This guide will help teaching students negotiate the job
application process and secure an all important interview
Liverpool John Moores University
Tackling Application Forms
The purpose of this booklet is to help you prepare and write effective job applications
for teaching posts. Teaching vacancies are advertised on many websites. The most
popular to use are: TES, Guardian, local council, jobsgopublic, Capita and eteach.
You will be asked to register, making it easier to search for jobs, receive vacancy
alerts and in some cases create personal profiles. Some Local Councils operate
NQT recruitment pools (check if your area runs one). For any vacancy you apply for
you will be asked to complete an application form, send a tailored covering letter
and possibly a CV.
Application Forms
All schools require you to complete an
application form as the first stage of the
recruitment process. Some forms are specific
to the school and some may use generic forms.
These are generally on local council websites.
Using application forms allows recruiters to
collect information that is specific to the job
requirements and that helps them assess
how your education, school placements,
paid or voluntary work experience, skills and
extracurricular activities relate to the vacancy.
What information do I need to
provide on an application form?
School application forms, like many standard
forms, require you to complete sections on your
personal details, education and qualifications,
work history, supporting information and
references (see diagram below). Apart from
the supporting information section, these
should be relatively straightforward for you to
complete and you can copy relevant details
from your CV (although you should ensure
that these details are tailored to the job role).
The additional/supporting information section
(Letter of Application) is hugely important and
needs to be tailored to the individual role,
2 Teaching: Tackling Application Forms
because this is where you need to convince the
employer that you are the right candidate for
the job and discuss why you would like to work
for their school. This can be completed in the
section provided, however for teaching jobs it
is generally submitted in the form of a letter of
application (2 pages A4).
Application for Employment
Teaching Post
Please read the Guidance Notes above before completing this form
As you go through the form there will be information/
guidance about how to complete each section so make
sure you follow any instructions carefully. Always keep
a copy of your application form, letter of application and
any other documents (CV if requested) that you submit
for each individual application.
Personal information
Employment history
Letter of application / personal information
Monitoring information
This is the most important part of the application form
and writing a good response could get you an interview
for the job. It is essential to make a clear, structured and
well presented response which gives full details of your
motivation and suitability for the post.
Liverpool John Moores University
Preparation is key
Before you start completing the application
form spend some time thinking about yourself
and what you have to offer, the job role and the
school. Your letter of application is where you
state your case for why you would be the right
person for the job. The purpose of the letter is
to inform the head teacher about the relevant
skills, knowledge and experience you can bring
to the post and to persuade them to offer you
an interview. Before writing your letter, do your
■■ Find out what the job involves
■■ Read the job description and person
■■ Talk to colleagues, professionals, tutors,
careers advisors and friends about the post
and the school you are applying to
■■ Look at the school website, and visit the
school if the opportunity is there
■■ Assess what you have to offer and think
about examples you can use to demonstrate
By considering the job role, the school and
your own experience this will allow you to tailor
your personal statement section in the form
of a letter and demonstrate your motivation to
work for this school, which is crucial for your
application to stand out.
If you have completed the first stage of the
LJMU World of Work Skills Certificate about
Self-Awareness this will help you to think about
the skills and experiences you have to offer an
employer and the examples you could use. The
Organisational Awareness part of the certificate
will support you when considering what you
have to offer in terms of the role you will be
expected to do, researching the school and
updating your knowledge on key issues affecting
the education sector.
Letter of Application
The most common format when applying for a
teaching job is to write a letter of application, 2
sides of A4. This is your supporting information;
therefore you can write on the application form
in the ‘supporting information’ section, please
refer to my covering letter. However, many
students worry that not completing a box on
the application form will jeopardise their chance.
If this does worry you put brief points on the
application form that you have expanded on in
your covering letter. Make sure you refer the
employer to your covering letter. There are some
application forms that do not have a section for
supporting information, although you will be
requested to submit a letter of application.
