Exit interviews in school


Exit interviews in school can be a useful way for you to give feedback and explain the reasons why you are leaving.

There is no legal requirement for you to have an exit interview and some schools will decide not to offer them. 

You may also be asked to complete an exit questionnaire as part of the process.

Exit interviews will ideally be conducted in a manner that is conducive to open dialogue, in a safe environment for the employee, and staff will be reassured that confidentiality will be safeguarded. 

If you are an Edapt subscriber, you can contact us for advice and support if you are concerned about attending an exit interview.

What type of questions might I be asked in my exit interview?

Examples of questions could include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • What were your main reasons for working at this school?
  • What are the main reasons for submitting your resignation?
  • What did you enjoy most about your job?
  • What did you dislike about your job?
  • Would you recommend other teachers to apply to work for this school?
  • What do you think are the main priorities where the school can improve?
  • How would you describe your career progression and development?
  • Did your salary reflect your duties and level of responsibility?
  • How would you describe your working relationships with your line manager/colleagues in your department?

Exit interviews in school: likely structures

 In a  best practice framework for conducting exit interviews, recommendations may include:

  • Exit interviews are informal – interviews should promote honesty by encountering a good exchange of information that highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of the schools’ practices and procedures
  • Exit interviews must ensure confidentiality where possible – it is important that guarantees of confidentiality are well publicised alongside the value placed on exit interviews
  • Empathy is the key to success – to encourage true flow of information the exit interview should be undertaken by someone the employee is comfortable with. The employee will be given the opportunity to state their preferred choice of individual to conduct the exit interview
  • Exit interviews must be structured – to ensure consistency in the quality and detail of the information given at the exit interviews it is advisable for the employee to be asked questions that relate to the various sections of the exit questionnaire, as it will allow the employee to expand on the reasons why they have a certain opinion.

An exit interview in school policy

It may explain that the policy will be applied to all staff members, except possibly in the case of dismissal or in exceptional circumstances. It will lilley cover that participation in the exit interview process is voluntary and that employees should be given the assurance that the details of the interview will not be entered on their personal file or disclosed in future references. 

It may cover that the information provided will be depersonalised and used to inform current and future working practice. A possible time frame such as: the reasons for leaving be obtained as near as possible to the time the decision was made. One reason for conducting the interview is that employers feel it may be possible at an early stage to influence the decision to leave, and in some cases the interview may identify unresolved issues that could be tackled and result in retraining the member of staff. 

The exit interviewer should advise staff on the possible channels for resolution of any outstanding issues including mediation, dispute resolution procedure, work- life balance schemes, career break policy, and the services of the wellbeing at work and counselling and the staff associations.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.