Personal statement for PGCE primary

Jude Hanley, Careers adviser
October, 2022

This is your chance to explain why you want to teach primary age children and convey your enthusiasm for teaching

This example should be used for guidance only. Copying any of this text could significantly harm your chances of securing a place on a course.

Example personal statement for PGCE primary

In my early education, reading and writing were a challenge. At age 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 aim to emulate the support provided to me to ensure that no child is left behind in their learning due to barriers they may experience. I believe that being dyslexic will give me a unique insight into the support requirements of dyslexic children but I am aware that children face many other personal, social and emotional challenges alongside learning disabilities. Recognising these barriers and helping each child to have the confidence to succeed is one goal I hope to achieve as a teacher.

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. This all 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.

For the past two years I have been a volunteer leader with my local Cub Scout group, consisting of 30 boys and girls aged between eight and ten years. This encompasses weekly meetings, trips and overnight camps. During camps, along with the other leaders, I am responsible for the children's physical and emotional wellbeing. I need many of the skills I have seen in the classroom to be an excellent leader. A highlight was being able to use my craft and sewing skills to instigate and lead a mural making project with the completed mural now proudly displayed in the scout hut. Resilience, good judgement, enthusiasm, energy, patience, creativity, responsibility, leadership, reliability and stamina are all essential. Being a volunteer leader has helped me grow my confidence, leadership and communication skills, which I look forward to bringing into the classroom.

Through my studies, work experience and volunteering, I have received and given feedback. I know how essential it is to provide constructive feedback that will help the recipient learn and develop rather than become demoralised. I have witnessed teachers providing meaningful and specific feedback to pupils and how this raises their self-esteem. I have learned from this and practised it in my own interactions with children, with positive results.

I wish to specialise in working with 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. I am aware that the children within each class could be at vastly different levels in relation to their abilities.. Being able to confidently ascertain their levels and differentiate the work accordingly is something that I know I will need to master.

I achieved high grades in law, biology and statistics at A-level. I believe these subjects have provided me with a broad knowledge base to enable me to teach the full primary national curriculum. Even though I didn’t study any design-related subjects at college, I do consider myself a creative person so would relish the chance to teach subjects such as art, music and drama alongside the core subjects of English, maths and science.

My criminology degree provided me with many relevant skills including data analysis, essay writing, critical analysis and research. I also developed the ability to work to a deadline under pressure, both independently and in groups, something I feel is directly relevant to teaching. Learning about the social inequalities in society alongside modules on safeguarding have provided me with a deeper insight into the affect these things can have, not only on a child but also the family and wider community. 

During my degree I undertook a one-month work placement with a homeless charity. I was tasked with trying to find valuable work experience to boost the self-esteem and self-worth of the individuals. This was a humbling and eye-opening experience. I met some truly amazing people both within the charity and among the service users. The many knock backs I received from companies helped to build my resilience and determination culminating in successfully finding an organisation that was willing to offer experience and training in the catering industry.

I believe that schools should be a safe and welcoming environment where children feel comfortable to express themselves, which in turn will aid their ability and willingness to learn. I hope that I will one day be able to provide this to all the children I teach.

Tailor your statement to primary teaching and include:

  • Why you'd like to teach this age group.
  • Elements from your degree that have helped to prepare you to become a primary school teacher.
  • Skills you have developed and where you gained them, such as communication, patience, resilience and planning.
  • Any examples you have working with the age group you wish to teach. This could be classroom based as well as through play schemes, youth groups and summer camps.
  • Any specialist training such as safeguarding, first aid or mentoring.
  • How your own educational background has influenced your desire to teach.
  • Your understanding of the primary national curriculum.
  • Your thoughts on children's wellbeing within the education system.

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