How To Write an ECT Personal Statement and Land Your First Job as a Newly Qualified Teacher

nqt personal statement structure

About over 1 year ago By Scott Owen

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If you’re an early career teacher (ECT; still known in Wales as an NQT), then a well-written ECT personal statement is the bridge between you and an interview for the school of your choice. But how to write a personal statement?

While Googling examples of ECT personal statements can sometimes prove helpful, it can also just lead to more confusion. There’s a reason for that. Whilst it’s helpful to get some guidance on what people are looking for, at the end of the day, the personal touches on your statement are what make you stand out. Sticking rigidly to someone else’s template is a risky road to take.

Most people will admit to finding personal statements tedious things to write, particularly when tailoring them to multiple different applications. Protocol Education can help you find an ECT job for September without the need to handcraft dozens of personal statements.

Our ECT Pool consists of a single application form, a few chats with your consultant and interviews in schools where you want to work.  Find out more about the ECT Pool here .

However, if you’re dead set on a particular job which expects you to write a personal statement as part of the application process, here’s how you do it.

So, let’s think about the actual purpose of the statement, show the school you are the right person for their job, the right fit for their school, and how you will benefit their students.

Did you notice how many times I used 'their' in that sentence?

This is because a one-size-fits-all ECT Personal Statement is not going to cut it. Any school hiring manager can see straight through a generic, templated statement.

Where do I begin, though, you ask? These tips for writing your personal statement should help you get started.

Read, read, read

The very first thing you need to do is read all the documentation included in the application pack. The letter, the job description, the person specification, the application guidance, everything!

Get out your highlighter pen and start reading and colouring in anything that stands out as important. Focus on important things to the school, unique to the school’s ethos, approach, values, and anything that is particularly aligned to your skills and work experience.

Get personal with the Person Specification

Next up, you need to look at what they have specified the essential criteria for the role. Put each point on a sheet of paper and start jotting down notes underneath each showing how you meet that criteria – it could be a qualification, teaching experience, depth of subject knowledge, your extra-curricular interests, your approach to teaching or your particular specialisms.

Get your skeleton structure in place

Good supporting statements share a fairly consistent anatomy. Here’s a handy NQT personal statement example structure:

Your area(s) of interest/expertise: Subjects, age ranges, SEN, all the details relevant to your desired career route and the needs of their role.

Your teaching experience – Include a general overview and a specific example that lets them visualise you in the classroom, how you work, how you support their pupils with their teaching and learning.

Address the Person Spec - This is where you demonstrate how you meet any additional criteria in the Person Specification that haven’t been covered yet. Have they said that experience in a particular area would be beneficial? Are they looking for knowledge of a specific learning style? Do they want some technical expertise to help with blended learning? This is the part to include all that extra detail.

Your USP - Your unique selling point goes in your NQT personal statement here. This is where you make yourself stand out from the crowd – try to answer the question ‘why would you hire you? It may be a specific skill, achievement or experience, your approach to teaching or work, or your alignment to their mission and ethos.

Let’s say you're applying for an SEN primary school that has a sensory garden, and you are an experienced gardener who has been involved in community gardening? Tell them. Do they run a chess club, and you played chess for the county? Let them know. Perhaps they have a dedicated SEN department, and you have volunteered in this area for the past couple of years. Whatever value you can add, it’s on you to make them aware of it.

Sum up what you have learnt in your teacher training and experience so far and how you are looking to develop your skills. Talk about why teaching is so important to you, and explain clearly why you want to work for that particular school.

Finally, the ‘SO-WHAT’ test

Once you’ve written everything up, apply the so-what test to each point.

For every point you have included, ask yourself – so what?

How does this point show I can benefit the students – and if it doesn’t, re-write or remove it. This document is not about what you want for yourself; it’s about what you can give to the individuals you are teaching, and highlighting this throughout is what will make your NQT Personal Statement shine!

Oh, and one last thing – proofread your statement, and proofread it again!

​Alternatively, you could just join our ECT Pool to bypass it altogether and start teaching in your first role as an early career teacher. The choice is yours.

