The University of Southampton

What is the interview process?

Before the interview

All candidates are advised to spend some time before the interview observing Computer Science and IT classes, reading National Curriculum documents/textbooks and talking to IT/ICT/CS teachers so that you can, with confidence, talk about what teaching IT/ICT/CS is like. Usually, applicants spend 2 or more days in secondary schools observing and talking with teachers and learners.

You must be convincing of your informed desire to become a CS&IT teacher. We regard this as especially important when someone is leaving another field of employment to train as a teacher. We can give you contact names of CS and IT teachers and subject leaders in Dorset, Poole, Bournemouth, Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

You will normally have an interview with two of the programme tutors. Sometimes, a school mentor may join the panel.

In addition to the interview itself, there are three exercises. These are described in the next paragraphs. Each exercise is self-contained. The first exercise is a survey of your CS&IT skills and knowledge. The second exercise is a presentation which you will give. The third exercise will be a written task, undertaken at the interview.

Exercise 1: Subject Knowledge Audit

This audit is a self-evaluation of your current subject knowledge and skills in CS&IT. Your responses should be truthful. The offer of a place is not solely dependent upon the outcome of this audit. It may help identify if you would benefit from attending the SKE course (see below). Regardless of your current level of competency, there is a range of facilities, activities, and mentors that will support you during the course. Complete the audit BEFORE attending the interview. The audit is available here.

Exercise 2: 5-minute Teaching Activity

The 5-minute activity is designed to help us judge your informed commitment to and experience of CS&IT in school. You will interact with the interviewers and the other candidates attending at the same time. Different subjects ask for different activities, so do not be surprised if other candidates do something different than you have been asked to do.

You are asked to teach those in the room something about computing, specifically using an unplugged activity.  Unplugged means without a computer.  You do not have to create it yourself.  You may choose an existing resource you have seen used in schools or found on the World Wide Web.  The best activities are those that involve everyone in the room, are a bit of fun, and that allow us to learn something.  Remember, to keep the objective quite small; you only have five minutes.  Do not overrun.  Further specific information will be provided with your interview invitation letter.

Exercise 3: Written Tasks at Interview

The first written task is designed to help us judge your competence and confidence in the use of the English language. You will be asked to write approximately 300 words in response to several questions. You will need to pay attention to your punctuation, spelling, grammar, and quality of presentation.

The second task is designed to help us judge your competence and confidence in logical thinking and reasoning. You will be asked to explain how you would carry out some tasks. You do not have to write an essay. You can use any method of annotation which you feel is appropriate, including diagrams, pseudocode, or programming language code. It is not expected that you will be able to fully answer every question. It is your approach to the problems that is important. Please bring a pen. Paper will be provided.

The interview

Bring to the interview the original certificates that show your O-level/GCSE/GCE results in English Language and Mathematics, together with a photocopy of these certificates to leave with your interviewer. If you have obtained your degree already, you should also bring with you your original degree certificate and a photocopy, which will also be left with the interviewer. We also require you to bring proof of identity, either one form of photo identity (e.g. your passport, driving licence with photo) or two documents that include your current address (e.g. utility bill, bank statement).  Please also bring photocopies of these documents.

Location and special arrangements – if there are special arrangements which you require at interview (e.g. interview on a ground floor, need for larger print on any materials distributed, etc.) then please inform the ITE office immediately –  The campus map is here.

Please read your interview invitation letter carefully. It may include additional information not covered on this page.

After the interview

If you are offered and accept a place on the PGCE CS&IT a number of additional ‘Requirements of Entry’ (in the form of pre-entry experiences) will be specified. You will set yourself targets to achieve that will strengthen your teaching potential, before starting the course. For example: read appropriate sections of the National Curriculum; read a GCSE level computing textbook; read a GCE level computing textbook; review the generic functions of a word processor, spreadsheet, database management program, web page editor, and a graphics program (including drawing, painting and charting); and use LOGO, Scratch, Kodu, Greenfoot or one of the many introductory programming languages used in schools.

By accepting a place on the course, you are acknowledging that you have good skills in all forms of office-type software (see above). You are also stating you have good capability in handling new software, being able to explore functions in a systematic as well as an imaginative way.

By accepting a place on the course, you understand that if you do not have good access to the Internet through a reliable computer at home, then more sessions will have to be undertaken in the university.