Supporting/Additional information
The supporting/additional information section on
a school’s application form can come in the form
of any of the following statements:
Personal Statement: Please state why you
believe your qualifications, experience and
personal qualities fulfil the requirements of this
post, and any other information to demonstrate
your suitability for the post.
Statement of Suitability: Applicants for the
post should write a statement of suitability as a
separate letter. Please explain how your ability,
skills and knowledge match those required for
the appointment. Give examples where you can
in support of your application.
Further Information (generic council form)
Please attach any further details in support of
your application which you feel are of interest
or relevant, such as educational philosophy,
personal interests and suitability for the position.
Applications which are succinct, without mistakes and presented well will stand a good chance of being
shortlisted. The most annoying aspect of receiving an application is when the candidate forgets to
change the name of the head teacher and the school address. This shows a lack of attention and will
ensure that the application is immediately rejected.
John Banks, Headteacher at Westleigh High School, Leigh, Wigan
Teaching: Tackling Application Forms 3
Liverpool John Moores University
A good personal statement should address each
of the criteria, one by one, outlined in the person
specification providing convincing evidence to
demonstrate you have each key requirement.
You can use subheadings to structure your
statement, however, the majority of letters of
application for teaching post are written in a
continuous format of 2 pages long.
In order to prepare this section of your
application form you need to use the information
about the job (the job description) and the
information about the characteristics the
employer is seeking in the successful applicant
(the person specification). You also need to use
the information you have researched about the
school you are aiming to work for, in order to
market yourself effectively for the job.
The structure and content could be as follows:
Introduction (make it engaging)
■■ State what job you are applying for; where
you saw the job advertised; what you are
currently doing; why you want this particular
job; why do you want to teach your chosen
Introduce yourself – ‘I am writing to you and
the Governors of Liverpool Primary School
to express my interest and excitement
in the current vacancy for a KS2 teacher.
I am looking for a post where I can use
and advance my skills as a grade1 /
outstanding Newly Qualified Teacher, but
more importantly, to have the opportunity
to work alongside children, so as to develop
confident and independent individuals with a
love of learning............’
If you have visited the school or done a
placement there – what impressed you about
the school, the pupils and the atmosphere?
‘Whilst completing my degree I have
maintained strong links with Liverpool High
School through volunteering. I have used
my knowledge and enthusiasm to deliver
PE and extracurricular activities throughout
the summer term of 2012. I also completed a
research project on the school and the effects
the current changes to Education had on their
pupils. As a former student of Liverpool High
School, I truly believe that my developed
confidence and dedication, coupled with my
desire to teach is reflective of the outstanding
contribution that Liverpool High School made
to my career choice and success’.
Summarise your interest & enthusiasm
for the specific post, the profession, and
the employer - why this school, why this
job role? ‘I see this post as an exciting and
challenging opportunity to develop and
share my teaching skills. I am a versatile,
enthusiastic and hardworking individual, who
is fully committed to raising the standard in
Physical Education through the motivation
of pupils and delivery of an enriching
curriculum. I am passionate about teaching
this subject because tangible success is
possible for every student. I was initially
drawn to working within the school due to
the positive, creative nature of the school
allowing the pupils to be individuals in a
happy and safe environment. Being part of
such a thriving, motivated and dedicated
team would be a fantastic opportunity’.
Main Text (3 or 4 paragraphs)
■■ Make a case for why you are suited to the
post- what have you taught? Where? Age
ranges/Year groups?
■■ Tell the school that you have got what they
are looking for and give examples of lessons
I can assume, from their qualifications and the time they have spent in getting them, that candidates
know their subject and want to teach. So, what I want to explore is whether they also have a passion for
the young people they will teach within the particular ethos of South Sefton College.
4 Teaching: Tackling Application Forms
Dr Frank McCann, Principal, South Sefton College
Liverpool John Moores University
– refer to your school placements. Outline
what you could contribute as a Teacher
■■ Describe your experiences and explain why
it is relevant to the post. Match your skills
and experience to those being sought in the
person specification.