Join the ECT Pool

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Your NQT Personal Statement – 13 Tips to Make it Stand Out

When you’re applying for your first NQT teaching job it can be quite challenging. You might feel like you’re all alone, with no one to help and advise you. We don’t want you to struggle and perhaps lose the opportunity to get that teaching position you have set your eyes on. Therefore, we’ve created this post just for you.

Once you’re ready to start looking for a teaching position, one of the first things you will need to prepare is your application. There are usually three main components to an effective application, and these elements are:

  • The application form
  • A supporting statement or letter of application
  • An executive summary to show how you comply with the criteria, and that you are the person the school is looking for.

In this article we will be focusing on your NQT Personal Statement. 

Your NQT personal statement is likely to be the first impression that you will make with this new school or NQT pool and an ideal opportunity to show your unique qualities that make you the best person for the position on offer. 

Therefore, you will want this opportunity to promote yourself to the school in the best way possible. So it’s important that your writing is coherent, focused and clearly explains your reasoning behind wanting to be a teacher. In addition, a strong NQT personal statement will set you apart from other candidates in the competitive marketplace. 

Just like a resume and cover letter for a regular job, your personal statement should be rewritten for every position you apply for.

Never use the same NQT personal statement for multiple applications. Generic personal statements are super easy for employers to spot. And after all, you want to shine, right? Plus, you don’t want to copy someone else’s statement. Your employer might screen all personal statements using a similarity detection service like Copycatch. This could really hurt your application right out of the gate. And quite possibly end up in the bin. 

Remember, your personal statement is your chance to show your personality and enthusiasm, relevant to the school and prove you understand what they are looking for.

Your personal statement also shows your communication skills. That’s why you want to grab their attention, just like you want to with your students at the start of every lesson.

What is the NQT personal statement?

The NQT personal statement is an important document which schools use to understand why you want to become a teacher and whether you are suitable to teach at their school.

Of course, your application form will lay out all your qualifications, your skills, your strengths and weaknesses and also any relevant work experience. But your NQT personal statement is where you allow your unique personality to shine.

It is important to put your heart into writing your statement. And be prepared to write multiple drafts.

How do you write an effective NQT personal statement?

Your application and your NQT statement are going to be the first steps in securing the position you are looking for. Therefore, you obviously want to make a great first impression. Be ready to go through multiple drafts. Take your time, and get feedback from friends and family members.

I’m sure you have a ton of questions, such as:

  • How do I write a killer, successful NQT statement?
  • Where do I start?
  • What should I include in my NQT statement?

These are all important questions. And I’m sure you have many more. So, let’s dive in and show you how to write an NQT statement which will stand out and give you the best chance of getting hired in your chosen teaching position.

Are you ready to write your killer NQT personal statement?

Great. Here are some important tips to help you.

1. The first rule when writing a successful NQT statement is to know your audience.

Before you start, it’s a great idea to step back for a minute and put yourself in your hiring manager’s shoes.

Think about what's important to them. What are they passionate about? What are they looking for? How can you improve their life?

When you think about what your hiring manager is looking for, you’ll have a much better chance of writing a concise and effective personal statement.

It’s a good idea to write a list of 10 things you think will be important to them.

However, the most critical step at this stage is to do your research and find out exactly what is required for this specific application. Different schools or LEA’s will have different requirements for the personal statement and should have guidelines somewhere in their application advert or portal.

Clearly your first task is to make sure that the personal statement you prepare is tailored to the requirements that have been set out for that job.

2. What is your objective?

  • What is the purpose of your personal statement?
  • Why should they hire you?
  • What action are you trying to get the reader to take?

You need to be clear on this before you start writing your personal statement. If the answer isn't clear to you, it certainly won't be clear to your potential employer.

3. Why do you want to be a teacher?

Seems a simple question on the surface. But this is a great opportunity to show you’ve thought through this question. You could mention a past teacher who inspired you. Or the challenges and rewards of teaching. You could also talk about any lessons you have observed or taught previously which impacted you. You could also discuss particular teaching styles and your interests in using technology in the classroom.

