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Becoming a Teacher

There are a number of ways to train to become a teacher including the traditional PGCE route and the newer School Direct and TeachFirst routes, as well as some additional employer based routes.

Please read the full details on teacher training options

Please look at our overview of teacher training options available at Hope such as PGCE and the Schools Direct route.

All teacher training routes (with the exception of TeachFirst although experience will still help your application) will require you to have had recent work experience in a school with the age group you intend to teach. It is very important to get this before you apply and should be a priority if you are considering a career as a teacher.

There is also a requirement to have a minimum of a Grade C Maths and English GCSE (Science as well for Primary Teaching) before being accepted onto courses. Some institutions ask for higher grades so it is advisable to check before applying. Some institutions will accept equivalency tests so there are options if you do not have the required GCSEs, but again it is recommended to start thinking about this early.

Applications for Teach First places are made through their website and applications for other routes are made through UCAS.

Personal Statements

The personal statement will form the main part of your application. You have a maximum of 47 lines to outline your Experience, Skills, Knowledge and Motivation for applying for a PGCE and a career in teaching. This will require you to write in a concise manner to include all the relevant information.

To write a good personal statement, you will need to consider including the following:

  • Why You Want To Be A Teacher -Think of what inspired you to teach. Try to convey your enthusiasm for the profession and show a logical decision making process, which you have then backed up with subsequent classroom experience to confirm your choice. Avoid phrases like: ‘I have always wanted to be a teacher’.
  • Why This Particular University, Subject & Age Group - Research the universities and courses you are applying to and briefly outline the reasons for your decision-making. Include the relevance of your previous studies; are there any modules you especially wish to highlight?
  • Relevant Classroom Experience - What kind of activities you've been involved with, what challenges you've faced and how you've overcome them. What experience did you gain of lesson planning and teaching styles? Did you have to adapt your approach, for example, to accommodate a wide range of abilities within the class? How did the experience you gained improve your skills/suitability to become a teacher?
  • Demonstrate That You Have The Essential Skills To Be A Teacher - Use examples to back up these skills, particularly from your classroom experience and include communication skills, listening, empathy, adaptability, determination, resilience, flexibility, IT skills, organisation, time management, creativity, problem solving, leadership and team work amongst others.
  • What Else Can You Contribute? - Schools increasingly look for candidates who can demonstrate other skills/interests which could be useful to the school as a whole. Include extra-curricular interests or any other areas of study, such as Sport, Art, Music, Drama, Languages, and IT Skills. If you have any additional experience this is another opportunity to highlight any transferable skills you have demonstrated.
  • Your Knowledge Of Teaching & Education - Use examples from your own experience to say what you have learned from your placements. It would be also be useful to carry out some additional reading, so try The National Curriculum Online, The Department For EducationBBC News Education & Family and TES Connect.

There is also a tool to help with writing personal statements available on the Department for Education's website.

Extra Support

Once you have made a draft copy of your personal statement, it may help to Get Advice & Information with a Careers Adviser to look over your application before sending.