■■ Organise your information so that it is
easy for the reader to see how you meet
the person specification – use thematic
paragraphs or even sub-headings. Include:
lesson planning, assessment – children’s
progress; OFSTED; SEN, EAL & G & T.
■■ Put the pupils at the heart of the letter.
When giving examples of your experiences
follow the STAR technique, and don’t forget
to include the benefit to the pupils not just
Further Information
■■ What else do you have to offer?
■■ Have you been a Form Tutor? – Provide an
example of pupil involvement in your form –
debates, charity fundraising, assemblies.
■■ Extracurricular –what clubs or societies have
you set up either through your placement or
voluntary work – again remember to state
what impact this had on the pupils.
■■ Communication with parents; external
bodies/supporting groups, Governors
Desirable criteria are the “nice to haves”, i.e.
skills, experience and knowledge that enhance a
candidate’s ability to carry out the responsibilities
of the role. If you meet any of the desirable
criteria, make sure that you address these on
the personal statement, as this can give you
an advantage over other candidates. However,
these can easily be gained through further
training once a candidate is in post.
Common Errors: what to avoid
■■ Not personalising the letter
■■ Addressing it to the right school but wrong
head teacher
■■ When it reads more about what you will get
out of it, rather than what the school and
pupils will get from recruiting you.
■■ Lack of examples and evidence of your own
■■ No mention of the young people you have
taught or want to teach - what is the benefit
to them having you as their teacher?
Final tips for writing a good letter of application
■■ Target the opportunity: Don’t use the same
Closing Paragraph
■■ Summarise what you have to offer and
why they should consider you. Confirm
your interest in the post and finish in
a positive way. For example, “I would
like to emphasise my keen interest in
the advertised post................. I would
welcome the opportunity to meet with
you at interview to discuss my application
in more depth”.
Most person specifications will distinguish
between essential and desirable criteria.
Essential criteria are the “must haves”, i.e. the
skills, experience and knowledge you need to
be able to do the job. Only candidates that meet
all the essential criteria will usually be invited for
interview, so ensure that you always address all
of these.
letter of application for all job vacancies.
Each letter will need a slightly different
emphasis, depending on the school you are
applying to.
Make sure the letter links to the person
specification for the post.
Make sure your letter is well written and
grammatically correct. Use good English
and make your statement fresh, lively, and
informative. Don’t just rely on a spell check, read
through your final version several times and get
a friend or careers adviser to read it too.
Be clear and concise. Show the ability to put
the most important points across in a few
words. Stay within prescribed word limits.
Give your letter a structure with an
introduction, a main body and an end.
Be positive and enthusiastic – selectors will
read many applications and you want your
letter to stand out.
Teaching: Tackling Application Forms 5
Liverpool John Moores University
Other sections you are usually required to
complete on a standard application form for
teaching posts are:
Other qualifications: Provide details of any
vocational qualifications or skills that you possess
or training that you have received which you
consider to be relevant to the role for which you
have applied.
This is your opportunity to put forward any
additional qualifications – Sports Leaders; CEOPS
training (child exploitation and online protection);
Developing Practical ABCs.
Employment History: The employment section
is your opportunity to outline clearly all the work
experience you have had. This gives the employer a
breakdown of where and when you worked and the
job role you undertook. You are requested to give a
full history, in reverse chronological order, starting
with your most recent occupation, whether the
job had an education focus or not. It is important to
include all periods of paid employment, full and/or
part time or voluntary work.
Interests: Please give details of any interests that
you have. For teaching posts and roles involving
significant pupil contact you should indicate those
6 Teaching: Tackling Application Forms
interests which you could bring to the school for the
purpose of enriching pupils’ extracurricular activity.
Referees: Two referees should be supplied. One
should be an academic member of staff and
one an employer. Use someone from a teaching
placement or school based voluntary work.
