The personal statement is your opportunity to let training providers know about your qualities, skills and expertise, and why you want to teach.
You can only complete one personal statement for all the choices you make in both Apply 1 and Apply 2. You can’t change it or create different ones for university or school-based choices. The providers you’re applying to understand this, so they won’t be expecting you to say specific things about them or their programmes. However, if you’re applying for programmes in a particular subject or age group, it would be helpful to explain why you have chosen them, and the skills and attributes you have that make them appropriate for you.
I read hundreds of UCAS applications for teacher training every year, and I cannot stress how important the personal statement is.
Claire Harnden, Director of Initial Teacher Training at Surrey South Farnham SCITT
What to include
You do need to think carefully about the things that all your chosen providers will want to know about you. You’ll probably want to include things like:
- your reason(s) for wanting to teach
- evidence that you understand the rewards and challenges of teaching
- details of your previous education and how you have benefitted from it
- any other work with young people, such as helping with a youth club, working at a summer camp or running a sports team
- the range of relevant abilities and skills you can bring to teaching, for example, practical experience, managing people, working with or leading a team, and communication skills
- any reasons why there may be restrictions on your geographical mobility
- why you want to study in the UK, if you don’t currently live here
- whether you’ve taken part in the School Experience Programme (SEP) organised by the National College of School Leadership (formerly the Teaching Agency)
These are the things all training providers want to know – whether they’re School Direct, a university or a SCITT – so there’s no need to worry that you can’t write different personal statements. Read what SCITT director, Claire Harnden, looks for in a teacher training personal statement.
In addition to the details you give in the school and work experience section, you can also expand on your experience of teaching, such as visits to schools, classroom observations or working as a teaching assistant. To help, read Chris Chivers' tips for completing your teacher training application.
Whatever the route, the process will have similar elements, which are worth considering, so that the appliation has the greatest chance of making an impression.
Chris Chivers, experienced ITT tutor and mentor
How to write it
You can use up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including spaces) – whichever comes first. Some word processing packages calculate character and line counts differently from the UCAS Teacher Training system, so you might need to redraft your statement if there’s a discrepancy between the counts.
- Write in English (or Welsh if you’re applying to Welsh providers) and avoid italics, bold or underlining.
- Get the grammar and punctuation right and redraft your statement until you’re happy with it.
- It’s a good idea to write your personal statement in a word processor first, then copy and paste it into your application.
Don’t copy anyone else’s personal statement or from statements posted on the internet. Make sure your personal statement is all your own work.
We screen all personal statements across our Copycatch similarity detection system. If we find any similarity, your application will be flagged – you and all your choices will receive an email alert and this could have serious consequences for your application.
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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.