How to write a good PGCE personal statement

What's the personal statement for? 

A personal statement is crucial to your PGCE application. 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. 

Take your time writing your personal statement. It’s your first chance to make a good impression so it's well worth investing a few hours to develop a proper structure and edit it. 

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.

What it should include

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. 

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. It’s more important for you to tell us why you want to teach and how any skills or experience will help you realise this.

What universities are looking for

Universities want to see your passion for teaching and understand why you think teaching 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. 

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 4,000 characters
  • 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! 

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