How to write your personal statement for teacher training
Your personal statement is a crucial part of your application for a teacher training place. Gill Kilvington from the University of Hull lets you know what training providers will be looking for and what to cover, from reasons for applying to school experience.
This article has been written in partnership with AGCAS.
The information below is based on the Apply for Teacher Training service personal statement with hints and tips that will be useful when completing the form.
This is a crucial part of the application and your chance to stand out from the crowd. The personal statement section is split into two categories: 'Why do you want to teach?' and 'Your suitability to teach a particular subject or age group'.
Your statement must be concise, enthusiastic and sell your potential to be a successful teacher. Here's what you should include in your personal statement:
Why do you want to teach?
This section has a maximum word count of 600 words and should include the following:
- your interest in the subject or age group
- an appraisal of the demands and rewards of teaching, with evidence of your motivation, and showing an understanding of teacher training and the role of a teacher
- the personal qualities that would make you a good teacher
- the skills and qualities needed to be an effective teacher, such as communication, teamworking and leadership, and how your own experiences have helped you to develop these (use examples from your degree and work experience)
- how you could contribute to a school outside of the classroom
- any specific skills that could be useful for the range of extracurricular activities that schools provide
- any experience working with children or young people, and what you learnt from this
- any voluntary work you have undertaken, reflecting on how the skills you have gained will help you become an effective teacher
- areas of the national curriculum you observed, age groups you worked with, subjects you covered and types of schools you visited and for how long, and your thoughts on welfare and education.
Your suitability to teach a subject or age range
This section has a maximum word count of 400 words and your evidence can include the following:
- the subject of your undergraduate degree
- modules you studied as part of your degree.
If you’re applying for primary courses, training providers need to identify your specialist knowledge relevant to teaching the range of subjects in the national curriculum.
If you’re applying for secondary courses, training providers need to assess the following, to determine whether or not your degree course covers enough of the subject you want to teach:
- postgraduate degrees (for example, a masters or PhD)
- your A level subjects
- expertise you’ve gained at work.
Your interview needs
This is an additional section that you can complete if you feel you have any specific interview needs. For example, this could be because you have commitments such as caring responsibilities or employment. You have up to 200 words to explain what your needs are.
If you do not have any specific interview needs, you can identify this by ticking 'no'.
If you don't currently live in the UK, explain why you want to study in the UK; if relevant, provide evidence (through UK ENIC for example) that your qualifications are at the required standard. Check that your language skills are sufficient to complete the training programme as requirements vary between institutions.
Explain anything not made clear elsewhere on the application, such as reasons for gaps in your education or working life.
Tips for writing and checking your personal statement
- Remember that you can only write one personal statement for all your choices, so make sure it reflects the route or routes you have applied for.
- Give yourself enough time to write a few drafts.
- Write your statement using a word processing package so you can check it for spelling and grammar errors. Cut and paste it into the application form as you go along to make sure you don’t go over your character limit.
- Keep it simple and natural in style.
- Personalise your statement by writing in the first person, using 'me', 'I' and 'my'.
- Use action verbs such as 'coordinated', 'established' and 'managed'.
- Provide evidence of your motivation, experiences and qualifications as well as your understanding of teacher training and the role of a teacher.
- As the word count is limited for each section, make sure each sentence contributes something useful.
- Show your personal statement to a school recruiter, careers adviser or tutor for feedback.
- Copy your application, particularly the personal statement, before sending it so that you can remind yourself of the content when going for interviews.
- Make sure the personal statement is all your own work, as all statements are put through the CopyCatch similarity detection system.