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Preparing for an interview as a special educational needs (SEN) teacher is a crucial step towards securing your dream role in the field of special education. With the demand for skilled and dedicated professionals in SEN settings on the rise, it’s essential to approach the interview process with confidence and readiness.


If you are someone looking for an SEN teaching job, you will need to be prepared when invited to an interview. To help put you ahead of the competition, we’ll outline key strategies for effective interview preparation, common questions you may encounter during an SEN teacher interview, and tips for crafting compelling responses that highlight your qualifications, experiences, and passion for supporting students with diverse learning needs. 


Whether you’re a seasoned SEN teacher or embarking on a new career path in special education, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and skills to ace your next interview and land your next job! 

How to Prepare for Your SEN Teacher Interview


Research the school

Researching the school before attending your SEN teacher interview is crucial for several reasons. Understanding the school’s values and mission allows you to align your responses during the interview with the school’s culture, demonstrating your compatibility with its priorities. Researching the school also demonstrates your genuine interest in the position and your commitment to understanding its unique context and challenges.


There are several ways you can go about conducting your research on the school, including:


  • School website: Visit the school’s official website to gather information about its mission, values, educational goals, and special education programs. Look for sections such as “About Us,” “Our Vision,” “SEN Provision,” or “Inclusion” for relevant information. 
  • Ofsted reports: Access the school’s latest Ofsted inspection report to learn about its overall performance, strengths, areas for improvement, and provision for students with special educational needs. 
  • Social media and online reviews: Check the school’s social media profiles (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) for updates, events, and insights into its culture and community. Look for online reviews or testimonials from current or former staff members, parents, and students to gain additional perspectives on the school. 
  • Professional networks: Reach out to colleagues, mentors, or professionals in your network who may have knowledge or experience with the school. Connect with alumni or former employees who can provide insights into the school’s culture, teaching practices, and support systems. 
  • Attend open days or events: If possible, attend open days, recruitment events, or parent evenings hosted by the school to get a firsthand look at its facilities, meet staff members, and interact with students and parents 

Review the Job Description


Reviewing the job description when preparing for an SEN teacher interview is important as it provides detailed information about the responsibilities and expectations associated with the role. It gives you an understanding of what the position entails, allowing you to tailor your response during the interview. Be sure to highlight how your skills, experiences, and qualifications align with the needs of the role.


By aligning your responses with the requirements outlined in the job description, candidates can effectively demonstrate their fit for the role and the school culture. This will help increase your chances of being perceived as qualified and capable to meet the school’s needs.

Prepare Examples


Reflect on your past experiences and accomplishments as an SEN teacher and prepare specific examples and stories that demonstrate your skills and expertise. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to structure your examples, focusing on the outcomes and impact of your actions.


Start by describing the situation or context in which the example took place, providing background information to set the scene. Next, outline the task or challenge faced in that situation, highlighting the specific issue that needed to be addressed. Then, explain the action you took to address the task, detailing the steps you took and the strategies you employed to resolve the situation. Finally, discuss the result of your actions, emphasising the positive impact you had, and any lessons learned from the experience. 


By using the STAR method to structure your examples, you can ensure your responses are clear, concise, and focused. 

Highlight Your Strengths and Unique Selling Points


Identify your strengths, skills, and unique selling points as an SEN teacher, and be prepared to articulate them during the interview. Your strengths are qualities that set you apart and make you well-suited for the role of an SEN teacher.


Reflect on your experiences and skills that make you a successful SEN teacher. These may include qualities like patience, empathy and strong communication skills. Consider how your strengths align with the requirements of the role. When discussing your strengths, it can be a good idea to prepare specific examples of how you demonstrated these qualities in your career.


Don’t forget to mention your unique selling points. This may include your diverse background, relevant certifications, training or innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Also emphasise your passion and commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of students with special educational needs.


Try to be confident and enthusiastic when discussing your strengths during your interview.

Research Current SEN Trends and Best Practices


Stay informed about current trends, research, and best practices in the field of special education, including topics such as inclusive education, assistive technology, and evidence-based interventions. Be prepared to discuss how you stay up to date with developments in SEN and how you incorporate best practices into your teaching.


