I have a lot of knowledge about the EYFS I fear there are probably huge gaps which will show up at interview. What sort of questions would you expect to be asked for a reception teaching job? Are there any pressing issues I should be aware of that they may want me to talk about?


Any help would be much appreciated as I desperately want a reception job!

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Hi Kariana,

The topics that spring immediately to mind are:

* Settling in: how would you help a child to settle, how would you use your TA to support this, how would you go about building and maintaining relationships with parents?

* How would observation, assessment and planning work for you? What differences would you experience from Y1 ?

* What is your view on child-initiated/adult-led activities?

*What curriculum strengths do you have that would benefit your work in the early years? Communication perhaps? Or creative?

* Positive behaviour management: how would you develop this with reception children, some of whom will be only just 4 years of age?


I'm sure others will be along with some more ideas soon :o

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Thanks Helen! That's very helpful.


I hope there are some more ideas out there too. I've always had very generic questions to answer when I've been for year one interviews (ie. they ask the same set of questions of everyone and the focus tends to be the same) I'd really appreciate more ideas about reception questions!

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Hi Kariana, well done on getting the interview.

Great ideas from Helen, any or all of those could come up.


You will probably find that the questions will be the same for all candidates, certainly we always asked the same questions.


You could be asked on any of these too:


  • something on safeguarding
  • something that is key to the job spec eg if the post specifies a particular interest or expertise would be advantageous
  • something around your views on play and/or the role of the adult in play.
  • any experience you can bring of supporting children with additional needs
  • any experience you can bring supporting parents
  • something on phonics or teaching writing
  • biggie...what do you know about the EYFSP


Good luck with it, Im sure you'll let us know how it goes.

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Thanks Mundia, I'll definitely be thinking about answers to all those as well as Helen's.


What I'm worried about is that there is so much documentation and different things to think about that I might get mixed up. I still can't get my head around how the ELGs fit in with reception work. Are they what should go on your planning? I know you observe as evidence for profile points but where do the early learning goals fit into observations? Or should observations/next steps be in relation to the ELGs? Also I have trouble locating the actual foundation stage curriculum. Typing it into google brings up a whole lot of different documents and I'm not sure which is the actual one I'm supposed to get objectives from. Does anyone have a definitive link to the curriculum document? Panicking slightly now!

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Hi Kariana,

Try to keep in mind that the ELGs are what we hope children will attain at the end of their reception year, so you don't need to plan for them at this stage, for all aspects for all areas of learning. Familiarise yourself with the development matters statements for 40-60months. They will help you when identifying learning intentions, particularly for this term, when most of your children will still be only just 4.


I'm not a reception teacher, though, and I'm prepared to be corrected by those who are :o

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I think the hard thing is that every setting is different and depends how it is run and the views of the head etc.

Have you got a job spec from them or any further details? Always read the ofsted but keep an open mind as we all know how misleading these can be. Also check out the website!


I would like to assume that they would ask you about play and how you view it. I think it is important to remember this - chn do not distinguish between what is work and what is play and as practitioners and parents neither should we. Play is vital in the foundation stage and it is how chn develop. As I work we have 80% child initiate play and 20% adult directed/focus.


I plan using the months and elgs but I assess using elgs. I grade my post-it obs by writing the elg/s that is is supporting.


I also think you may be asked about outside area but again this depends on the setting - is it developed/does it need developing?


In my experience part of the interview is also you checking them out and whether it is a place you want to work in, and do not be afraid to show your personality in the interview. They want to get to know you!!


I am also sure that phonics will come up!!


Sorry its all a bit random as I thought of things!!


Good luck

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