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Writing a Personal Statement


Going for your first NQT post can be a daunting prospect... especially when in teaching, you need to write a personal statement to support your application form.


Schools use your personal statement to help short list candidates for a position by checking off the criteria of the person specification that they can see in your statement. It is always a good idea to write your personal statement alongside the person specification, ensuring that you have included all the "essential" criteria and as much of the "desirable" criteria you can that are assessed through the application.


Where possible, you should also use the language of the school you are applying to - their vision, values, mission and ethos statements will help you here and should be available on the school's website. You will also sometimes find these in the application pack. Read this carefully and then read it again, reading between the lines of what they might be looking for.


Here is an example of the structure of a personal statement for a trainee teacher applying for their first NQT job:


Begin with an impact statement that summarises your philosophy on teaching or that refers to the mission/vision/values/ethos of the school you are applying to:

I believe that it is, as Einstein said, the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. As a passionate teacher, dedicated to ensuring the very best outcomes for all students I teach, this statement resonates with me as I endeavour to awaken joy in all of the learners within my classroom. It was your belief all young people have the right to a transformational educational experience, that will enable them, no matter what their starting point, to fulfil their potential and realise their ambitions that first attracted me to your school as it aligns with my own personal and professional philosophy on education.


Throughout my practice, I constantly encourage pupils to participate and contribute in an atmosphere highly conducive to learning. I have consistently set high expectations of pupils in different training contexts. There are high levels of mutual respect between me and pupils. I am very effective in promoting learners’ resilience, confidence and independence when tackling challenging activities. In my lesson, I generate high levels of enthusiasm, participation and commitment to learning.

Back this up with an example from your training.


I have also assumed a high level of responsibility for the attainment progress and outcomes of the pupils I have taught. I have demonstrated confident judgement in planning for pupil progression both within individual lessons and over time and I am able to articulate a clear and well-justified rationale as to how I am building on prior achievement. Within my lessons, I seek to actively promote engaging and effective methods that support pupils in reflecting on their learning. I have demonstrated that I am able to set appropriately challenging tasks, drawing on a sound knowledge of the pupils’ prior attainment, which has been obtained through systematic and accurate assessment. I regularly create opportunities for independent and autonomous learning. As a result the majority of pupils make very good progress.

Back this up with an example from your training.


In order to plan effective lessons, I draw on my in-depth subject and curriculum knowledge of [your subject or phase] to plan confidently for progression and to stimulate and capture pupils’ interest. Throughout my training, I have demonstrated very well-developed pedagogical subject knowledge, by anticipating common errors and misconceptions in my planning. I am astutely aware of my own development needs in relation to extending and updating my subject, curriculum and pedagogical knowledge in my early career and have been proactive in developing these effectively during my training. I always model very high standards of written and spoken communication in all professional activities. I also successfully identify and exploit opportunities to develop learners’ skills, in communication, reading and writing.

Back this up with an example from your training.


I plan lessons that often use well-chosen, imaginative and creative strategies, and that match individuals’ needs and interests. I am highly reflective in critically evaluating my practice. I am able to accurately judge the impact of my practice on individual and groups of learners and can use my evaluation to inform future planning, teaching and learning. During my training, I have shown initiative in contributing to curriculum planning and developing and producing effective learning resources in my placement settings.

Back this up with an example from your training.


I have been able to quickly and accurately discern my learners’ strengths and needs and I have been proactive in differentiating and employing a range of effective intervention strategies to secure progression for individuals and groups. I have an astute understanding of how effective different teaching approaches are in relation to impact on learning and engagement of learners

Back this up with an example from your training.


I can confidently and accurately assess pupils’ attainment against national benchmarks. I use a range of assessment strategies very effectively in my day-to-day practice to monitor progress and to inform future planning. In my practice, I systematically and effectively check learners’ understanding throughout lessons, anticipating where intervention may be needed and do so with notable impact on the quality of learning. I have shown that I am able to assess learners’ progress regularly and work with them to accurately target further improvement and secure rapid progress.

Back this up with an example from your training.


I have been able to rapidly adapt to the different circumstances in which I have trained, working confidently within the frameworks established in different settings and applying rules and routines consistently and fairly. I have also demonstrated an ability to adapt to remote working and remote delivery in response to the Global Pandemic. I consistently have high expectations and understand a range of strategies that experienced teachers use to promote positive behaviour and apply these very effectively, including use of school sanctions and rewards, and use of praise, in order to create an environment highly supportive of learning. I am able to manage pupil behaviour with ease so that learners display very high levels of engagement, courtesy, collaboration and co-operation. Where it is needed, I actively seek additional support in addressing the needs of pupils where significantly challenging behaviour is demonstrated.

Back this up with an example from your training.


During my training, I have been proactive in seeking out opportunities to contribute in a significant way to the wider life and ethos of the school. I have built strong professional relationships and have demonstrated that I am able to work collaboratively with colleagues on a regular basis. I have taken responsibility for deploying support staff in my lessons and for seeking advice from relevant professionals in relation to pupils with individual needs. I deliberately seek out opportunities to develop my own professional learning and respond positively to all the feedback I receive. I have also demonstrated that I can communicate very effectively, both verbally and in writing, with parents and carers in relation to pupils’ achievements and well-being when required to do so formally, but I am also proactive in communicating in relation to individual pupils’ emergent needs.

Back this up with an example from your training.


I always treat pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher's professional position. I realise the need to safeguard pupils' well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions. I show tolerance of and respect for the rights of others. I do not undermine fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. I always ensure that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils' vulnerability or might lead them to break the law. I am always punctual and have good attendance. I have attended numerous CPD sessions and will continue to do so. I have also completed a weekly duty (before school and at break} and attends daily briefings (whole school, subject or pastoral). I have taken on board the policies of the school and maintain a high standard in all my practices. I have a good understanding of the framework within which I work and my professional duties

Back this up with an example from your training.


End with a statement that implies/assumes you will be invited for interview:

I would relish the opportunity to work at your school and look forward to discussing this further with you at interview.


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