Teachers can stay up to date with current SEN trends and best practices in several ways, including:


  • Workshops and conferences: Teachers can attend workshops, seminars, conferences, and training sessions focused on special education and SEN-related topics. 
  • Education courses: Teachers can enrol in courses, online webinars, and professional development programs that cover topics related to SEN, inclusive education, behaviour management, assistive technology, and evidence-based interventions.   
  • Journals and publications: Teachers can subscribe to specialised journals, magazines, and publications focused on special education and SEN-related topics. These resources provide valuable insights into current research, best practices, innovative strategies, and case studies in the field. 
  • Follow key experts: Teachers can follow experts, thought leaders, and organisations in the field of special education on social media platforms, blogs, and professional websites. 

Prepare Questions for the Interviewer


Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about the school’s SEN programs, support resources, team dynamics, professional development opportunities, and any other relevant topics. Asking insightful questions demonstrates your interest in the role and your proactive approach to learning more about the school and its special education practices.


Here are some questions you can consider asking:

  • What support systems are in place for SEN teachers, such as aides or specialised staff?
  • Can you provide information about the types of special needs most commonly represented in your student population?
  • Are there regular meetings or communication protocols in place for discussing student progress with families?
  • How does the school assess and monitor the progress of SEN students?



Practice makes perfect.


Practice your interview responses and storytelling techniques with a friend, family member, or mentor. Conduct mock interviews to simulate the interview experience and receive feedback on your performance, body language, and communication skills.

Dress and Behave Professionally


Research if the school has a dress code or dress policy – this is often on their website. If you can’t find one, or you don’t have time to research this before your interview, then here are some tips:


  • Professional attire: Wear a tailored suit or a professional dress with a conservative neckline and hemline. Choose neutral or subdued colours such as navy, black, grey, or beige. 
  • Comfortable shoes: Choose comfortable that are clean and well-maintained. Closed-toe flats, low heels, or dress shoes are suitable options. 
  • Groomed appearance: Ensure that your hair is neatly groomed and styled in a professional manner. Keep accessories such as jewellery and makeup minimal. 
  • Minimal fragrance: Avoid wearing strong perfumes or colognes, as they may be overpowering or distracting 


Arrive early for the interview, demonstrate confidence, maintain eye contact, and engage in active listening throughout the conversation. 

Common SEN Teacher Interview Questions


By preparing answers to these 15 common SEN teacher interview questions, you will feel more confident during your next interview.


  1. Can you tell us about your experience working with students with special educational needs? 
  2. How do you differentiate instruction to meet the diverse learning needs of students with SEN? 
  3. What strategies do you use to create an inclusive classroom environment for students with special educational needs? 
  4. How do you collaborate with other professionals, such as therapists and support staff, to support students with SEN? 
  5. Can you describe a challenging situation you faced while working with a student with special educational needs and how you handled it? 
  6. How do you assess and monitor the progress of students with SEN, and how do you use this information to inform your teaching practices? 
  7. Can you provide an example of how you incorporate assistive technology or other accommodations to support students with special educational needs in the classroom? 
  8. How do you support students with SEN in developing their social and emotional skills? 
  9. Can you discuss your approach to behaviour management and how you address challenging behaviours in students with special educational needs? 
  10. How do you involve parents and caregivers in the education and support of students with SEN? 
  11. Can you share an example of a successful inclusion initiative or project you have implemented in your classroom? 
  12. How do you stay updated with current trends, research, and best practices in special education? 
  13. Can you describe a time when you had to advocate for a student with special educational needs, and what was the outcome? 
  14. How do you prioritise and manage your workload to effectively support students with SEN while meeting other responsibilities? 
  15. What motivates you to work with students with special educational needs, and why are you passionate about this field? 

What next?


Are you looking for your next role within SEN education? Sugarman has been placing SEN teaching assistants and teachers in rewarding special education roles for over 25 years.


Why not get in touch with our team today or apply for our latest SEN jobs?


For more resources, check out our blogs or our career advice page, tailored specifically for SEN education.


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