Firstly, it is not an interview in the usual sense of the word and certainly not like a job interview! We need to see how your child interacts with other students, in order to gain an idea of their social development. Therefore, Year 1 interviews are always done in small groups of around 8-10 students. This way we can observe behaviours like sharing, talking, playing 'with' rather than 'alongside', eye contact and so on.
We also ask your child to draw a picture and talk about it. In this way, we can listen to them speaking English and get an idea of their fluency. We may ask them to work through some other small assessments so that we can get a deeper understanding of their language ability.
When we interview your child, we are looking for three things:
- Will they be able to access the curriculum?
- Do they have any special needs that may need support?
- Are they ready for school?
This last one is really important, as, because our intake year is January to December, some of our children are very young and if they were born just a few days later, would be in the next year for admission. When you are just four years of age, this is really important because lots of physical, social and emotional development happens in that year. It also means that they may be in a class with children a year older. Because we want school to be a positive experience right from the get go, it is sometimes better to defer children who would benefit from another year in kindergarten. This is not the case every time of course, but it is a major consideration. So, if we recommend a deferral, it is always because we have your child's best interest at heart. They have not failed the interview or anything like that- they are just young!
We also interview parents- this is often my job and I really love it! It is a great opportunity to meet new parents, especially as so many of our children bus in. We have such a strong support base from our parents and there are so many interesting people in our community, this is always pleasurable . Your child will not fail an interview because of you either! We will talk about things like your child's social and emotional development and ask you about if there are any family circumstances we need to be aware of, or if your child has any special needs that we need to know about? These all build a picture of your child for us. It is important that these questions are answered honestly, not in the way you think we want them answered!
It is all low key, friendly and informal which is in keeping with our ethos of school being a welcoming and friendly place for you and your child.