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How to write a PGCE personal statement

Advice on how to write a PGCE personal statement that shows you’d make a great addition to a teacher training course.

 
CONTENTS
  • What is a teacher training personal statement?
  • How to write a PGCE personal statement
  • Structure
  • Word count
  • What to write
  • Style
  • PGCE personal statement tips
 

What is a teacher training personal statement?

When applying for a PGCE or postgraduate teacher training, you’ll probably have to write a personal statement. This is your chance to say why you’d make a great teacher by highlighting your relevant experiences and passion for teaching.

If you’re applying directly to a university or school, you should tailor your statement precisely to the course you’re applying for.

If you’re applying through UCAS Teacher Training, you can send your application to more than one university. Therefore, your statement should be more generic so that it applies to each one you’re applying to.

In both cases, make sure that your personal statement reflects the nature of the course or courses you’re applying for. Think about, for example, is it school- or university-based training? What age of students will you be teaching? Will you be specialising in a particular subject?

 

How to write a PGCE personal statement

Before you start writing, look at any information you can find about the course and what you must do to apply. Has the university provided any guidance or topics of what you need to cover?

If not, can you speak to one of the course tutors to discuss what they might want to see in your statement? Or can you talk to a current PGCE student and ask what they wrote in theirs?

When you have a good idea of what admissions tutors will be looking for, create a mind map or list:

  • Your relevant academic and practical experiences
  • Areas of the course that you’re most interested in
  • Anything else the university wants you to include

 

Structure

When structuring your statement, you can use your mind map or list to plan what information to put where.

Your structure can look something like:

  • Introduction – about yourself and why you want to do the PGCE
  • Middle paragraphs – relevant information of your academic achievements and experiences of working within education
  • Concluding paragraph – tying up the main points of why you’re the best candidate for the course

 

Word count

If you’re applying directly to the university, check what the word limit for your personal statement is.

If you’re submitting to UCAS Teacher Training, your personal statement can be up to 47 lines of text or 4,000 characters.

 

What to write

Expanding on your mind map or list from before, think in more depth about why you want to teach.

  • What qualities do you have that would make you good at teaching?
  • What do you think are the challenges and benefits of being a teacher?
  • Why have you chosen this particular age group and/or subject?
  • What have you learned from your previous experiences in education?
  • Will you be completing any extra exams or relevant experiences before the course starts?

If you studied education at undergraduate level, your course was probably focused on the theoretical side of the subject. Your PGCE course, however, will be about applying those theories to real-life situations in schools. Your personal statement should reflect your understanding of this.

If you haven’t taught before, what other activities or events in your life suggest that you would make a good teacher? Have you worked with children in different environments?

Admissions tutors don’t just want to see why you think your experiences make you a good teacher. Instead, they want to know that you’re aware of the importance of teaching and the demands that come with it.

  • Why is it important to reflect on your abilities as a teaching practitioner?
  • How will you work on your own development to become a great teacher?
  • What interests you about the education system and its challenges?
  • Do you have any thoughts are on child welfare and social justice?

 

Style

When writing, make sure to use evidence and examples to back up your points. Through your tone of voice, try to show that you are positive and passionate about the work.

To see more information on how to style your personal statement, see our postgraduate statements guide.

 

 

PGCE personal statement tips

  • Ask someone you know to check it through. Even better if you can get feedback from a teacher
  • See if you can speak to other students applying for a PGCE to share thoughts and ideas of what to write
  • Similarly, reach out to PGCE staff at your university – or a teacher you know – they have experience that might be valuable to you!
  • Any time you can spend in a school will be a valuable addition to your application. If you haven’t already, see if you can arrange to volunteer with one locally
  • If you’re invited to an interview, you’ll be asked about what you’ve written on your statement, so be prepared to talk about it in more detail
 

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