Our Fantastic SCITT Leader, Lucie Welch, Shares Her Top Tips For Those Applying For Initial Teacher Training Programmes This Year
Some of the most frequent questions Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers get asked are…
‘What makes a good teacher training application?’ and ‘How can I make my application stand out?’
While the passion and enthusiasm will need to come from you, here are some simple but effective tips to ensure your application stands out in the pack.
1. Know your stuff!
It is essential that you do your research before you start the application process. Teaching in the UK differs from many other countries in the world and there are things you need to know before you apply. It’s important to know the age range you want to teach, the kind of training course that will suit you best and the type of school you’d like to work in.
Make sure you understand your chosen provider- whether this is a University, a SCITT or another route into teaching.
What makes that provider right for you? What do they have to offer as your progress through your training journey?
2. Talk about why you want to teach.
ITT providers will receive lots of applications.
When sifting through these, providers are looking to see your passion and commitment shine through – facts are important of course, but they also need to know about the experiences that have led you to applying!
Did a particular teacher inspire you? Did a certain life experience make you want to become a teacher?
Familiarise yourself with the teacher standards and make reference to what you can bring to the profession in relation to these.
Don’t just talk about wanting to work with children, but why? How can you make a difference? What transferable skills do you have?
3. Experience is useful – use it!
ITT providers will be looking for applicants who have some experience with children or young people, even if not in the classroom.
Experience can range from being a teaching assistant in your local school to running a children’s dance club to teaching English abroad! Be sure to mention all experience in your application, even if it’s working with adults.
It’s important to remember that nothing can match the experience of being in a classroom! If you can, do try to get some classroom experience. This not only allows you to strengthen your application, but gives you the opportunity to decide if being around a class of lively children all day long is the right choice for you!
It is certainly worth approaching your local schools to ask if they will allow you some observation or volunteer experience or you can find further information and links to schools here.
If you’ve got the relevant experience, it is crucial that you show it off – give concrete examples of what you have learned and the new skills you have begun to develop.
4. Be positive and sell yourself.
Positivity is crucial – particularly at interview, you need to show all you’ve got and make it clear why teaching is the right job for you.
For example – if you’re changing career, don’t say that you’re tired of your current job or you think teaching will be easier, instead, be positive about what you’ve learned through your life experiences so far, and turn them around to show why now is the right time for you to become a teacher.
Think about the unique qualities you possess, that you can bring to the role and upsell yourself- why should the ITT provider choose you?
5. Check your eligibility.
There are strict entry requirements for all teacher training courses in the UK, therefore it is important to check you meet the criteria. You don’t want to waste your time applying to a programme for which you don’t have the qualifications.
The entrance criteria can be found on the Get Into Teaching website.
You will need to ensure you have all of your certificates ready to show your provider – it is definitely worth checking you have all of these before you begin the process!
If your qualifications are from overseas, you will need a statement of comparability from the ENIC website, to ensure they meet the requirements.
6. References and timelines.
Think carefully about who to choose as your referees. Your chosen referee needs to be able to share your ability to meet the requirements for teaching and confirm that you possess the skills for the role.
Requesting a reference from your part-time job many years ago won’t give the ITT provider an up-to-date idea of your quality as a potential trainee, so choose someone who you have worked with recently and who knows what you have to bring to the profession.
If you’re a graduate, make sure one referee is a relevant university contact, such as your tutor, and for career changers, use a manager from your current or most recent job.
For Safer Recruitment purposes, it is important that there are no gaps in your employment history also. This means recording when and where you were working since you completed your education, if you have periods of unemployment, time spent raising a family or travelling/working abroad these must be included too.
7. Stay up to date.
Education is a fast-paced and ever-changing world! No two days are the same and there are always changes to keep up with.
It will not only strengthen your application but will help you understand if teaching is for you, to gain some understanding and insight into the wider picture of education in our current climate.
Understand your subject area and some of the key issues within it: for example, if you are applying for a Primary post, what is your understanding of Systematic Synthetic Phonics? How familiar are you with the National Curriculum and what this actually looks like in schools?
Such information can prove extremely valuable should you be selected for interview and can help you stand out from other applicants.
8. Check, check and check again.
Before submitting your application, you need to proofread and check that your writing is up to scratch!
Providers will be looking at the quality of your written English as well as your spelling and grammar- you don’t want these to let your application down.
If you aren’t confident, do ask someone to proofread for you- even better if that person has an understanding of the education field.
Remember that your application will be the first glimpse that a provider sees of you, you want to shine and come across as an excellent candidate. Whatever route you decide to take or age range you want to teach, your application needs to show why you are going to be a great teacher.
Share your experience, be reflective and don’t forget to shine. Be confident in your abilities and really sell yourself.
If you would like any information regarding applying to the Services For Education & Best Practice Network School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) Programme, please visit our dedicated page: Primary School Centred Initial Teacher Training
Or please feel free to contact our SCITT Lead, Lucie Welch on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07884 642860.
About the Author
Lucie Welch – Adviser, Services For Education
Lucie Welch taught in primary schools for over 13 years, holding the roles of Assistant Head of School, Designated Safeguarding Lead, Designated Teacher for Looked After Children, Attendance Lead as well as many subject lead roles.
Through the role of DSL, Lucie has garnered huge experience and knowledge of safeguarding which she is passionate about sharing with schools both across Birmingham and nationwide. With a strong understanding of policies and procedures, as well as safeguarding in schools at a day-to-day operational level, Lucie can provide bespoke consultancy and training on a host of safeguarding related topics.
Lucie also leads on PSHE and RSE and has a focused interest in children's emotional health and wellbeing, understanding how trauma and adverse childhood experiences can impact children, as well as educating staff and pupils on Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment and Harmful Sexual Behaviour in schools.
Lucie is also a part of our Health for Life team and helps deliver the Early Career Framework on behalf of the Best Practice Network.