Bill Hunter is quite right in his article about teacher-assisted Ucas forms.
The personal statement is often the only portion of the form allowing students to distinguish themselves from all of the other applicants who have similar backgrounds, profiles and, increasingly, grades. It is thus a vitally important component in university admission tutors'
However, there is other support for hapless teachers to draw on before launching into well-intentioned creative writing: the universities themselves.
Most have a highly experienced schools liaison team, able to give applicants (and their teachers) worthwhile practical advice and illuminating examples of useful and useless statements. They will do so free of charge in your school, if contacted well before the process commences.
Roger Gould Schools and colleges liaison officer Lancaster University Bailrigg Lancaster Lancashire