It was all very friendly indeed - never experienced an interview like it where the applicants were all shaking hands and introducing themselves. We all gathered in the foyer and chatted. I'd been advised not to be intimidated by the other applicants. I'm not easily intimidated though so it wasn't really an issue. I don't care what experience and qualifications other applicants have really - I could only do my best - the rest was up to the panel. No point in freaking out over whether someone has better A levels than me. There was an interesting mix of people. Only 2 men, interestingly. Quite a few of them had also applied for the full time PGCE so I'm assuming that they haven't allocated places for that yet.
Anywaaaaay ... Interview was a whole afternoon. Started with a little presentation by the GTP course leader and then some questions and answers. Next part was "a group discussion on a topic of educational interest" which was moderated by one of the Interview Panel members. Each group had 3 applicants and my moderator was the GTP course leader himself. The question, if you're interested, was something along the lines of "what are your observations about the way English is taught in primary schools?"
Next stage was a written task. I'd been told that there wasn't much weight given to this aspect of the selection procedure and that it was largely used as a tool to decide between people who were very evenly matched in all other areas. Who knows though? The task was a 15 minute piece of writing about "what qualities do you think makes a good teacher?" and we had to base it on our experience/observations etc. Wasn't too taxing.
So, finally, the individual interview was only 10 mins long and was with 2 members of the panel. Mine were two women, one of whom was a teacher and the other one was a Recruiter of Teachers (?) [Incidentally, the panel was made up of various professionals in the field, including teachers, Head teachers and senior members of University staff!] There were 5 questions - let me see if I can remember them:
1. Tell us about your experience in school
2. What lessons do the children enjoy and why
3. What qualities make a good teacher (I'd handed in my written piece by this point so couldn't refer to it)
4. Which of those qualities (if any) did I have
5. Something about current topics of educational interest
And then I was soooo cheeky at the end and said, "oh, I thought you were going to ask me why I wanted to be a teacher as I'd prepared for that one!" and they said they didn't ask any more. So I commented that I'd prepared an answer which wasn't like a Miss World-Wanna-Change-The-World-And-Work-Wi
Got to wait 2 weeks to find out if I have a place.
Another really interesting thing to come out of that experience was the fact that they are resurrecting the flexible PGCE!!!! This is great news as I was originally interested in pursuing that way in. Its similar to the GTP in that I would be able to continue working in my current post and train at the same time. But it would be over 2 years rather than one and would be largely distace learning at my own pace. I'd still have the teaching practice to do and some University time and the biggie - I would have to pay for it. However, I may be able to get some funding towards course fees if I end up taking that route.
Thank you so much to the people who replied to my previous post, asking for advice! It was much appreciated.