Find out what you'll need to include in your teaching personal statement to impress training providers and gain a place on a teaching course

What is a teaching personal statement?

Your personal statement is used to explain why you want to become a teacher and your suitability for the role. While your application form briefly outlines your qualifications, skills and work experience, your teaching personal statement is where your personality shines through.

Take your time with it; be prepared to receive constructive feedback and write a few drafts before you send it off.

It's important to:

  • use examples based on your recent teaching experience
  • tailor your personal statement according to the school/age group
  • use good, clear, written English, using first person terms such as 'my' and 'I'
  • be original and honest
  • avoid clichés and general statements, such as 'I've always wanted to teach'
  • demonstrate a passion for teaching.

While it's crucial to get it right, your teaching personal statement is only a small part of the application process. Find out how else you'll need to prepare to get a teaching job.

How to write a personal statement for teaching

The personal statement is split into two sections totalling 1,000 words and is an important part of your application. It's crucial that you don't copy and that the statement you provide is your own work.

Section one is around 600 words and is where you explain why you want to teach and what qualities you have that would make you a great teacher. Show that you know about the challenges and rewards of teaching, discuss any lessons you’ve observed and what you would do differently and explain why you want to teach a particular subject or age group. Talk about any experience you have outside of the classroom and any thoughts you have on the education system and welfare of children.

For the second section you can write up to 400 words. If you want to do primary teacher training you’ll need to explain why you’ve chosen this age group and if you want to do secondary teacher training you’ll use this section to show your subject knowledge. You could talk about your degree subject and the modules within it, any relevant skills or interests you have and your understanding of the national curriculum.

See personal statements for postgraduate applications for more guidance.

The nature of your personal statement will vary, depending on the type of teaching you'd like to pursue. Take a look at some of our example personal statements to get an idea of how they differ.

Personal statement for PGCE primary

As well as focusing on roles in which you've gained experience with primary-age children, a PGCE primary personal statement should demonstrate your well-rounded personality and any skills that could be useful for the range of extra-curricular activities primary schools provide (such as the ability to read music for recorder lessons, or drama experience to help with school plays).

Personal statement for PGCE secondary

Many good PGCE secondary personal statements acknowledge the challenges involved in teaching older pupils and provide examples of where the candidate has worked to overcome these problems. As secondary teaching roles are geared towards teaching a specific subject, training providers are looking for more evidence of your subject and degree knowledge.

Personal statement for School Direct

If you're applying for the salaried School Direct route, you should discuss the experience you've gained in the classroom prior to your application. One of your references will need to be from an employer, or someone who can comment on your work ethic and suitability for teaching. Don't worry if your degree is unrelated to the subject you'd like to teach - you may still be able to apply by completing a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course.

Find out more

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