A well-written NQT personal statement is the bridge between you and an interview for the school of your choice. I know, I hear you scream – but how do I write a personal statement?
Googling examples of NQT personal statements can sometimes prove helpful, but it can also lead to more confusion. There is a reason for that, whilst it’s helpful to get some guidance on what people are looking for, the simple fact is, making it personal is what makes you stand out, so sticking rigidly to someone else’s template is a risky road to take.
Of course, there is an alternative. Protocol Education can help you find an NQT job for September without the need to create handcrafted personal statements. Our NQT 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 NQT Pool here. However, if you absolutely must write a personal statement, 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 NQT Personal Statement is not going to cut it. School’s can see straight through a generic statement.
Where do I begin, though, you ask? Here are some tips for writing your personal statement.
Read, Read, Read.
The 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 experience. Then look at their website, their social media, their Ofsted report, and anything else you can get your hands on.
Get Personal with the Person Specification.
Next up, you need to look at what they have written as 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, your extra-curricular interests, your approach to teaching, the teaching specialisms you have.
Now it’s time to get your skeleton structure in place
Why have you decided to become a teacher?
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 hasn’t been covered yet. Have they said that experience in a particular area would be beneficial, knowledge of a specific learning style, or right now, perhaps experience of online teaching and technical expertise would be helpful? This is where 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.
Do they have 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? Tell them! Perhaps they have a dedicated SEN department, and you have volunteered in this area for the past couple of years.
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 important to you. And explain 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!