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 allows for up to 4,000 characters (47 lines of text) with an introduction, main body and conclusion. It’s a good idea to write your statement in a word document and paste it into the application form box to keep track of the word limit.
Your opening sentence should be memorable, but without being overly dramatic or unoriginal - a good way to start your statement is by explaining what inspired you to get into teaching.
There's no single way to structure the main body of your personal statement, but make sure every point you make is supported by evidence and you've explained its significance. If you mention some work experience, be sure to explain what you learned and how this experience will help you in your career. If you're discussing your skills, provide examples of where you gained them and how you'll apply them to the classroom.
Your conclusion should reinforce your enthusiasm and drive for a career in teaching, acknowledging the commitment and hard work it will require but also showing your excitement and anticipation for getting started.
Don't waste valuable space talking about a specific university or school, as you can only submit one personal statement for all of your choices. Luckily, as all training providers are looking for similar information from you, this shouldn't be a problem.
See personal statements for postgraduate applications for more guidance.
Tips on what to include
When planning out your personal statement, ask yourself what it is your training providers are looking for. Make sure your statement answers the following questions:
- Why do I want to teach? - show that you know about the challenges and rewards of teaching. Maybe talk about any lessons you have observed/taught, what went well and how you would have improved on them. Discuss teaching styles used and the use of technology.
- Why do I want to teach this age group/at this level? - what appeals to you, use examples of your experience with this group.
- What are my strengths? - include the relevance of your degree and subject knowledge.
- What experience do I have? - include any experience you have of volunteering with children, such as coaching a sports team, youth work or working at a summer camp. Give examples of how this developed your teaching skills.
- What personal skills/abilities do I have? - for example initiative, resilience, practical experience, creativity, time management, managing people, organisational skills, listening skills, leading or working in a team and dependability. To strengthen your application, link the skills you mention to relevant examples of how or where you've developed them.
- Do I have any geographical restrictions? - if you don't currently live in the UK, why do you want to study here?
It's crucial that you don't copy and that the statement you provide is your own work. UCAS screens all personal statements using its similarity detection service, Copycatch, and will alert your chosen universities if your statement is flagged as containing copied content. This could significantly harm your chances of securing a place on a course.
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 extracurricular 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
- Discover how to structure a teaching CV.
- Find out what it's really like to be a primary or secondary school teacher.
- Search postgraduate courses in teaching.