In Tray – AHT Job Interview

‘The In Tray’ Exercise

If you want to move from Middle Leadership to SLT you will have to go through a series of tasks, these are done on the first day of a two day process.

The first day of the interview process is really for the school to get to know you better, it is normally the second day that decides if you get the job or not after a formal interview/presentation.

I hope that this post onmy blog can be used to help people make it to day 2!

Please comment on this post and try to order the tasks as you would if in an interview situation 🙂

The common ‘In Tray Exercise’

Name of Candidate……………………………………………………….
Please prioritize (number 1-7, 1 being priority) the order you would address these with a brief note as to how you would address it. You have 30 minutes

Priority insert number in order which you would deal with first

1/ New member of staff complaining about HOD who won’t support his ideas for the curriculum. Wants to talk to you today about this.

2/ Member of the public has phoned in about a girl she saw being bullied outside of school. Want to pass this onto you. She has a description of her.

3/ You have reports from pupils around school that a teacher has hit a pupil after an incident before break.

4/ Pupil has just had some bad news, you need to console her. She is outside your office.

5/ The caretaker has phoned you saying a group of boys have vandalised the toilets at break. They had shouted verbal abuse at a teacher and she is upset.

6/ You receive this email.
Please could I have a confidential word with you at the earliest possible opportunity about something that Tara said to me this morning when she arrived in school? I have had a few concerns about a change in her behaviour but a remark made to me this morning gives me that feeling that something is amiss. I need to speak to you.

7/A parent has rung school to you saying that he is going to sue the school, his daughter is being bullied for the last few months, she has just phoned him via a mobile phone as says she was again bullied outside the school gates this morning by the same pupils and it also happened at break. The school has done nothing about it. He is now going to take matters in to his own hands.


8 thoughts on “In Tray – AHT Job Interview

  1. Niro says:

    Mmm, I have an in tray exercise on Monday . Just seen your blog. How would I tackle such an exercise…
    Surely I have to put student related issues first depending on severity.. With safeguarding at the top.

    My order would be, 3, 7 , 6 , 2, 4, 5 and 1

    Whilst I would put my order as above, quite clearly some of these matters can be done by pastoral leaders or other SLT.. For example 6.. So should TGIF be lower down even though I believe it’s of importance??



    • John Donnelly says:

      No matter how much of a grilling you get on day 1 of a 2 day SLT job, it is the formal interview that is the main deciding factor. You are on interview as soon as you arrive at the school, most tests are to ensure that you can work with the team and to, in some cases remove candidates that are not ready or suitable for the role. Knowing which tasks to delegate is important, never feel that school is a drop in centre,appointments can be made by parents to see members of staff, give sound reason for your choices and you should be fine. You could debate the order of some points all day and some may change depending on school policy or priority.

      Good luck, there are some questions on here that may help?

      Please let me know how you get on.

      • niro says:

        Thankyou John for your prompt reply.

        What were the questiosn that may help?

        The order of the first day will be too meet the Headteacher , teach a lesson , in tray exercise , aptitude test , meet all staff in staff room at lunch , tour with students , student interview.

        I was wondering if there is a way to behave and interact in all of the sessions that involve meeting or being interviewed by students, staff , etc…what kind of front should I show?

        I am naturally a fun and outcoing kind of person , with a very jovial attitude. However, I am someone who is experienced in teaching ing challengimng schools and am very assertive… How should I try to come across as?

        Off course I shall let you know how I got on.



  2. T'challa Teaches says:

    Thank you for this.
    Helped me to process the day before my interview.
    Ours process is internal and I am doing an intray, presentation on PP, 3 areas of leadership that I am proud of and then my interview.

    Stress level ALPHA

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