Key tip: Think about creating a story for this question. Remember, the hiring manager is first and foremost a human being. Many new teachers make the mistake of forgetting this vital point. You are equal to them in this respect. Use emotional language to touch your reader. Help them imagine themselves in the situation you are describing. Help them feel what it was like in the situation that drove your desire in becoming a teacher. This is a major key in rousing your reader’s emotions.

4. Make sure you start your personal statement strongly.

Just like a great book or movie, your opening sentence should stand out. Make it memorable, without being overly dramatic. Effective personal statements often start with what inspired you to enter teaching in the first place.

  • Did a high school teacher inspire you?
  • Was it your own experience of learning?
  • Was it a good or bad teacher you had previously?

This is a great opportunity to show some passion. Like point no.3 above, use some emotional language.

5. Why do you want to teach a particular age group?

Be ready to explain why a certain age group appeals to you. Mention specific examples of your experience with this age group.

For example, anyone who has taught kindergarten knows how much energy the students have. Lessons are always full on. And as cute as the kids are, if your lessons are not jam-packed with active, high-energy games, you’re going to lose them. 

Similarly, elementary students are at a stage where they are slowly beginning to think for themselves and many of them think they already know it all. At this age role-playing is effective, as the students like to see themselves as tiny adults. 

If your chosen age group is teenagers, you’ll be aware that this age group has its own challenges. Being a teenager has never been an easy task, and with so many changes going on in their lives and their bodies, their confidence is up and down. 

So, when you answer this question, you’ll need to show that you can relate to what is going on in your chosen group’s world. Show you are able to look back to when you were their age, relate to the age group and show how you keep your lessons relevant and exciting.

6. What experience do you have?

Relevant teaching experience is always going to help you when applying for any position. But it is also important to reflect on how that experience has helped you develop as a teacher. If you haven’t had much classroom time:

  • Do you have any experience in voluntary teaching?
  • Have you coached a sports team or been involved with a summer camp?

Obviously, as a new teacher, you can’t recite years of experience. Help your hiring manager imagine you in action. For example, you could describe a particular lesson which was either a success or failure. Think about retelling a memorable or challenging experience with a student, or a description of what your classroom looks and sounds like on a typical day. This will be much more valuable to enable them to envision your teaching experience than to cite pedagogical terms or talk vaguely about your teaching experience.

Always use specific examples of how your experiences have developed your teaching skills.

7. You should highlight your achievements, strengths and skills

Explain what you can bring to the school. Show how you differ from the other candidates. You could mention past experience and achievements, your unique talents, as well as your professional goals. You could also add specific classroom strategies you have developed and how they helped your students.

Many applications will make it clear that they want you to cover your specific qualifications, skills and understanding of elements of the National Curriculum, your classroom and educational skills plu your short and long term goals for making a difference to the education of your pupils.

The exact requirements should be set out in the application guidelines which should also tell you what you need to focus on.

8. How long should your NQT personal statement be?

This is not an essay. It’s simply a summary of you, your skills and your experience, and how they relate to the position you are applying for. Therefore, you should be specific and keep your personal statement short and informative.

This will help you keep your personal statement under a widely recommended  500-word limit. The school will not be impressed by minor childhood achievements, so keep your statement pertinent and focused.

That said, again, check the specific requirements in each case. Some applications will welcome a longer NQT personal statement, as is the case with Lambeth where we are happy to read up to three pages of A4, but no more.

If there is no guidance then the 500 word range is a very solid guide.

9. Make every word count

It’s a good idea to take a leaf out of a professional copywriter’s book here. Don’t waffle. Make every word count. Use powerful words where possible, without being overly dramatic. Avoid weak words like may, maybe, hope, wish, try, and perhaps. Instead, use words like will and can to help your personal statement command attention.

10. Take your time

Edit and then re-edit your personal statement. Besides being difficult to read, misspelled words and grammatical errors will destroy your credibility. Once you think you’ve written a great personal statement, it’s a good idea to leave it for a day or two. Then come back and see if you can improve it.

