30 Life-Saving Senior Leadership Questions

When applying for your first senior position then it is worth thinking through responses to some possible interview or written exercise questions.

Have a go at the following and formulate a response for each one. To encourage initiative and creative thinking, no answers to this exercise are given.

Senior Leadership Questions:

  1. What principles should govern your choice of recreational reading for disaffected lunchtime supervisory staff?
  2. You ‘pop in’ to see a Year 6 teacher and find her sat at her desk sobbing while the class are busily engaged in a word search on ‘Holidays’. What do you say?
  3. A parent has complained that the school’s policy of using red pen for marking has given her son ‘self-esteem issues’ and he is now having counselling. How do you respond?
  4. The Chair of the School Governors was seen in Waitrose at the weekend wearing jeans. What advice would you give regarding professional standards and being a ‘good role model’?
  5. If you have to offend one of them which do you choose, the school caretaker or the bursar?
  6. On your first day as Temporary Deputy Assistant Headteacher, a feisty Year 2 girl tells you that “your assemblies aren’t as good as the ones Mrs Featherstone does”. What non-verbal reply could you give without hurting her feelings?
  7. You have created a new and exciting classroom management system that is ” NQT foolproof”. Devise a way to commercialise the system without resorting to the Tes or social media.
  8. You are given a double period a week to teach music in a former stock cupboard which is separated from the ‘Cool Down’ room by a flimsy partition. Name 5 ‘positives’ you can see in this situation.
  9. It has come to your attention that one of your teachers “is never off her phone” during lessons. What would you say in a text message to her?
  10. How can you encourage your staff to use the PE apparatus chained to the dining room hall wall? You only recently discovered that it was last used in the summer of 2001.
  11. The son of your Upper KS2 Phase Leader swears at you when you are showing prospective parents the new Diversity Policy. Describe the effect on your Wellbeing Policy.
  12. Devise a dozen watertight comments that any teacher could write in any book which while making sense do not require any teacher to have actually examined the work in the first place.
  13. A celeb footballer has been invited by your PE Coordinator to open a new bag of footballs earned from collecting 25,000 supermarket vouchers. What VIP security measures do you take to ensure the celeb’s safety from KS1?
  14. You want to “shake things up a bit” when you take up your new post as Associate Assistant Head and so invent 10 new inclusive School Societies – what are they?
  15. The central heating in both Year 4 classes is “red hot” and can’t be turned down. None of the windows can be opened because of over-zealous painting in the 1980s. What measures can be put in place to ensure that no one suffocates?
  16. A Year 5 boy says that he has “released his pet tarantula in the school grounds”. What conversations will you likely have with as a result of this disclosure?
  17. Compose four funny ‘tales from the coalface’ to share with staff in your next twilight session to “keep them on board and smiling”.
  18. Someone has written a rude word on the side of the wall outside of your school ending in CK. Ofsted are due to arrive at any moment and this will be the first thing they see. The disgruntled caretaker (who you suspect) is off sick and your Jar of Wellbeing has been stolen. What do you do?
  19. As you enter the staffroom you hear a collective groan. Compose your opening sentence.
  20. Three of your staff suddenly ‘take a knee’ during your assembly. Describe what you would do.
  21. A member of staff faints during a lesson observation. Describe what you do to ensure that pupils’ learning is not disrupted. They are making hedgehogs out of egg boxes.
  22. As you enter the room for an interview you realise you are wearing odd shoes. Give an explanation to the panel.
  23. Are you a hunter or a gatherer?
  24. A member of the interview panel keeps asking you about ‘unreliable subordinates’. Devise a request for clarification as to whether this relates to literacy or staff.
  25. What would the name of your debut school policy be?
  26. A member of the infant staff locks you in your office “for a laugh”. Do you?
  27. During a lunchtime staff yoga session you are leading, Mrs Wiggins lets one go. How do you deal with this situation?
  28. When you ask a class “How far is it from Warsaw to Wigan?”, some wag replies “The same as the distance from Wigan to Warsaw.” Give three possible responses that do not involve ridicule, sarcasm or detention.
  29. How would you explain the meaning of “Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya” to a disillusioned Year 2 teacher as a way of motivating them?
  30. What would be your response if the school dog had diarrhoea in the reception area during a school inspection?

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