Ensure that you have asked the relevant person
if they would be willing to provide you with a
Convictions: All schools apply the Safer
Recruitment in Education standard to all
appointments and you must declare any
convictions. This is due to the nature of the work
which you are applying for. If your application
is successful and you did not disclose any
convictions or other sanctions it could result
in dismissal or disciplinary action being taken
against you. Any employment offer will be subject
to a satisfactory disclosure certificate from the
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Dept for Education (DfE) number – is sent to
you after your graduation when you have been
recommended for QTS. So, for the purpose of the
application form you will leave this blank until after
graduation when you can then put your individual
number on.
Liverpool John Moores University
consisted of 50 minutes and I taught a variety of
topics including fitness and football.
A useful tool to help you structure your answers
to competency questions or if you are providing
examples of evidence in your letter is the STAR
technique. STAR is a simple strategy that will
help you focus your answers and stands for:
Action: It was important that I ensured all learners
were involved in every lesson and that I planned
for all abilities. I approached this task by using my
free periods to plan the lessons and my free time
at home after school and during the weekend. To
ensure that SEN pupils were included and TA’s
and required equipment was clear to see, I put
together a detailed written lesson plan for each
lesson, recording the activities and timings as
well as what I needed at the start of each lesson.
I completed the planning of each lesson at least a
week in advance, so I had enough time to check
if the facility and equipment that I had chosen to
use were available.
■■ Situation: briefly describe the context for
your example. When was this? Where was
■■ Task: describe what you had to do. What
were you hoping to achieve?
■■ Action: describe what you did to achieve the
task, how you did it and what skills you used.
■■ Result: briefly describe the outcome.
What did you learn? Would you do anything
For example:
Situation: A good example of a time when I have
used my organisation and planning skills was
during my final placement in a local secondary
Result: The result of my planning being a week
in advance worked to my advantage. I did not
have to rush the night before school and I also
had time to mentally rehearse the lesson so I
knew exactly what I wanted to happen in the
lesson and at what time. The pupils had high
expectations as they knew they would always be
walking into a lesson that had been well thought
out and suited to their needs.
Task: I had to plan for 11 lessons a week for a
range of classes in key stage three. The lessons
Teaching: Tackling Application Forms 7
Liverpool John Moores University
As stated above to successfully get through the first sift you need to clearly demonstrate that you
have what the recruiter is looking for. They have told you this in the person specification so you
must address each essential criterion one by one. The exercise below should help you to do this.
You should use this approach every time you apply for a job.
List the essential criteria required for the post (detailed in the person specification) in the left hand
column. Then write down an example or piece of evidence you could use to show how you meet
that criterion/have demonstrated that skill. There may be several criteria that you can meet by
using one example!
Essential Criteria that the recruiter
is looking for (knowledge/skills/
Your evidence to demonstrate this
(from all areas of your life –
university, work placements, parttime jobs, voluntary work, leisure
activities etc)
Ability to communicate effectively...
During my time on placement I was given
many opportunities to experience effective
communicate with parents. In addition to
meeting and greeting in the mornings, and
conversing with parents at home times (both
of which I found to be extremely beneficial),
I have been supported in reporting to
parents during formal parents’ evenings.
These dialogues have proved productive
and informative. During a parents’ evening
on my placement in Early Years, a friendly
conversation with a parent about her child’s
handwriting allowed me to discover the root
cause of her little boy’s reluctance to write
in lower case. He practiced writing with
his grandfather, who capitalised all of his
letters. Through explaining the benefits of
pre-cursive handwriting to the child’s mother,
and supplying her with writing resources
designed by myself and the school, I
observed an improvement in the child’s
handwriting during phonics sessions and
continuous provision.
8 Teaching: Tackling Application Forms
Liverpool John Moores University
Teaching: Tackling Application Forms 9
Liverpool John Moores University
World of Work Careers Centre
Kingsway House
Hatton Garden
L3 2AJ
T: 0151 231 8099
E: [email protected]
W: www.ljmu.ac.uk/worldofwork
EVENTS SYSTEM: worldofwork.ljmu.ac.uk/events
VACANCY WEBSITE: ljmu.prospects.ac.uk
Linda Graham
Careers Adviser - [email protected]
10 Teaching: Tackling Application Forms