11. Read your statement out loud

This next tip is super-effective, and one many people fail to do. Read your statement out loud. If you do this, you’ll spot areas that don’t flow properly. And if you stumble when reading your statement out loud, you can be sure your potential employer will have the same trouble.

Key tip: Why don’t you record yourself as you read out your statement? This is simple to do with your phone. Then play it back and see if you can spot areas you can improve.

12. Let friends and relatives read your personal statement

Make sure whoever you ask to read your personal statement knows you want them to be critical. The whole purpose of this exercise is to improve your statement, not to make you happy that they love it. Choose your feedback team carefully. 

13. Finish strongly

The way you finish your personal statement should reinforce your enthusiasm for your career in teaching. Acknowledge that hard work is necessary, but also make your excitement stand out.

Your personal statement for PGCE primary

You should explain the experience you’ve gained with primary-age children.

The PGCE primary personal statements usually demonstrate your personality and the various skills you have which would benefit primary schools such as being artistic, your musical talents or your sporting prowess. 

All these types of skills would be very useful during primary schools’ extracurricular activities.  

Your personal statement for PGCE secondary

In this type of personal statement, you will want to make it clear you understand the challenges of teaching older students.

You could mention specific examples of situations and challenges you have faced teaching this age of students, and how you overcame them.  

You’ll also want to document how your degree ties in with the position you are applying for.

Final thoughts on your NQT Personal Statement

So, that is the nuts and bolts of what your NQT personal statement should include. The basic foundation for an effective personal statement is that it’s all about the pupils. What the school wants for the pupils, what you can provide for the pupils.  

You should always write your personal statement, and indeed your whole application from the angle of what will benefit the pupils, not what’s best for you.  The school is not interested at this stage in what’s good for you, it’s more interested in what’s good for its pupils, and if you can provide that. 

Now you know the structure of a strong NQT personal statement, we hope you will be in a perfect position to write an effective statement to get that dream job you’ve had your eyes on.

There’s more on the specific requirements of what Lambeth are looking for in the NQT personal statement for the Lambeth NQT pool on pages 10 and 11 of the NQT Information Pack which you can download here .

Remember that, as we said at the start of this article, each job you apply for should come with clear requirements for the application and hopefully some guidance. In the case of Lambeth we have a requirement for your NQT personal statement to clearly cover how your skills, knowledge and experience meet the requirements of being an NQT, and we outline a set structure that helps you do that.

Download our NQT Information Pack now to learn more.

Are You Now Ready To Start Teaching?

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Tlr payments: what are they plus all the key facts, classroom behaviour management: 11 critical tips, ‘why do you want to be a teacher’ how to answer this very common interview question, why become a teacher 25 compelling reasons.

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nqt personal statement structure


  • mrsstrickey
  • Jan 16, 2021

Writing a Personal Statement

nqt personal statement structure

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

You can download the word version of this

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Writing Your NQT Personal Statement

Top Tips for Writing Your NQT Personal Statement

While there are many moving parts when applying for a job as an  Early Career Teacher  (formerly known as an NQT), the most important of them all is your personal statement. The application form is for you to lay out your qualifications and skills. But your personal statement is where you can shine through as a candidate. It’s an opportunity to sell yourself, highlight your personality and explain why you would be an asset to their school.  

It’s not an easy thing to write. But as many successful ECTs can attest each year, it’s certainly not impossible.   

To give you the best chance to succeed, we’ve put together six top tips that will help you create a personal statement that lands you an ECT interview at your dream school. 

1. Tailor your statement to each school 

As an Early Career Teacher, you’re probably applying to a large number of schools at once. When you’re in the middle of your busy PGCE year, it might feel like a waste of valuable time to edit your personal statement for every job application. In fact, it’s the most important thing you can do.  

Every school is different, and so every application you send should be different. Take the time to read the job advertisement carefully, have a look through their website, and their latest Ofsted report. Make a list of the exact requirements of the position, plus what is most important in the school’s ethos, and connect all these to your own passions and experience.  

