Writing Your Personal Statement and Application Form
When applying for a new post in school, it is common practice to be asked to complete an application form and a personal statement.
The Application Form
The primary purpose of the application form is to share factual information about yourself. This usually includes:
- Personal Details
- Education History and Qualifications
- Previous Work Experience (School and non-school based)
Application form Tips:
When completing the application form ensure that:
- You are completely honest in all the information you share
- You have copies of the qualifications you have listed ready to share – you are likely to be asked to bring these to interview
- The dates you have provided for previous employment are accurate – it’s easy to get these wrong
- There are no gaps in your employment history. For example, if you took a year out or moved out of the profession for a time, include this information.
- You give postal addresses as well as phone numbers and email addresses for your referees.
- Your referees are aware that you are including them in your application and that they are likely to be contacted
The Personal Statement
The personal statement is your opportunity to sell yourself. The quality of your statement is likely to strongly influence whether or not you are invited to interview. The personal statement is where you will get the chance to share your skills, previous experience and what you think you bring to the role / school that you are applying for.
Personal Statement Tips:
- Throughout the statement, focus on the impact you have had in your current role. Don’t just describe what you have done in the past, also explain what impact it had on the pupils e.g. did results go up following an initiative you led or did attendance improve following a new strategy you introduced?
- Keep your paragraphs short and to the point. Make reading your statement easy for the panel – you could consider using sub-headings to separate out the points you make.
- Ensure that your personal statement reflects the job description and person specification of the role you are going for. Try to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria outlined (or as many as possible)
- Be clear about why the specific school you are applying for appeals to you. People won’t be impressed by a generic statement that has been sent to multiple schools. If you have been on a tour or visited the school’s website, talk about what it was that appealed to you about the school.
- Talk about any CPD you have taken part in and how it has impacted on your leadership and teaching practice. How will this help you in the role you are applying for?
- Avoid long theoretical paragraphs. The selection panel are unlikely to be impressed that you have read lots of education books and can quote from them! It is useful to briefly share your own approach to teaching and leadership but make sure it is your own and not just taken from a book.
- Be aware that if the panel has lots of applications, they may not take the time to read through your whole statement thoroughly. Ensure that the key information you want to share is covered early on – you can always expand on this later on.
- Always try to get your statement proof-read by at least one other person. Spelling or grammatical errors will reflect very poorly on you and may even prevent your applications from going any further.