School Direct personal statement

Jude Hanley, Careers adviser
October, 2022

Take a look at this secondary English School Direct personal statement to find out how to match your skills, abilities and experience to what is required

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 School Direct personal statement

My experiences working as a tutor in a tuition centre and volunteering in your school have inspired and motivated me to pursue a teaching career. After graduating from the University of England with a first in English with creative writing, I taught GCSE and A-level English in a tuition centre for three fulfilling years. I soon learned to update and differentiate my lesson plans to help improve learning outcomes and adapt to changes made in the curriculum. It helped me to think on my feet if students didn't respond to what I had planned, and I had to alter the focus of the lesson.

Tutoring a range of students including SEN and EAL to top grades at GCSE and A-level, encouraging them to keep focused and interested, can be challenging. The tuition centre had very little technology, so I drew on my problem solving and creative skills to communicate in an engaging way. My role included assisting with their preparation for exams by developing individual comprehensive learning programmes for each pupil and providing consistent practical and pastoral support throughout their educational progress.

Recently, I have been fortunate to participate in and observe lessons with you at Spring Road Academy and have been inspired by the ethos of the whole school. It has been interesting to learn about classroom and behaviour management and reflect on how different teachers handle classroom situations combining a sympathetic and assertive approach. I am learning the effectiveness of non-verbal communication in behaviour management, combined with the power of setting a positive tone from the beginning of a lesson. It is encouraging to see this all coming together to create a productive and successful learning environment for the whole class. I have enjoyed gaining experience of teaching a class, working out which teaching style will be the most effective with each class at the time. I hope to observe more strategies to reflect on and try out in the future.

I am fully aware of the expectations placed upon teachers including the compilation and maintenance of accurate records of student’s achievements. This is something that I was responsible for regarding the pupils I taught at the tuition centre and my supervisor praised my efficiency with these, which in turn made their job easier. The significance of undertaking accurate and timely assessments of all students' work is essential to enable appropriate levels of support to be offered, allowing students to progress effectively. I recognise that excellent time management skills are also an essential part of a teacher's toolkit and I demonstrated these on many occasions during my time working at the tuition centre.

I can see from your school website that you offer your students a range of extra-curricular activities. As a keen fiction writer and blogger, I would be keen to start a creative writing after school club. This would be an excellent opportunity to engage with students outside of formal lessons and hopefully inspire a love of writing within them.

One of the most fulfilling experiences I gained was volunteering this summer for a month in a small rural school in Benin, Africa. I was teaching English and encouraging them to explore learning through creativity, which we were told was unusual for them. Despite the language differences we were able to get to know, teach and hopefully inspire the children. This confirmed my desire to become a teacher.

Alongside A-levels in psychology, fine art and sociology, I studied A-level English language and literature. During this time, I was inspired by my teachers, admiring the skill there is in encouraging a whole class to want to achieve their potential. I discovered a passion for teaching English, a subject I now see many children struggle to become interested in. I would enjoy the achievement of encouraging students to appreciate English, as it is incredibly beneficial in so many ways.

Successfully achieving my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award was one of the highlights of my time at sixth form college. I had to step outside of my comfort zone on many occasions, especially during the expedition section. For the volunteering section I chose to help at the local Oxfam bookshop, which I did for 12 months. This was both fun and rewarding as I got to handle a breadth of literature, both fiction and non-fiction. I find English language fascinating, reading and learning about the subject for my own interest, often thinking about how I can use it with students to give them a broader understanding and make English more real and meaningful.

During my English with creative writing degree I studied many new and fascinating topics but my favourites included the module on children's literature, as this gave me an opportunity to re-read some of my favourite childhood novels including Swallows and Amazons, Little Women and Tom's Midnight Garden, as well as discovering new favourites such as Philip Pullman's Northern Lights. I'm hoping that I can promote a love of discovering old and new texts among the students I teach. I also surprisingly discovered that I enjoyed the poetry module, which resulted in my achieving one of my highest grades. I hadn't previously fully understood how to interpret and understand the meaning behind poems, but this module facilitated my gaining that knowledge. With both poetry and literature from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries being mandatory elements of the secondary national curriculum for English, I am excited about the prospect of extending the student's knowledge of these and hopefully helping them to gain their own lightbulb moments.

You should:

  • Visit the school you hope to undertake your training with and tell them why you want to work there.
  • Think about your teaching ethos and vision. Refer to issues such as learning and teaching strategies, government policies and back it up with great examples from your classroom experience.
  • Give examples of your own classroom management such as behaviour management strategies.
  • Describe your knowledge of the subject you are applying to teach.
  • Outline relevant content from your degree or training such as subject or age specialism. Tell them about your own learning, this could be seen in your dissertation topic and any classroom-based modules.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the national curriculum related to the subject you hope to teach.
  • Talk about how you've broadened your knowledge for example any outside experience or subject specialisms.
  • Explain about any added value you bring through your skills and interests. This is where you can mention youth work, summer camps, volunteering and other work with children.

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