2. Craft a killer opening line

Just like a great novel, your opening sentence should stand out (for the right reasons). Effective personal statements often start with a brief explanation of what inspired them to become a teacher in the first place, or why they’re excited to be applying for this particular position.  

3. Focus on the age group you will be teaching 

Rather than saying you enjoy teaching a particular age group, show that you understand the challenges (and how to overcome them) that come with those particular students.  

For example, if you’re applying for a job within a secondary school that has a sixth form, you might want to show how you have helped students with UCAS applications. Or if you’re applying for a primary position, you could demonstrate why it’s important to keep an element of play within your lesson plans.  

4. Highlight how your experience has develop

A list of your working experience is a necessary part of your CV, but it’s not what schools are looking for in your ECT personal statement. Instead, you should use this as a space to give your own perspective on how all this experience has shaped your outlook as a new teacher.  

Whether you want to talk about classroom time, a school trip, or coaching a youth sports team, specific examples of how your experiences have improved your skills will give the school’s hiring team a fuller picture of what you’d look like in the role.  

5. Show off your strengths and skills

Use your personal statement to demonstrate what you, as an NQT, can bring to the school that no other applicants can. Achievements, professional goals, strategies you’ve developed; all of these will highlight what makes you unique and how you (and only you) can specifically help that school.  

6. End on a strong note

Just like your pupils’ best essays, your conclusion should mirror your introduction. Reinforce your enthusiasm for teaching and the school your applying to. 

Finally, before you click send, take the time to triple check your statement for any errors!  

How to skip the ECT personal statement 

If you’d prefer to avoid writing a personal statement altogether, then Teaching Personnel is here to help.  

Our  ECT Pool  is the most efficient way for newly qualified teachers to start their careers. We will actively promote you to schools in your local area and help you prepare to nail the interview.  

As soon as you register, our educational recruitment specialists will create a detailed profile of your skills, abilities, personality, and professional goals. We use all that information to match you to jobs at local schools. This saves you precious time writing out many detailed applications. 

Find your first job as an Early Career Teacher  –  register for the ECT Pool today .    

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Teaching personal statement examples

Find out what you'll need to include in your teaching personal statement to impress training providers and gain a place on a teaching course

What is a teaching personal statement?

Your personal statement is used to explain why you want to become a teacher and your suitability for the role. While your application form briefly outlines your qualifications, skills and work experience, your teaching personal statement is where your personality shines through.

Take your time with it; be prepared to receive constructive feedback and write a few drafts before you send it off.

It's important to:

  • use examples based on your recent teaching experience
  • tailor your personal statement according to the school/age group
  • use good, clear, written English, using first person terms such as 'my' and 'I'
  • be original and honest
  • avoid clichés and general statements, such as 'I've always wanted to teach'
  • demonstrate a passion for teaching.

While it's crucial to get it right, your teaching personal statement is only a small part of the application process. Find out how else you'll need to prepare to  get a teaching job .

How to write a personal statement for teaching

Your personal statement should be between 500 and 1,000 words and is an important part of your application. It's crucial that you  don't copy  and that the statement you provide is  your own work .

This is your opportunity to:

  • write about any relevant skills and experience that you have
  • explain your understanding of why teaching is important
  • detail why you want to become a teacher
  • list any extra skills or experience you have such as volunteering or first aid.

See  personal statements for postgraduate applications  for more guidance.

The nature of your personal statement will vary, depending on the type of teaching you'd like to pursue. Take a look at some of our example personal statements to get an idea of how they differ.

Personal statement for PGCE primary

As well as focusing on roles in which you've gained experience with primary-age children, a PGCE primary personal statement should demonstrate your well-rounded personality and any skills that could be useful for the range of extra-curricular activities primary schools provide (such as the ability to read music for recorder lessons, or drama experience to help with school plays).

