Teacher training personal statement


The basics

  • Your personal statement is the key to securing an interview for a place on a teacher training course.
  • You have approximately 47 lines (4,000 characters) to persuade a provider to offer you an interview. The information you provide needs to be interesting, concise, well structured and free of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
  • Polishing your personal statement is time consuming so allow plenty of time.
  • Use Word to create your personal statement then cut and paste into the Application Form - this makes it easier to use a spell check, etc.
  • Similarity detection software is used to ensure personal statements are applicants own original work. Your personal statement needs to reflect your own experiences. Institutions will be notified if similarity is detected.

Structure and points to cover

1. Why you want to teach. And why you will be a good teacher.

  • Avoid 'I like children' and 'I have always wanted to teach'.
  • Focus on who or what has influenced your choice. Was there a particular teacher who inspired you? How did you come to this realisation? You could include something of your personal views on teaching and learning and your own philosophy of education (with care) 
  • Relevance of your degree/ previous education - relate this to the subjects/ age range/ curriculum you wish to teach and also emphasise other relevant topics eg Child Development

"I chose to study a degree in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Derby. The degree covered an in depth study of the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of young children, how children learn and the factors that can affect children's learning".

"Studying Psychology has given me a broad knowledge about child development, the development of language and mental processes and the emotional development of a child".

"Although the degree that I am taking is not a National Curriculum subject it is heavily based upon scientific analysis. Statistics/ maths and information technology are core components of the degree"

  • Secondary - What excites and interests you about your subject? Why this age range?
  • Explain how your skills, experiences and personal attributes make you a suitable candidate to be a teacher. What can you bring to teaching rather than what teaching can do for you?
  • Ensure that your passion and motivation for teaching is clear.

2. Relevant classroom-based experience

This is the main section of your personal statement.

  • Reflect on your previous experiences working in a classroom and activities where you have been involved with children/ young people. 
  • Give concrete examples of what you did, what was the impact of your experiences on your learning - about teaching and about yourself.
  • What did you observe in relation to teaching and learning strategies, assessment of learning, core curriculum development, lesson planning, classroom organisation and behaviour management? Think about what you observed - what worked, what didn't?
  • What skills did you develop? What is your understanding of school life and the role of a teacher? How has your awareness of the roles of other support staff increased? What are the issues being discussed in the staffroom?
  • Select three/ four examples to focus on in your statement. Use these examples to illustrate some of the above aspects.

"During my voluntary placement in KS1 I had the opportunity to run a class literacy activity, this included collecting and producing materials for a varied range of abilities. Organising the session plan and ensuring it covered the literacy target the teacher had set was also required."

"In the last year of my degree I was employed as a pre-school assistant, working in a team to create a warm, friendly and stimulating environment.
I worked in partnership with parents, planned and organised appropriate activities, assessed the progress of the children and encouraged their further development."

  • Find opportunities to highlight knowledge of current educational issues: The National Strategies, Special Educational Needs (SEN), equality and diversity, up to date initiatives relating to subject/s you will be teaching and a good basic knowledge of the Primary Core Curriculum (Literacy, Numeracy, Science and ICT); subject strengths, eg foreign language.
  • An excellent website to keep you up-to-date with current issues is www.teachernet.gov.uk

3. Other relevant work with young people

  • Experience in classrooms is essential but you can also demonstrate your ability to work with children by other paid or unpaid work including after school clubs, summer camps, youth work, Brownies/Scouts leadership, etc.

"As part of the Disney VoluntEARS I went to four inner city libraries in Derby to read to diverse groups of children to encourage them to read five minutes more a day."                                   

"Being involved in out of school activities has shown me the importance of not just teaching in the classroom but also the importance of being involved outside of the classroom in order to help develop children socially and emotionally."

"I have been a volunteer for the past eighteen months, working with children with severe special needs and children on the child protection register.  This has increased my understanding of the issues that some children and families bring to school, and how this can affect their learning experiences."

4. Previous employment and/ or voluntary work

Other work experience can be used which demonstrates relevant skills, qualities and knowledge eg managing people, problem solving, time management, organisation and planning, counselling, negotiation and team working. Highlight subject specific/ technical skills where they are relevant to your subject.

"My previous employment has led to a high level of administrative and IT skills. Experience in public relations developed my communicational skills."   

"For the past two years I have been self-employed; this has developed my ICT skills and has required excellent organisation and time management.'      

"Since graduating earlier this year, I have also gained valuable industry experience. I now work as a freelance interior designer for a company allowing me to offer my future students valuable industry knowledge within my textile teaching."          

You should aim to include evidence for some of the following skills and attributes for teaching:

  • communication
  • organisation
  • planning
  • team working
  • time management
  • supervisory and
  • leadership
  • administrative
  • creativity
  • self discipline
  • commitment
  • dedication
  • patience
  • enthusiasm
  • sense of humour
  • stamina

5. Your interests and hobbies

How could these be incorporated into school life as 'value added' skills (sport, art, drama, music, languages or ICT skills)

"For three years I have taught children aged four to thirteen to swim, and have the Level 1 coaching certificate.  This has developed my skills in lesson planning, meeting the different needs of the children, and talking and listening with parents to discuss their children's development and suggest ways in which they can aid their development."

6. Final paragraph

Finish by re-affirming (but not repeating) your motivation and enthusiasm for teaching. What is your goal for your teaching career?

"I realise that a teacher training course is intense and will require hard work and dedication, but feel that my degree studies combined with my experience in various educational settings has given me a firm foundation on which to build."

Don't forget...

You are strongly advised book an appointment with one of our Careers Consultants to review your personal statement before you submit it, to make sure it's of the highest quality possible.

Also use the Teacher training - application form assistant for help with your personal statement.

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