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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In my early education, reading and writing were a challenge, at the age of nine I received a diagnosis of dyslexia bringing with it extra support from the school. This gave me a real determination to overcome my disability. It drove me to study hard, achieve high GCSE and A-level grades and go on to achieve a 2:1 in criminology at the University of England. Although this is not a national curriculum subject, working through and coping with my dyslexia at university helped me nurture my own love of learning. I was able to take more responsibility for my own learning, leading to a deeper understanding of how I and others learn. I developed the ability to work to a deadline under pressure both independently and in groups, something I feel is directly relevant to teaching. Other relevant skills I have gained are data analysis, essay writing, critical analysis and researching.
I began spending one day a week, then two days a week in a primary school which has strengthened my love of learning. I spent time in both Key Stage 1 and 2 classrooms and have so far completed 40 days in a school. I observed lessons such as English, maths, Spanish, science and art, listened to pupils read, and went on to work with small groups. I started to grasp lesson planning and discuss with teachers current educational issues such as the changing curriculum. I was able to observe how different teachers handle classroom and behaviour management, particularly picking up on the importance of maintaining an assertive yet sympathetic style. All of this shapes my classroom practice to become more effective, for example seeing someone moving up a reading band as a result of the extra time I gave to them. Recently I saw a child making good decisions with their behaviour as a result of the plans we made together. I am gaining experience currently with a year three class of 30 children, working with them one to one, in groups and leading the whole class. Learning to think on my feet numerous times a day is challenging but rewarding especially when I receive positive feedback on my lessons. Picking up on some of the skills learned at university I have been able to train a number of staff in the effective and confident use of ICT.
This summer I worked as a camp counsellor in America with a group of nine girls. I shared their cabin and was responsible for all their needs including their physical and emotional wellbeing. I needed many of the skills I had seen in the classroom to be an excellent counsellor and I was able to use my singing skills to set up a choir who performed to the rest of the camp. Resilience, good judgement, enthusiasm, energy, patience, creativity, responsibility, leadership, reliability and stamina were all essential. Looking back I can see my time at 'Camp Wonderful' grew my confidence, leadership and communication skills, which I look forward to bringing back to the classroom.
In my studies, classroom work and at camp I continue to see the rewards of inspiring and teaching primary school children. I chose to specialise in Key Stages 1 and 2 as I feel it is demanding but hugely rewarding to work with children at this vital formative period in their educational development.