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UCAS -  

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Writing your personal statement for ITT applications

A personal statement refers to a particular type of information required for many application processes. This is required on the UCAS application form for teacher training positions.

What not to include

It is very important that you tailor each personal statement for the specific training posts you are applying for. Do not simply copy and paste an old personal statement into your new application – we want to hear about your suitability for teaching and what you could bring to our children.

Although it is often called a ‘personal statement’ this section of an application does not necessarily require you to give ‘personal’ information about things such as your hobbies although if this is linked to an area of cross-curricular interest and something you could offer to the school as a ‘club’ it may be helpful.

What employers in a competitive job market are more interested in is why you are the best person for the job. So unless it is directly linked to what you can offer in school, we don’t need too many details of your life outside the world of work / work experience or academia.

How to structure it

It is important not to make a personal statement into a dense, unreadable block of text. You need to write good prose in full sentences and break it up into structured and focused paragraphs.

Try to write in a style that makes your statement fresh and slightly different to the formal prose of other application materials. You are trying to sell your charisma and communication skills as well as your professional and academic qualifications or experience. Teaching is about personality too.

Include such things as:

- Events from your education/career to date that make you especially suited to the job (including volunteer work/work experience): it is important to be able to write about these events enthusiastically. Mention school experiences and what you have learned during these; talk about the children! We want to know that you don’t have a rosy view of the rewards of teaching without an understanding of the reality that goes with it.

- What it is about this training route that especially attracts you to it?

- The skills/knowledge base you have that is relevant to teaching. It is a high pressure job!

- What is the unique contribution you can make to the school? Check the school websites for specific aims and mission statements – these can be good guidelines when describing how you can contribute.

- Refer to your interest in the type of school to which you are applying

- Refer directly to the school’s context and then relate that to your own experiences of working with (similar) children if you can

- What can you offer our children – this is one of those applications that isn’t all about you!

- What are your career aims? Try to make your statement as honest as possible; you want to come across as a real person and not simply parrot what you think the school wants to hear. It is a difficult balance to achieve.

School Experience

This is a key part of your application and if you can’t talk with some confidence about recent relevant experience in schools, you may not reach the interview stage. The DfE is helping with the process and you can book some school experience at a school local to you in their on-line system: the School Experience Programme or SEP. This allows you to choose the dates of a visit and ‘book’ it through their on-line system with any participating school in your area. Follow this link:

And don’t forget!

As with all parts of your application, make sure that as many people as possible proof read your personal statement. Nothing says ‘unprofessional’ like a personal statement full of typos or grammar mistakes. No-one wants a teacher whose personal literacy is a concern. Also, although you may think you have expressed yourself very clearly, other readers may be able to highlight sentences or words that are incorrect, irrelevant or which could be more clearly expressed. A good personal statement passes through many drafts, so make sure you give enough time to the writing and re-drafting process.

Ensure you keep close to the word count – not too many and not too short.

We look forward to hearing from you, good luck!