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Tips for writing your teacher training personal statement

When applying for teacher training, you’ll have to submit a personal statement. Follow our advice on how to show your full potential.

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Include genuine and realistic reasons for wanting to teach

In your personal statement, you’ll need to outline the reasons you want to teach. It’s important these reasons are compelling. Applicants regularly reel out clichés, for example: 'I want to give back to society' or 'I want to help children'. These may be true, but what is it exactly you want to give back, and how does teaching help children?

Your reasons need to be developed and realistic. Teaching kids algebra isn’t going to solve the world’s problems, but it might make a difference to individual lives, but how so? Don’t forget teaching has a lot to offer you too. Show your awareness of that.

Demonstrate your understanding of the challenges and rewards involved

Teaching isn’t quite the rosy career many think it is. It’s a seriously challenging profession – make sure you show you recognise this. 

It can also be an extremely rewarding experience, so don’t forget to include the positives.

Show how your experience in schools helped you to understand the role of a teacher

You’re unlikely to be admitted to a teacher training programme without relevant experience. Make sure to include these details in your personal statement. 

Don’t simply recall your experience as a teaching assistant (or whatever you did). Relay what the experience meant for you and how it helped you understand what a teacher actually does.

If you have experience of working with children in other capacities, include the details

Perhaps you were a mentor in a summer camp for children, or you ran a local youth sports team. It’s all relevant. State how the experience will help your career in teaching. If nothing else, working with children will have developed your ability to build a rapport with them.

Draw on other professional experiences and say how they’re relevant

Teaching requires a wide variety of skills. You might have experience in managing people, working within a team or communicating across departments. These are all applicable, so include them and make sure to say how these skills will help you succeed as a teacher.

Don’t forget about your subject

Tailor your application according to the subject you hope to teach. This is particularly important if you’re applying for secondary school training posts. What makes you an expert in the field? What are the challenges facing teachers of your subject? Why do you want to teach it?

If applying from outside the UK, explain why you want to train here

This could simply be a personal reason or otherwise. Admissions tutors want to know you’re serious about training in the UK.

Don’t waffle

Space is limited to around 4,000 characters across 47 lines – make sure every sentence counts.

Give yourself plenty of time

Don’t leave the personal statement until the day before the deadline. You’ll need time to proof and edit it to make it strong and complete.

Don’t keep it to yourself

Try to get feedback on your personal statement from a teacher you know, as well as a university tutor – they’re likely to have a unique insight.

Bear in mind who you’re writing it for

Are you applying for school-based or university-based training? This should have some impact on your personal statement as a university may be looking for something different to what a school wants. Perhaps this will influence whose feedback you’ll listen to more closely.

Get the basics right

Consult DfE’s guide to ensure you’ve done everything correctly. Triple-check everything and take breaks between writing and editing. It’s hard to spot errors when you’re staring at your work for long periods of time.

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