Sara Smith offers tips for completing your application.
Getting your references ready
You'll need two references for your application.There are some guidelines about who your referees can be, depending on your circumstances:
- If you're currently at university, or you got your degree within the last five years, one reference must be from someone at your university who can make comments about your academic ability. This could be a tutor or head of department.
- Your second reference can be from someone who you know from work, or who can provide an insight into your character and potential – but you must not use family or friends as referees.
- If you left university more than five years ago, you can choose two professional referees who can comment on your suitability for teaching.
- If you're applying for a School Direct (salaried) course, one of your references must be from an employer.
Writing your personal statement
When you submit your application via the UCAS Teacher Training portal, you'll need to write a personal statement. This is your chance to make an impression, but the space on the form is limited to 4,000 characters, split across a maximum of 47 lines, including spaces and line breaks – so use it wisely.
You can use our application tool to help prepare this statement. But as a general overview, it's a good idea to cover these key points:
- Explain why you will enjoy teaching – and, more specifically, why you will enjoy teaching your chosen subject and/or age group. What qualities do you have that will work well in the classroom?
- Emphasise the relevance of your previous studies and any work experience to your chosen subject or age group. Make sure you give examples of what you have learnt from your experience, and how it will have a positive effect on your teaching.
- Include examples from your school experience and any other experience that you may have of working with children, perhaps as a classroom assistant, youth worker, or as a volunteer in a school. If you don't have any experience, it's worth getting some before you apply – it really strengthens your application.
- Provide plenty of evidence of your skills and qualities. Communication and motivation are important skills for teachers, so offer examples of times when you have successfully used such skills.
The UCAS Teacher Training form also includes a separate section where you provide further details of your school and work experience, so bear this in mind if it will help keep you within the character count.
Your work and school experience statements
You can add as many examples of school and work experience to the UCAS form as you like. This can include work placements and observations, as well as any paid and unpaid work. When you add an example, you can provide an accompanying description of up to 500 characters, detailing what was involved.
If you have any issues including insufficient detail within the character limits, you can send the schools or universities you apply to your CV, or a summary of your work history. You can only do this after you have submitted your application, and have received a welcome email from UCAS, as you will need to include your Personal ID.
This may be particularly relevant if you're applying to the School Direct Training Programme (salaried), which is mainly aimed at career changers with at least three years' work experience. (Some schools may accept applications from high-quality graduates with fewer than three years' experience onto the salaried programme – especially in maths, physics, chemistry, languages and computing).
Make sure you take the time to give a clear outline of your experiences and when they happened. You can also highlight any skills from previous work that could be applicable to teaching, although if the character limit restricts you then you may choose to include this in the personal statement section.
Read Stephen Mitchell's tips on applying for a teacher training course
The application process
There are two phases in the application process – 'Apply 1' and 'Apply 2':
- During Apply 1, you can apply online via UCAS Teacher Training to a maximum of three or your preferred training providers simultaneously. The Apply 1 phase is open now.
- Apply 2 opens on 2 January 2015. If you have not had an offer during Apply 1, you can then apply using the Apply 2 option. This involves applying for one course at a time, and you can keep going until you're successful.
You must apply via the Apply 1 route first. The Apply 1 phase is open until 15 September 2015, and Apply 2 is open until 9 October 2015.
Once you've found a course you want to apply to, it's a good idea to speak to the school or university before submitting your application to ensure the vacancy is still available and to find out more about their recruitment process.
Submitting your application
When you're ready to apply, you can submit your application online via UCAS Teacher Training
Once you've applied, you won't be able to change or edit your personal statement. If there is any further information that you would like to make your chosen institutions aware of, you should contact them directly with your full name and personal ID (which is supplied during the application process). Please don't send any additional information to UCAS Teacher Training as it won't be added to your application.
You'll be told within 40 days whether you've been successful or not. If you're successful, you'll be invited for an interview; our tips on what to expect may come in handy for this. Once you have a decision from all of your chosen courses, you have 10 days to decide which offer, if any, you want to accept. You can do this via Track on the UCAS website.
You can find more useful tips and information on the UCAS website
Undergraduate teacher training applications
Undergraduates apply to teacher training courses using a different process on the UCAS website