Making a strong application through UCAS Teacher Training is a crucial element in achieving a place on a PGCE.
Your Personal Statement can often be the deciding factor when tutors are considering who to call for a formal interview. As admissions tutors may read through hundreds of applications, the presentation and content of your information are critical.
Before you begin, make a few notes to focus your thoughts and allow yourself a couple of weeks to fine tune your statement before finally submitting it. Show it to your friends and family, be prepared for constructive criticism and use a spell check facility to ensure your spelling and grammar are accurate.
You are applying for highly competitive programmes of study so don’t be afraid to sell yourself and outline your relevant achievements.
Things to Include in Your Personal Statement
You have only limited space for your Personal Statement so it is important that you mention all the key information necessary to make a good first impression. Be concise and do not repeat information that you may have included elsewhere in the application.
You should open your statement with an effective sentence and end with a brief paragraph as summary. You should also try to answer the following questions, particularly those relating to school experience:
- Why have you chosen this particular course?
- Why do you want to teach this particular subject / age range?
- How many days have you spent working in school?
- What did you observe during your school experience and what types of work did you undertake in the school?
- What did you learn from your school experience, especially in the classroom?
- Which age range did you work with?
- Have you had any experience outside of the classroom with children or young people?
- Do you have any relevant work history you could include?
- Do you have any hobbies or interests you could emphasise?
- Do you have a specific career direction in mind?
The UCAS Teacher Training process may seem daunting at times but effective planning and preparation, including dedicating sufficient time to writing on your Personal Statement, is the key to a submitting a strong application.
It is particularly important to be clear about your time spent in school, making sure you highlight how much time you spent on your school experience, the age range of pupils, and what you learnt.
If you are applying to Edge Hill University and would like any additional advice about writing a UCAS Teacher Training Personal Statement, please contact Course Enquiries on 01695 657000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information is also available on the UCAS website.
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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