Personal statement for PGCE secondary

Many good PGCE secondary personal statements acknowledge the challenges involved in teaching older pupils and provide examples of where the candidate has worked to overcome these problems. As secondary teaching roles are geared towards teaching a specific subject, training providers are looking for more evidence of your subject and degree knowledge.

Personal statement for School Direct

If you're applying for the salaried School Direct route, you should discuss the experience you've gained in the classroom prior to your application. One of your references will need to be from an employer, or someone who can comment on your work ethic and suitability for teaching. Don't worry if your degree is unrelated to the subject you'd like to teach - you may still be able to apply by completing a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course .

Find out more

  • Discover how to structure a teaching CV .
  • Find out what it's really like to be a primary or secondary school teacher .
  • Search postgraduate courses in teaching .

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The Teaching Couple

How to Write an ECT Personal Statement

When you are applying for an Early Career Teacher position, one of the most important things that you will need to submit is your personal statement. This document is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the selection committee and showcase why you would be a great addition to their school. To make sure that your personal statement stands out, follow these tips.

Table of Contents

Write a unique statement for each school.

If you’re an Early Career Teacher, then you understand how important it is to edit your personal statement for each and every job application. It can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it in the long run. Each school is unique, so your application should reflect that.

Read the job advertisement, website, and latest Ofsted report carefully. Make a list of requirements for the position and what is most important to the school’s ethos. Connect your passions and experience to these things.

For example, if the job advertisement asks for someone who is ‘passionate about teaching’, think carefully about what experiences you have had that demonstrate your passion for teaching. It could be a time when you overcame a difficult challenge in the classroom or a moment when you made a real difference in a student’s life.

Opening line

Your opening sentence is analogous to the starting line of an amazing novel–it needs to be attention-grabbing (for all the right reasons). Highly effective personal statements generally start with a short explanation of what originally inspired them to enter the teaching profession, or why they’re looking forward to applying for this precise position.

8 Things ECTs Can Expect in Their Induction years

Be specific

When discussing your experience, always try to be as specific as possible. For example, rather than just saying that you’ve worked with “disadvantaged students,” go into detail about what kind of disadvantage they faced and how you helped them to overcome it. This will give the selection committee a much better idea of your teaching style and capabilities.

Keep your target audience in mind when writing

It’s more impactful to SHOW an employer that you understand the complexities and how to manage them instead of simply telling them which age group you prefer teaching. For example, if you’re vying for a job at a secondary school with a sixth form, illustrate how you’ve assisted students in the past with UCAS applications. If primary schools are your thing, explain why keeping an element of playfulness is essential to successful lesson plans.

Demonstrate your enthusiasm

When you’re writing your personal statement, make sure to show enthusiasm for the role you’re applying to. This is especially important for Early Career Teachers, as they might not have as much experience in the classroom as other candidates.

One way to do this is by including examples of how you’ve gone above and beyond in your current role. Another way is to share how you plan on contributing to the school community if you’re successful in securing the position.

How has your working history developed your practice

Although including a list of your work experience on your CV is necessary, it shouldn’t take up much space on your ECT personal statement. The focus of this document should be on how all of this past experience has affected your perspective as a new teacher. Use examples of your prior experiences to show the school’s hiring team how you would excel in the role.

Outline your plans for the future

If you’re an Early Career Teacher, then chances are you haven’t been in the field for too long. Even if you only have a few years of experience under your belt, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have long-term goals. Describing your plans for the future shows that you’re committed to the teaching profession and that you have a clear vision for your career.

Strengths and skills

Show your potential employer what makes you the best candidate for the job by discussing your unique skills, experiences, and goals in your personal statement. Are you a whiz with technology? Do you have experience teaching in an inclusive environment? Are you trilingual? These are all qualities that would set you apart from other candidates and make you an asset to any school.

A powerful ending

Just as you would carefully revise one of your students’ best essays, make sure to proofread and edit your statement before sending it off. Be sure to express how much you love teaching and why the school you’re applying to is a perfect fit for what you’re looking for. You want the selection committee to remember you for all the right reasons, so make sure your statement leaves a lasting impression.

