Writing a Postgraduate Teacher Education personal statement
Updated on 23 April 2022
Guidance on how to write a PGDE/CE personal statement and an example to help demonstrate your skills, experience and motivation for teaching.
A personal statement is a short piece of writing (47 lines/4000 characters) which you are asked to submit in support of your application to study a PGDE/CE made through UCAS. It is your opportunity to demonstrate your skills, experience and motivation for teaching.
Before you start
Remember that this is a very important part of your application. Take your time to carefully plan out and practise your statement. It is a good idea to draft your statement in a word document and get some feedback on it before committing to the final version..
- Don't waste space with irrelevant or repetitive information. Be succinct and avoid complicated language and overly long sentences.
- Be specific about what you have to offer. Detail what you have gained from your experiences in schools/working with children. Give appropriate evidence of the skills you possess for teaching.
- Indicate the relevance of other types of experience or skills you possess, e.g. supervising people or sports
- Avoid using negative language. Present any gaps in skills or experience positively.
- Finish with a summary of what you have to offer leave the selectors with a clear understanding of your suitability for the course.
- Let your enthusiasm for teaching and working with children shine through in everything you say.
- Check grammar and spelling thoroughly! Do not rely on the spelling and grammar check on your word processing package alone. Ask someone to proof read it for you.
- If you are cutting and pasting from a word document, remember to check the formatting.
Questions to consider when structuring your Personal Statement
- Why do you want to be a teacher? - What has inspired you; who/what influenced you?
- Why do you want to work with young people? - What appeals to you about working with this age group; what skills do you possess that will help you?
- Why do you want to teach your subject? For primary: demonstrate a breadth of knowledge across a range of curriculum areas. For secondary, show how your subject knowledge is relevant to the curriculum.
- What have you gained from working with young people? - Have you had any experience in schools or working with children in other settings? Reflect upon what you did, what you observed, what you learned.
- What else can you offer? Skills in sports, music, languages, arts and crafts, ICT etc.
This is an example personal statement. There is considerable room for improvement and the notes make suggestions to help you with writing yours.
I am applying for the PGDE course because I have always wanted to be a teacher. I really like working with children and think that I have the right kinds of skills to become a good teacher.
- The above statement is far too short: you are allowed 47 lines/4000 characters so use them.
- Remember to specify whether you are applying f or primary or secondary courses.
- It is not enough to say that you have developed the "right kinds of skills". Be specific about them.
- It is important to have a strong opening statement . It is the first thing the selectors will read so you want to make an impact.
- Think about why you have always wanted to teach and clearly demonstrate.
At school, I was involved with the Primary 1 class when I was in final year. I helped the less able children with reading on a one to one basis. I also help out at my local Brownie pack every week, keeping the girls busy with various activities. I have applied to do the Student Tutoring Scheme.
- When describing experience with children, make sure you are specific about what you learned from the work and the skills you developed.
- You need to demonstrate (by providing evidence) that you have developed/ have the potential to develop skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, problem solving, organisation, planning and time management.
At school I studied a wide range of subjects but the one I enjoyed most was History so that is what I have studied at university. I also took Psychology and Politics in first year and Politics in second year too.
- When describing your studies, remember to show how this is relevant to the subject(s) you will be teaching.
I have been a babysitter for two children for several years and enjoy helping the older child with his homework now that he is at school.
- When describing your experience remember to demonstrate the transferable skills you have gained in this role that would be relevant to teaching. For example with babysitting you could link to the skill of 'behaviour management'.
I am very interested in education generally and keep up to date with current issues by reading the BBC website.
It is not enough to say that you 'keep up-to-date' here. Give a summary of what you have to offer and stating why you should be offered a place on the course.