This is a crucial part of the application and your chance to stand out from the crowd. You have up to 47 lines (4,000 characters including spaces) in which to persuade your chosen initial teacher training (ITT) providers to offer you an interview. The statement must be concise, enthusiastic and sell your potential to be a successful teacher.
What you should include in the personal statement
Providers will be looking for evidence that you understand the realities, rewards and challenges of teaching. You'll be asked to describe your reasons for wanting to teach, and should explain the relevance of your previous education and experience, including teaching, school visits and other work with young people. Consider all of the following points when you are deciding what to include in your personal statement.
Reasons for applying for teacher training
Explain why you've applied to be a teacher and why you've applied for your chosen subject and age group. Demonstrate your commitment and motivation through recent examples from your work experience and academic work.
School experience and what you gained from it
Training providers will want to know how much experience you've had in schools, for example:
- areas of the national curriculum you observed
- age groups you worked with
- subjects you covered
- types of schools you visited and for how long.
Reflect on what you did in any work experience, particularly relating to the national curriculum, and what you learnt from it.
Your work experience and how it relates to teaching
Use the personal statement to give further information on the work experience you listed in the application form. Explain how this experience is relevant to teaching, particularly where you've been working with young people in schools and other contexts such as youth clubs, summer camps or sports clubs. Comment on work experience in other settings, such as voluntary work and extracurricular activities, and show how the skills you gained will help you become an effective teacher.
Reflect on your teaching skills
Think about the skills and qualities needed to be an effective teacher, such as communication, team working and leadership, and how your own experiences have helped you to develop these. Again, use examples from your degree and recent work experience.
If you don't live in the UK currently, explain why you want to study in the UK and, if relevant, provide evidence, through NARIC 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 restricted geographical mobility or 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/s 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, 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.
I became interested in teaching after realising how much I had benefited from excellent and passionate teachers. They exuded a real sense of enthusiasm for learning which inspires me to pass on that passion.
My love for RE and sociology developed during my A-levels after discovering an aptitude for writing, analysis and researching. This drove me to study more, going on to gain a 2:1 in RE and sociology from the University of England. Studying at university developed my passion for social sciences and taught me a range of academic skills which I believe are fundamentally important to teach young people. This is demonstrated in my dissertation, which was awarded a first, looking at RE teaching in secondary schools, opening my eyes to how RE and sociology give students a greater understanding of society and its place in our diverse and changing world.
While volunteering as a teaching assistant I saw the skills needed to be a great teacher one of which is leadership. My own leadership skills have developed over the years, from attending a youth club to gradually going on to lead small groups in activities. This has given me the confidence to volunteer as a teaching assistant in a mainstream school during my degree. By my final year I was able to take responsibility for running activities in the classroom, balancing the needs of each child and managing behaviour issues. In working with potentially more vulnerable students such as SEN learners I saw the role played by support staff in maintaining control of the classroom, particularly with those who can be disruptive when under stimulated. I learned the importance of differentiating lesson plans to educate and engage students with special needs and the power of strategies such as a well thought out seating plan and friendly competitiveness in learners. I saw students develop within the classroom as a result of my determined support and these good working relationships are beginning to result in higher grades. I have liaised well across a number of departments to communicate information about students in an organised and diplomatic way.
To support my professional development, alongside my studies, I undertook work placements in two other schools. Volunteering in Key Stages 1 and 2 confirmed my desire to teach Key Stages 3 and 4. I began to develop stronger skills in communication, leadership, behaviour management and knowledge of the national curriculum. Doing a second placement in my final year while balancing deadlines and dissertation research developed my time management and organisation skills. I was exposed to a range of pedagogical models and teaching methods which is something I look forward to learning more about on a PGCE.
I enjoy reading and learning about contemporary ethics and society, considering how I can use this to benefit the students I teach. While in schools I have seen the challenges and rewards present in a school environment. Teachers need to be resilient particularly when working with students who find school difficult, do not want to engage and do not want to accept support. However I look forward to working in the education system and believe I could help and inspire students to develop their future aspirations.