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How To... Write Your Teacher Training Application

Submitting an application for teacher training can be a daunting task, especially when faced with writing a personal statement. Knowing how much to write and what content to include can be a minefield, so we've compiled a quick list of things to consider when writing your personal statement

Things to know before you start...

1. You will use the same personal statement for each provider you apply for

The Department for Education (DfE) Apply portal will allow you to submit an application to up to four ITT providers. This means that your personal statement has to be broad enough to apply to multiple courses, without sounding non-committal. This makes writing your personal statement quite tricky!

2. You may be eligible for a teacher training adviser

Some applicants may be eligible to apply for an adviser from the DfE to support them with their application for teacher training. You'll need a 2:2 or higher in a bachelor's degree with honours, or be in your final year of study and be predicted a 2:2 or higher.

3. References are not requested until you accept an offer

One of the biggest changes by the DfE this year to applications is the process of requesting references. Previously, references were obtained as part of the application process, and providers would be able to see references when your application is submitted. Now, reference details are submitted as part of your application, but referees are not notified of your reference request until you accept an offer from a provider.

These changes have been designed to assist career changers in their move into teaching. Many were put off at the thought of requesting a reference from their current employer as part of their application - now, applicants can list their current employer as a reference without fear of letting them know they are moving into teaching with an assured place.

4. If you're not successful the first time...

Providers have to provide you with feedback on your application in the event of a rejection, whether this be at application stage or interview stage. Feedback will appear on your application, and you will be notified via email. Read through your feedback and make the appropriate

Tips for writing your application

1. Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar

One of the most common mistakes we see on applications is failure to pay attention to spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG). It might not seem too important, but in teaching having a good level of SPaG is essential, as you will be modelling writing and spelling to children in the classroom. To help, ask someone to proofread your application, whether that be a family member, a friend, or a teacher training adviser.

You may also want to use software to help you identify any errors. This could be using word processors such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs (which have in-built spell-checkers), or browser extensions such as Grammarly. Make sure any software you use is set to English (UK), and that the changes it suggests sound correct before you approve them!

This applies not only to your personal statement, but your application as a whole. Check all areas for SPaG, including your personal details and work history sections.

2. Focus on why you want to teach

In your personal statement, the emphasis should be on why you want to teach. This should be backed up by examples of skills and work experience that you have (even if it is not school related!). Focus on your transferable skills and what you know about the teaching profession already.

While your experience is important, don't fall into the trap of repeating your full work history - you should use your previous experience as examples of how you have key skills required to be a teacher, and what you learnt from these experiences that will help you with your teacher training. Make sure it is all relevant to why you want to teach!

3. Do your research!

If you already work in a school, showcasing your skills and passion for teaching can seem much easier to do. However, the best personal statements are not always created from experience, but from research and a good understanding of what it means to be a teacher.

Research key topics in the teaching profession before you start writing. This will give you a focal point for our experience and skills on, making it easier to demonstrate why you're ready for teacher training and passionate about the profession. Think about your transferrable skills and how they will help you with things such as professionalism in the workplace, behaviour management and even safeguarding

4. AI is a supportive tool... not an application creator

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has grown massively in the last 12 months, and it can be very tempting to use AI to write your whole personal statement. However, AI-created applications are vague and impersonal, with generic and unusual language often highlighting applications completely written using AI.

You can use AI platforms to help you with your personal statement, but they should be used as a tool to assist your writing. You can ask it to help you re-word sentences, generate ideas to include in your statement, or even help you condense the number of words you have written! Make sure you check anything it produces thoroughly, looking out for American spellings or any incorrect information that it generates. Remember that it is a tool, not a content creator!

5. Pay attention to your whole application

While the personal statement is undoubtedly a significant part of your application, it is important that you pay equal attention to all sections. We commonly see major mistakes in other areas such as work history or reference details, which can hinder your application even if your personal statement is strong.

Make sure your personal details are inputted correctly, and that you provide your full work history on your application. If you have any gaps in employment, make sure these are sufficiently explained i.e. was in full-time education, or on parental leave.

Reference details are also extremely important. You should provide accurate referee information, including how they know you and in what capacity. Remember, references are not requested until you accept an offer.


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