How to write a good personal statement for PGCE application

If you’re applying to train as a teacher you’ll be required to write a personal statement as part of your application.

Take your time writing your personal statement. It’s your first chance to make a good impression so it's well worth investing time to develop a clear structure and style of writing.

It’s a good idea to proofread your statement thoroughly and get others to read through and check for typos, grammatical errors, style, and tone.

What's the personal statement for? 

The personal statement is crucial to your PGCE application; it is used primarily to decide whether to invite you for an interview. A poorly written personal statement could end your teaching career before it has started!

This is your chance to demonstrate what you have to offer as a teacher. You should also explain why you want to teach a particular subject or age range, and how your skills and experience will help you become a great teacher. It’s your chance to show your motivation, commitment and teaching potential and an opportunity to show your enthusiasm for teaching a particular subject or age group.

Remember, you only get one opportunity to write a personal statement for both cycles of applications, so it’s important to keep in mind that you should avoid creating tailored personal statements for each university.

How to write and structure your personal statement

The personal statement is split into two sections totalling a maximum of 1,000 words. It’s important to make sure you do not repeat yourself and to take time to ensure that each section is organised coherently. Divide your writing into paragraphs, each dealing with a particular aspect of the question.

Section 1: Why do you want to teach?

(Up to 600 words).

This is the place to talk about why you think you would make a great teacher. You can include: 

  • what has led you to choose teacher training
  • your understanding of the demands and rewards of the PGCE course and of the teaching profession
  • the personal qualities that will make you a valuable asset to a school
  • details of any paid or unpaid experience you have of working with young people and what you learnt
  • details of any other experiences which you can bring to the teaching profession. Think about any ‘transferable skills’ or qualities which you have developed which may be relevant to teaching.
  • If you are a career-changer, what have you been doing and what are your reasons for the switch to teaching?
  • your thoughts on children’s wellbeing and the education system

Your personal statement should tell us why you want to teach, your skills and about any experience you might have of working with young people or in the education sector. If you are taking any exams or additional study before starting the course, particularly if this relates to your eligibility to join the course, we want to hear about it.

It should also show that you understand the education system, what challenges teachers face and that you’re engaged with issues around education.

If you’ve not taught before, think about any other things you’ve done that might demonstrate the skills you’ll need to be a teacher (your transferable skills).

Although it’s a good place to expand on your skills and experience, this shouldn’t be the main focus of your personal statement as the rest of the application will showcase this.

Section 2: Why are you suited to teach your subjects or age group?

Up to 400 words.

Remember to not repeat anything you have already said in section 1!

If you’re writing a personal statement for secondary teacher training, use this section to describe your knowledge and experience of the subjects you’ve chosen. Any work experience in the field will be of interest.

What universities are looking for

Universities want to see your passion for teaching and understand why you think teaching this subject or age group is the right career for you.

Your personal statement should be original and honest. Try and avoid clichés or writing what you think we want to hear. All we really want to hear are the real reasons you’re applying to study a PGCE and become a teacher.


If you’re writing a personal statement for primary teacher training, say why you’d like to teach this age group. If you are particularly interested in certain primary subjects or have relevant experience in them, you can talk about that here too. 

You could talk about:

  • any relevant work or unpaid experience
  • your degree and degree modules
  • your other relevant qualifications, such as A levels
  • any relevant skills, interests or achievements
  • your understanding of the national curriculum

Questions your personal statement should answer

  • Why do you want to be a teacher? 
  • Why do you want to teach a particular subject, Key Stage or age group? 
  • What are your strengths? 
  • What experience do you have and how has this influenced your desire to teach? 
  • What skills do you have that would be useful for teaching

The finer details

Your personal statement should be:

  • no more than 1000 words
  • written in the first-person 
  • grammatically correct - we suggest writing in a document before adding to your application
  • your own work, don’t copy from anywhere online 
  • structured correctly with a clear introduction, evidenced paragraphs and a conclusion 
  • proof-read before being submitted

And finally, be prepared to answer questions about what you’ve written in your personal statement at the interview stage!

Find out more about how to get into teaching. 

Students in the London Met Graduate Centre

Find out more about how to get into teaching

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