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On the write lines

A punchy personal statement is the first step to getting that job. Sara Bubb points the way

Writing a personal or supporting statement is really hard. And when you don't feel like a teacher yet, it's even harder.

You're probably already doubting your capacity to convince an interview panel to employ you. Many PGCEs have limited experience of teaching whole classes solo; you need to be positive about what you've done and hope for the best.

When structuring your writing think of how to be helpful to the reader, who will be shortlisting against the selection criteria; if they sent you a copy of the criteria, use the same headings or order. If you haven't been sent one, our example on the right is pretty typical.

Include at least one example of relevant experience for each thing it covers. There are two ways to do this. First,write a paragraph for each point in the person specification include a teaching example in each one.

Second, if it looks like that's going to be repetitive, try a different tack, covering many selection criteria through writing about one lesson in detail. You need to explain:

* how you planned it: following the curriculum but also using your knowledge of what the pupils could and couldn't do

* how you found out more, thought of how to meet the needs of a) a high attainer, b) one with special needs (consulting the Senco and using the individual education plan) and c) a child who speaks English as an additional language

* how you taught it using a teaching assistant and maybe some ICT and why you taught it that way

* how you managed some fidgetycalling outdisruptive behaviour

* what the children (one or two instances) learned

* how you gave them feedback

* how you evaluated their learning and your teaching

* what you planned for the next lesson as a result.

* be relevant and concise, and don't include anything you can't back up at interview

* remember your supporting statement will be used to assess your written communication skills so give it a punchy start, a concluding sentence and make sure it reads well. Proofread it, then get someone else to check it. A spelling or grammatical error may mean your form is relegated to the bin.

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