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PE teaching jobs are often the most difficult for a potential recruit to secure, often due to low staff turnover combined with a high number of newly trained teachers. In this article, we explore what a head of PE might be looking for when they are recruiting for a new member of staff.

Application advice

Our first piece of advice is to scrutinise the advert and try to work out what it is that the school is looking for. Some schools might well be looking for a PE teacher to be a specialist in a certain sport or teaching area, but all schools will require PE staff to be able to deliver a wide range of sporting activities. Ensure you show your potential new head of department that you are versatile and not a one-trick pony by explaining all of the relevant teaching and coaching experiences that you have undertaken in previous roles. Link these back to the job description as often and clearly as possible, especially if a certain specialism is listed as desirable.

Similarly, if you’ve had the experience of offering DofE, or been involved in running a residential trip such as skiing, mention these in your applications and link these experiences directly to the job description.

Your application could also be strengthened if you research the school and PE department and explain what you could offer in addition to their current provision. This could be an extra-curricular club in a certain sport, a trip or activity, or even a different exam board qualification if you are highly experienced in delivering something that they don’t currently offer.

Ensure your application sells your skills and shows off exactly why the school should employ you over others.

Interview day advice

Most schools will invite a shortlist of candidates to interview and ask each other person to deliver a lesson in some form. The chances are the key thing that a Head of PE is looking for during this lesson is the relationships that you are able to build with pupils. They will be looking at how you connect with the young people, how you praise and correct them, and how you control the group. Whilst your subject knowledge and use of teaching and learning strategies also need to be showcased in this lesson, ultimately any observers will be looking at if you’re the right fit for the school and the pupils.

A formal interview is highly likely to be on the cards, and during this, a head of PE will undoubtedly be looking for you to reflect on your lesson and explain to the interview panel how you felt it went. Be prepared for this reflection and explain a couple of things you’d do in the future if your work with that class were to continue. This will show that you are analytical and able to reflect to improve your future practice – crucial to being an effective teacher. You may also be asked to reflect on a time when a lesson or situation hasn’t gone how you envisaged it, and also how you reacted then and how you would react again in the future. Be prepared for questions such as this!

Conduct your research

Our final piece of advice is to ensure that you have researched the school and the department well. This not only shows that you are a keen and serious applicant, but it will help a head of PE feel confident that the transition period of your joining will be as smooth as possible. Ensure you know which exam boards the PE department currently follows and do some research into these if you’re not already clued up. Research the local catchment area so you better understand the needs of the pupils, and visit the school website to gain insight into the school’s rewards and consequences system.

The value of PE Office 

The PE Office is an extensive online learning platform accommodating PE department requirements. The system provides a variety of practical and theoretical resources that are perfect for new PE teachers who might be deliberating how to deliver their lessons properly.

Teachers can take advantage of editable PE schemes of work and in-depth lesson plans to significantly reduce workload and the stress that is placed on teachers. The platform even has pre-made lesson content that is fantastic for revision, homework and catch-up content. Take a look at our previous blog on the best pe lessons to get the best out of your students by clicking here

PE teachers can even access videos of elite performers demonstrating how to execute particular moves that can be displayed to students to enhance their understanding. If you would like to learn more about the platform then take a look at this video here. Alternatively, you can call 01909 776900 or send an email to for more information.