Personal statement for PGCE secondary

Jude Hanley, Careers adviser
October, 2022

If you want to teach children aged 11 and over you'll need to apply through the Department for Education's (DfE) Apply for teacher training service

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 secondary

I became interested in teaching after realising how much I had benefited from excellent and passionate teachers. They exuded a real sense of enthusiasm for learning, which inspires me to pass on that passion.

My love for computing developed during my A-levels after discovering an aptitude for programming and networking. This drove me to study more, going on to gain a 2:1 in BSc Computer Systems and Network Engineering from the University of England. Studying at university developed my passion for computer sciences and taught me a range of transferable skills that I believe are fundamentally important to teach young people. This is demonstrated in my dissertation, which was awarded a first, investigating The Internet of Things (IoT) and how it can help shape educational establishments of the future.

While at university I decided to volunteer as a teaching assistant in a mainstream school. By my final year I was able to take responsibility for running activities in the classroom, balancing the needs of each child and managing behaviour issues. In addition, I regularly helped run the lunchtime computer club. In working with more vulnerable students such as SEN learners I saw the role played by support staff in maintaining control of the classroom, particularly with those who can be disruptive when under stimulated. I learned the importance of differentiating lesson plans to educate and engage students with special needs and the power of strategies such as a well thought out seating plan and friendly competitiveness in learners. I saw students develop within the classroom as a result of my determined support and these good working relationships are beginning to result in higher grades. I have liaised well across several departments to communicate information about students in an organised and diplomatic way.

One highlight was when I supported a young person with ADHD who attended computer club. They had been struggling to remain focussed and on task in class but were able to focus well when completing tasks on a computer. As a result, they suffered from poor behaviour, disengagement and low self-esteem. I negotiated with some class teachers to allow this pupil to use a tablet during their lessons. The pupil could then access any PowerPoint presentations being delivered to enable them to go back and reread specific slides. They could also access links to visual resources to enhance their understanding of the subject being taught. Homework was posted online for them to complete and submit electronically. This was such a success that the school invested in more tablets to be used by a range of students across the school. This further inspired me to want to become a teacher to enable me to support others who may be facing barriers to learning that could be tackled through the introduction of technology.

To support my professional development further I undertook short work placements in two other schools. Volunteering in Key Stages 1 and 2 confirmed my desire to teach Key Stages 3 and 4. I became aware of the many demands placed upon teachers and their time and I believe that the project management, communication and problem-solving skills gained during my degree will be invaluable assets within the classroom and beyond. I was exposed to a range of pedagogical models and teaching methods, which is something I look forward to learning more about on a PGCE.

One of my hobbies is to make short films about how to use different forms of technology and software packages. I post these on YouTube as instructional videos. These have proved to be very popular and I am considering how I can use this type of activity to benefit the students I teach. One option is to support students to create their own videos to help deepen their understanding of a subject, which they can then choose to upload to the school's virtual learning environment to aid their peers if they wish.

During school placements I witnessed the challenges and rewards present in a school environment. Teachers need to be resilient particularly when working with students who find school difficult, do not want to engage and do not want to accept support. However, I look forward to working in the education system and believe I could help and inspire students to develop their future aspirations.

While researching for my dissertation I spoke with secondary school teachers about the challenges their students faced and one that came up often was digital poverty. In many inner-city schools, pupils do not always have access to up to date and reliable computer technology to allow them to keep up with the advances in technology that they’ll face when seeking employment. One of my aims would be to investigate how the use of integrated technologies, as well as fostering links with local companies and the community, could result in a cost-effective solution allowing all students equal access to computer technology.

Technology has become its own form of literacy due to its prevalence in everyday life. Numerous careers use at least one aspect of Microsoft Office or Google Drive daily; balancing budgets on spreadsheets, creating slides to be presented, or attaching documents to emails to communicate important information. Allowing students to learn and refine these skills prepares them for life beyond the classroom.

With technology being present in many classrooms, and not just to teach computing skills, the introduction of the IoT could enhance learning activities even more. It could provide improved connectivity, introduce artificial intelligence and virtual reality to the learning environment as well as cloud computing platforms. I am excited about the future of education and how I can be an active part of it.

When writing your personal statement, you need to include:

  • What inspired you to choose teaching.
  • Why you wish to teach at secondary level.
  • Your knowledge of the pressures and rewards of teaching.
  • The personal qualities and skills that will make you a good teacher.
  • How you might contribute to the wider school environment such as running extra-curricular activities and clubs.
  • Any experience of working with children and what you learnt through doing this.
  • Evidence of your knowledge related to the subject you hope to teach.
  • Any relevant work or unpaid experience.
  • Your degree, degree modules and dissertation topic where relevant.
  • Any relevant skills, hobbies and achievements.

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page