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64 Safeguarding Interview Questions You’ll Likely Be Asked in a School

Preparing and understanding safeguarding interview questions will be essential ahead of any interview as safeguarding and child protection are guaranteed to feature in any interview for a job role that involves children and young people. Whether it’s a headteacher, head of a department, governor or an interview panel asking you the questions, you need to show a great level of understanding of the practices and principles of safeguarding and child protection.

Here’s a list of safeguarding interview questions for a role in a school you could be asked.

Motivations for Working With Children

Safeguarding Interview Questions You Could Be Asked

  • Why do you want to work with children?
  • How do you think your own childhood may have influenced your career choice?
  • What was the impact or result of this?
  • Can you tell us about your interests outside of work?
  • What do you think motivates young people?
  • What do you have to offer children or young people in terms of support?
  • How would you motivate children and young people?
  • What has working with children taught you about yourself?
  • When working with children, what do you consider to be your biggest strengths and areas to improve?
  • Can you give an example of how children have benefited from contact with you?

These types of questions are designed to learn more about your self-awareness, knowledge and understanding of self and professional role. You need to show passion, realistic knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses and also give good, detailed examples when asked with sound reasons. 

Understanding of Child Protection Principles

Safeguarding Interview Questions You Could Be Asked

  • What do you think are some challenges facing school staff today?
  • Have you experienced any of these? 
  • How did you deal with them and what did you do to avoid them?
  • What would you do if you were concerned about a colleague’s behaviour towards children?
  • What would you do if you were concerned about a child’s behaviour?
  • Can you spot the signs that a child is suffering from a type of abuse, neglect or harm? What are these signs?
  • What makes a school a safe and caring place?
  • How have you contributed to this in the past?
  • What policies are important to support a safe environment?
  • Why are these policies important?
  • What are the staff members’ responsibilities in protecting children?
  • What have you done in the past 12 months to improve child protection in the workplace?
  • Do you know the procedure for reporting a case?
  • Do you know how to behave before, during and after a disclosure?
  • Are you aware of the relevant people you need to contact and make aware of a potential case?

These questions are designed to test your knowledge of safeguarding and child protection principles to see how aware you are. You must have up-to-date knowledge of legislation, current policies and practices to answer the interview questions appropriately.

It’s also vital that you provide strong examples of your own experience and you’re prepared to challenge working practices if necessary to show a proactive attitude.

When answering these questions, it’s important that safeguarding is seen as part of the role, not as an ‘add-on.’ In general, be sure to show willingness and eagerness to work with others to improve safeguarding.

Emotional Maturity and Resilience

Questions You Could Be Asked

  • Can you tell me about a time where you worked with children and your authority was seriously challenged?
  • How did you react to this and how did you manage the situation?
  • What strategies did you employ to ensure the situation remained on track?
  • Can you tell me about a person you have had some difficulty dealing with?
  • What made it difficult?
  • How did you manage this situation?
  • Have you ever felt uncomfortable about a colleague’s behaviour towards children in a previous job?
  • What did you do?
  • How was this issue resolved?

These types of questions are designed to test your consistency under pressure, your ability to use authority, respond appropriately and the ability to seek assistance or support when you need it. These interview questions might not always be directly associated with safeguarding, but there’s still a correlation.

Safeguarding is a sensitive subject area and in the case of a disclosure conversation with a child or young person, you’ll need to maintain control over your emotions. Your answers will tell the interviewers how you behave under pressure and in a position of authority, how you take action to concerns and if you understand how to seek help.

Values and Ethics

Questions You Could Be Asked

  • What are your attitudes to child protection and safeguarding?
  • How have these developed over time?
  • Can you tell me about a time when a child behaved in a way that caused you concern?
  • How did you deal with this situation?
  • How would you deal with this in the future?
  • Who else did you involve?
  • What are your feelings about children and young people who make allegations against staff members?
  • How do you feel when somebody holds an opinion which differs from your own?
  • How do you behave in this situation?
  • Have you ever had concerns about a colleague’s ability to deal with children?
  • How did you deal with this?
  • How can you personally support the Council’s safeguarding agenda?
  • Can you provide some examples of how you would contribute to making the school a safer environment for children?
  • In your experience, what’s the best way to deal with bullying?
  • Can you give an example of how you’ve tackled this in the past?

You’re likely to be asked these questions to test your ability to build and sustain professional standards and relationships. It also revolves around your level of understanding, how you respect other people’s opinions and how you can contribute towards creating a safer and protective environment for children and young people.

With your answers, you’ll need to show that you seriously understand the realities of abuse and believe what a child or young person is telling you. You also need to demonstrate a balanced understanding of right and wrong, show respect for other people’s feelings and circumstances as well as showing an appreciation of safeguarding issues.

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Boundaries and Inappropriate Behaviour

Questions You Could Be Asked

  • Can you give an example of where you’ve had to deal with bullying behaviour?
  • What was the result of this?
  • Who else was involved? 
  • What was the impact on other children?
  • How did you know this was a situation?
  • Can you give an example of how you’ve managed poor pupil behaviour?
  • Can you give an example of how you’ve responded to challenging behaviour from children?
  • How did this affect you emotionally?
  • Why did you respond in this way?
  • When do you think it’s appropriate to physically intervene in a situation involving children and young people?
  • How do you define an appropriate staff and pupil relationship?
  • Can you give examples of what you would consider being appropriate and inappropriate behaviour between or towards children and pupils?
  • Can you explain how you have dealt with a child with learning difficulties?

Questions like these about boundaries and inappropriate behaviour allow interviewers to understand what you feel is right and wrong. It shows self-awareness of impact on others and your awareness on appropriate boundaries and behaviour in general.

In a school environment, safeguarding and child protection can spring up many challenges that you need to deal with. This is where you can highlight your self-management when dealing with difficult or emotional situations and showcasing strong examples of your experience in previous vulnerable examples.

An interview revolving around safeguarding can be intense, especially since there’s such a wide area to cover and there’s a lot to consider so we hope you found this piece on safeguarding interview questions useful.

If you want to learn more about the wider education landscape and potential solutions then please do consider coming along to the SAAShow at the Excel on the 1st May.

You can see the full agenda for the day here: 

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