Your application is your chance to convince initial teacher training providers that they want you on their course. Competition for the best courses can be very strong – get into the yes pile with these five tips.
1. Make sure you meet the requirements
It sounds obvious, but government policy does have a habit of changing, so make sure you’re up to date. The minimum requirements are GCSEs in English and maths at C/4, or above (B in Wales). Add grade C/4, in science to the list for primary and middle school teaching.
To teach a specific subject at secondary level, the norm is an undergraduate degree in a ‘relevant’ subject, but you can opt to do a subject knowledge enhancement course to boost your skills.
Remember that you'll need to take the literacy and numeracy skills tests before your initial teacher training (this will change in the Spring).
2. Highlight any previous experience
Include any previous experience of working with young people, and give examples. Ideally this will be work experience at a school or as a youth worker.
If you don’t have this sort of experience, think of other examples that illustrate an aptitude, and get some work experience organised to strengthen your application by signing up to the Get School Experience programme. You can still send in your application if you explain that you’ve organised work experience but haven’t completed it yet.
Remember to include other skills you could bring to the school, like sports, music or drama.
3. Demonstrate your communication skills
Communication is an essential part of teaching, so do invest time in getting your points across clearly and concisely. Try to make the examples of your communication and social skills relevant to the classroom.
4. Show you’ve done your homework
Prove to admissions tutors that you’re serious about a career in teaching and that you’ve done your research. Keep an eye on developments in the profession and the standards for qualified teacher status.
This is the time for enthusiasm and creativity tempered with a smidge of realism. Do describe what you can bring to the classroom. But demonstrate that your understanding of the challenges and opportunities that teaching provides hasn’t just come from film references.
5. The early bird catches the worm
Be organised and proactive. The competition can be tough, particularly for popular courses such as primary teaching, history and PE.
You’re more likely to get a course with your preferred provider if you don’t leave things to the last minute when all the places have been filled.