How to write a Teacher Training Personal Statement or School Direct application
A teacher training or School Direct personal statement is a key part of any initial teacher training application. It gives teacher training providers an opportunity to find out more about you – your motivations for pursuing a career in teaching, your reflections on any school experience you have and the skills, competencies, values and attitudes that you bring to the table. What can you offer teaching? What will make you an outstanding teacher who will inspire, engage and challenge pupils? An initial UCAS teacher training personal statement is your chance to sell yourself.
What a personal statement for teacher training shouldn’t be is a list of all your jobs or qualifications – those are set out elsewhere in your application. Nor should it simply be a factual account of what you have observed or what you did in a classroom during your school experience. While it is important to give a brief context, much more important is what you have learnt during your time in school, any skills you have developed and your reflections on what you observed or did. Teacher training providers or School Direct schools need to see that you have thought about your experience carefully. Additionally, it is important that you check your spelling and grammar carefully. You are going to be in charge of educating the next generation – you must have strong written communication skills.
Examples can be a great way of demonstrating what you have learnt
Steer away from overusing general teaching related statements such as “I’ve always wanted to work with children”, especially when writing a primary school teacher training personal statement. Obviously ITT and School Direct providers want to see that you have an interest in working with children but this can be demonstrated through your reflections on what you learnt during any school or similar experience and what you found rewarding about the work. Examples can be a great way of demonstrating what you have learnt, e.g. an example of a project you have worked on or a child you worked with (always remember to anonymise the people involved). What was challenging about the situation, what did you learn and what were the outcomes you achieved?
By all means draw on skills you have gained elsewhere, maybe in a different career field or in your own education or family life. If you have overcome obstacles or challenges that you believe show your resilience and adaptability, draw on that experience to demonstrate how you would handle the pressurised environment of teaching and working in a school.
Your teacher training personal statement should be coherent and well-structured
If you hold a non-subject specific degree and you know you have some gaps in your subject knowledge, it’s a good idea to mention this in your personal statement but to also offer the provider a solution. You can demonstrate that you have done some research and you have already considered a solution to this challenge by mentioning that you would like to do a subject knowledge enhancement course prior to starting your teacher training to bring your knowledge up to the level you need to teach.
There are plenty guides on how to write a personal statement for teacher training which outline the basics, but the most important thing remains your own personal reasons for applying. Be clear about what motivates you. A personal statement which suggests that you have not thought through your reasons for going into teaching will not help your application to succeed. Initial Teacher Training providers are less likely to be concerned about someone who has had a diverse career but is now committed to teaching than someone who says they have always wanted to teach but can’t give clear reasons why. If you’re not currently based in the UK, include reasons why you want to pursue your teaching career here. And last but definitely not least, your personal statement should be coherent and well-structured!
- Draw on your experiences (especially teaching experience) to show what you have learnt and what you will bring to the teaching profession
- Evidence your skills, competencies and values, with relevant examples if possible
- Be clear about your motivations for going into teaching
- Make sure your statement is coherent and accurate
- Don’t copy! Your statement should be entirely your own work; do not copy online examples.
Good luck! Further advice from UCAS can be found here.
Becoming a teacherTeacher Training
Showcasing your experience
A good statement should highlight your strengths and how you can bring these to teaching. Think about what distinct qualities you can bring to the table that will make you an amazing teacher. Your personal statement should convey energy, enthusiasm and a passion for teaching.
As a general guide, it’s a good idea to cover key points such as:
- your reasons for wanting to teach – and, more specifically, why you’ll enjoy teaching your chosen subject and/or age group
- the qualities you have that will work well in the classroom – communication, organisation and creativity are all important skills
- how previous studies and any work experience relate to your chosen subject or age group – make sure you give examples of what you’ve learnt from your experience, and how it will have a positive effect on your teaching
- what you’ve learnt during any school experience placements and how this has influenced your application
- how you’ve benefited from any other experience that you may have of working with children or young people – for example as a classroom assistant, or running a youth group or sports club
The UCAS Teacher Training form also includes a separate section to provide details of your school and work experience. This section allows you to highlight the experience you’ve had in a school or work environment. You can include as many examples on the UCAS form as you like. This can include work placements and observations, as well as any paid and unpaid work.
Remember, your personal statement is the core of the application, so it is important to take the time and effort to research and prepare. The word count is tight: the space on the form is limited to 4,000 characters, split across a maximum of 47 lines, including spaces and line breaks so use it wisely.
Finally, you shouldn’t copy from someone else’s statement or from statements posted on the internet – UCAS screens all submissions and will know if the work you’ve presented is not your own.