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Teacher training : Applying for teacher training

Popular with graduates, teacher training is very competitive. Let Prospects guide you through the application and interview process and how to write a high-quality personal statement...

Personal statements

As well as completing an application form, you will also need a personal or supporting statement. This is where you need to be sure you demonstrate strengths, skills and suitability for teaching.

Your personal statement should include an introduction, main body and conclusion.

It's important to:

  • be concise and try not to exceed two sides of A4;
  • use good English;
  • use paragraphs;
  • be clear and precise, use examples based on your own experience;
  • tailor your personal statement according to school/age group/local authority;
  • be original and honest, don't exaggerate;
  • avoid clichés and jargon;
  • avoid general statements such as 'I've always wanted to teach';
  • be positive and enthusiastic.

Before drafting your personal statement, consider the following questions...

  • Why do I want to teach? - convey your reasons for wanting to teach. Talk about a teacher who inspired you, any lessons you have observed, what went well and how you would have improved on them. Discuss teaching styles used and use of technology.
  • Why do I want to teach this age group/at this level? - what appeals to you, use examples of experience with this group.
  • What are my strengths? - relevance of your degree, your subject knowledge.
  • What relevant experience do I have? - include any previous work experience, use examples of how this developed your teaching skills.
  • What personal skills do I have? - such as initiative, determination, creativity, time management, organisational skills, listening skills, teamwork, flexibility, versatility, dependability.

Take a look at our example personal statement.

Each personal statement should be unique and personal to you so it is not advisable to copy the example. All applications made through UCAS Teacher Training are put through a Similarity Detection Service. Instead use the guidelines and the example and produce your own, personal version. Selectors want to get an insight into who you are and why you are suited to teaching.


Before completing an application form you need to:

Professional skills test

Before being accepted onto a teacher training course, you will need to pass numeracy and literacy skills tests. The results of the tests will help ITT providers decide on the suitability of candidates.

The tests can be booked up to three months before you need to submit your application. Your initial skills tests will be free, but you will be expected to pay for resits.

For more information see Professional Skills Tests for Trainee Teachers .


If you are successful with your application, the next step will be an interview. These can take a variety of forms, but no one gets into teaching without being interviewed. On the plus side, if you're being interviewed then the trainer feels from your application that you are a very positive candidate.

Preparation is the key to success with any interview, so make sure you do your research. Teaching policies change on a regular basis, so it's important you keep up to date.

Make sure you:

  • research the course and institution;
  • are clear about why you want to teach;
  • think about your teaching experience, whether working or observing.

If you have any concerns about the interview, contact your ITT provider.

You can generally expect the interview to include:

  • a one-to-one and/or panel interview;
  • a presentation - you may or may not have time to prepare for this;
  • activities involving role play;
  • a short teaching session.

Interviewers will be looking for candidates who:

  • have good communication skills;
  • have clear and accurate spoken English;
  • are enthusiastic about the subject they want to teach;
  • display a good understanding of primary or secondary education.

For more interview advice see interview tips.

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
September 2013

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