By following these tips, you can be confident that your Early Career Teacher personal statement will make you stand out from the rest of the pack.

Check for mistakes!

Remember, your personal statement is a reflection of you as a professional. Any grammar or spelling errors will reflect poorly on you and could cost you the job. Be sure to have several people proofread your statement before you submit it. By following these tips, you can be sure that your Early Career Teacher personal statement will make a lasting impression

Simple Personal Statement Example:

I am immensely passionate about teaching and firmly believe that every child has the right to a high-quality education.

I am currently in my final year of university and during that time I have had the opportunity to work with students from a wide range of backgrounds. I have also had the pleasure of working as a mentor to a group of children, which has given me invaluable experience in supporting others.

I am committed to continuously developing my practice and have recently completed a course in assessment for learning. I am also interested in pursuing a master’s in education in the future.

As an Early Career Teacher, I would be committed to continuously developing my practice and expanding my knowledge in the field. I believe that every child has the right to a high-quality education and it is my mission to ensure

I believe that I have the skills and experiences needed to be an excellent Early Career Teacher and would be a valuable asset to your school. I am eager to share my knowledge and passion for teaching with your students and would be honoured to join your team.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

What should go into a Personal statement to become an ECT?

Your Early Career Teacher personal statement should highlight your passion for teaching, as well as your unique skills and experiences. Be sure to mention any courses you’ve taken that have prepared you for the role, and describe how you would excel in the position.

How long should an ECT personal statement be?

Your personal statement should be around 500 words in length. This gives you enough space to discuss your skills and experiences, as well as your goals for the future.

What goes into a cover letter to become an ECT?

Your cover letter should briefly introduce you and highlight your interest in the position. Be sure to mention any relevant skills or experiences you have, and explain why you would be the perfect candidate for the job. Thank the reader for their time and consideration, and express your excitement for the opportunity to join their team.

Do you need to write a CV as an ECT?

No, you do not need to write a CV as an ECT. However, it is always beneficial to have one on hand in case the school you are applying to requests it. CVs are typically used for academic positions, so if you are applying for a teaching role in a school, they may request one. Be sure to tailor your CV to the specific position you are applying for.

If you have any questions about what to include in your Early Career Teacher personal statement or cover letter, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for help. With these tips, you can be sure that your application will make you stand out from the rest!

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Learning & Teaching

...and other words

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12 December 2020

...personal statements.

nqt personal statement structure

Applying for an NQT Post  Writing a Personal Statement

A personal statement is usually requested to support an application for a teaching position. The statement serves to help potential employers shortlist candidates for interview.   It should summarise key skills and interests, set out strengths and experience, and demonstrate sound writing in standard English.

This brief article sets out some tips and principles to guide you to write a good statement, which is accurate, clear and economical. It includes a suggested structure - in the form of a writing frame - to support you with the process.

  • There is no need to write at length about wanting to be a teacher if you are already on a teacher training programme.
  • Write economically; two A4 pages max, as a guide. But do note and include specific expectations from the employer.
  • Give concrete examples of what you do in the classroom which has made a difference to pupils and their learning.
  • Avoid cliché, quoting too much of the Teachers’ Standards or appearing arrogant (by bragging, for instance).
  • Write in error-free English. Your application is likely to be rejected if there are any spelling or punctuation mistakes, or if your grammar is flawed.

Before sending off your statement make sure it's checked and edited carefully. If there are obvious errors or the opening is unnecessarily convoluted then your hard work may be wasted. Ask someone you trust to read through your statement for you, for their honest opinion on its clarity, economy and accuracy. 

Then, hit send. Good luck!

DJA For more support with the application and interview process, see the following posts:

Demo Lessons...

Interview Day...


This is brilliant!! I was looking for some guidance to write my personal statement, and came to your page to see if there was anything for guidance! This is perfect!

nqt personal statement structure

Hi Suchana, I'm glad to hear that you found this article useful. Daniel

Please add your comments & views. No tricky verification required... Regards, DJA


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