Preparing for your teacher training application - 5 top tips!

Preparation for teacher training application.

So, you have decided that becoming a teacher is the career for you. Give yourself the best chance of success with a well-prepared application. Read on for 5 top tips for preparing your application, direct from Portsmouth's teacher training providers.


If you are looking at Portsmouth to train to teach, local training providers have given us some invaluable advice on preparing, writing, and submitting your teacher training application. Read on to find out what their top tips are…

1) Give yourself plenty of time

Help avoid unnecessary stress by researching application deadlines and familiarising yourself with the process. Identify the steps involved - so there are no surprises and ensure you have time to complete everything, such as organising your references. It is important to take your time and not to rush things as Teach First explains:


'Don't rush. Teaching is an exciting opportunity, but you do not want to miss out because you didn't check or plan. Leave time aside for you.'

Isabella Misiewicz, Teach First

Applications open on Tuesday 10 October 2023 for teacher training courses starting in 2024. Courses normally start in the September but sometimes in January. Teacher training providers keep applications open until all courses are full. If you are planning on applying for a popular course, do not put it off, make sure you apply straight away.

All applications for postgraduate courses with qualified teacher status (QTS) can be made through the site which has replaced the UCAS postgraduate teacher training application process.

As Dr Susannah Smith from the University of Chichester highlights: 

'There's a lot involved in putting together a strong application - so get organised and don't leave it until the last few days. Give yourself time to draft your application, ask other people to read it, then edit it to make it as strong as it can be.'

Dr Susannah Smith, University of Chichester

Remember to locate all relevant documentation, as Clare Jeffery from Fareham and Gosport Primary SCITT recommends:

'Ensure you can access your original qualification certificates which will be required at interview.'

Clare Jeffery, SCITT director

2) Do your research

Be clear about what your chosen course involves and why you think you'd be a suitable candidate. You will also want to discover what you can about the course(s) you wish to apply for.

Are you able to attend an open day to find out more and meet the training providers? If that is not possible, you could reach out to training providers directly to ask any specific questions before applying.

As TKAT SCITT told us, it's important to speak to others to learn about teaching and initial teacher training: 

'Many schools and providers are now offering open day events which would be very helpful to attend if you can. If not, then try to attend online open events, talk to teachers, current and past trainees and get in touch with teacher training providers to ask your questions directly before making your big decision.'

Sarah Drury, Director, TKAT SCITT

3) Understand your motivations

As part of your application, you'll need to write a personal statement. It is split into 2 sections. Section 1 is about why you want to teach and section 2 asks for more information about your chosen subject or age group. In total you will need to write about 1000 words. Be clear about your motivations for wanting to become a teacher and why you think you're right for the role.

Prove your passion and commitment to a rewarding career in teaching which will help you stand out from the crowd. It's called a personal statement for a reason - let the reader learn about you and your personality. As Emma Cornish from Portsmouth SCITT poignantly puts it: 

'We've previously found that some strong candidates have spent minimal time in a classroom; it's not all about having years of experience. In reading applications and when interviewing candidates, we hope to see the reasons why they want to become a teacher – and whether there is passion and hunger driving that motivation. We always like to hear their story. We can teach subject knowledge and pedagogy in our classroom, but we can't teach passion.'

Emma Cornish, Portsmouth SCITT Lead

4) Think about your transferable skills

When writing your personal statement, back up what you say with examples. If you have not had experience teaching in a classroom before, consider any transferable skills that can demonstrate your abilities, such as communication, time management and organisational skills, which are all valuable when thinking about a career in teaching. As Andrew Porter at the University of Portsmouth advises: 

'If you have ever given a presentation, worked as part of a team, or had to meet strict deadlines, you will have lots of skills that are transferable to a career in teaching. Try to emphasise these in your application.'

Andrew Porter, University of Portsmouth

5) Plan your references

'Approach two referees in plenty of time and in line with the referee criteria from the Department for Education apply system and the provider you are applying to.'

Clare Jeffery, Director, Fareham and Gosport Primary SCITT

You'll need two referees to support your teacher training application. Make sure you contact them and ask if they are happy to submit a reference for you. Choose people who meet the criteria and can endorse your teaching potential. Once chosen, check you have the correct contact details to include in your application. Be sure to find out if the course provider has any specific referee requirements that you need to consider.

'Don't select someone purely on the basis of their superiority or how close you are to them. Likewise, choose someone who understands the career change or teaching pathway that you are looking to embark on, this will assist them in being recognised as authoritative enough to be your referee. Lastly, don't forget to thank your referees...'

Gavin Lumsden, CEO Education & Training, Essential Teaching UK

Your time to teach is now

Applying for initial teacher training is an exciting step towards a career in teaching but remember, preparation is key. Good luck with your application!

Our route finder is perfect for you to kick off your career in teaching. If you are ready to take that first step, find out more about our providers today!

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