Tips when Applying for NQT Jobs

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Once you have found jobs that are suitable for an NQT, the process of applying begins. Read on for some tips on completing application forms and  teaching statements (or letters)

Applying for jobs is time consuming and tricky for teachers it is especially frustrating as in England and Wales most schools do not accept a copy of your CV, all positions are applied for via separate application.


Applications for teaching (and non teaching) positions within education consist mostly of two elements:,

  • The application form
  • The teaching statement (or letter).


Your application form.

Teaching application forms are similar in what they ask due to legal requirement and data protection. But they can be quite different in layout, it is useful to have a document or a CV where you can copy and paste the information from, or enable your browser (such as chrome) to have auto-fill option when filling in the same details repeatedly.

When you download a form in digital format, the first thing to do is save it to your computer with a different filename,  it will have a generic school name such as croydonapplication.doc . But you want to ensure that both your name and the school’s name are in the filename. For example; JohnDoeCroydonSchool.

Do the same for your letter.  This is to avoid you getting mixed up with other candidates, and to enable the school HR to identify your documents immediately.

Read the instructions carefully – it costs nothing to get the little things right. Fill the form in completely, do not leave anything empty; put N/A if appropriate. If you have any gaps in your employment history, please give an explanation. Not only does it demonstrate honesty of having a gap and giving a reason,  you may have gained transferable skills that can be used in teaching, even if what you were doing was not teaching related.

Check over any tick boxes– you wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity because you didn’t tick the right box!

Your referees-should be your BEd or PGCE tutor, plus someone from your professional practice school, normally your mentor.  It is courteous to ask permission from the latter before putting them down.


Your statement (or letter) 

Your statement is used to explain who you are as a teacher and your suitability for the role. While your application form briefly outlines your qualifications, skills and work experience. Your teaching personal statement is where you address the person specification, give examples of your teaching and reflect your personality (don’t simply re-iterate the information on your application form).

Teaching areas to mention can include:behaviour management, educational philosophy, subject expertise, pedagogy, personal organisation skills and enrichment activities.


Writing your statement can be tricky, take your time with it, be prepared to receive constructive feedback from peers and write a few drafts before you send it off.

It’s important to:

  • use examples based on your recent teaching experience
  • tailor your personal statement according to the school/role
  • cover main teaching areas as detailed above
  • use good, clear, written English, using first person terms such as ‘my’ and ‘I’
  • be original and honest
  • avoid clichés and general statements, such as ‘I’ve always wanted to teach’
  • demonstrate a passion for teaching



Schools are looking for examples in the statement where candidates can explain what they’ve done in a previous role. They also look for the candidate to be able to focus on the outcomes they’ve achieved as a result of their action.

The STAR framework is a great way to do this, STAR stands for  SituationTaskAction and Result.

Using this strategy is particularly helpful in response to competency-focused questions, which typically start out with phrases such as “Tell about a time when…” and “Share an example of a situation where…” . A good NQT question to prepare for  is “Tell me what you’ve learned from your training so far and how you’re putting it into practice in the classroom“.


Situation: Describe the context within which you performed a task or faced a challenge at work. For example, perhaps you were working with a difficult child, had a lot students with low abilities or you had a conflict with a coworker.


Task: Next, describe your responsibility in that situation. Perhaps you needed to stop the pupil interrupting class, wanted to resolve a disagreement with a TA, or were required to raise the pupils learning targets.


Action: You then describe how you completed the task or endeavoured to meet the challenge. Focus on what you did, rather than what anyone else did. (Tip: Instead of saying “We did xyx,” say “I did xyz.”)


Result: Finally, explain the outcomes or results generated by the action taken. You might want to emphasise what you accomplished, or what you learned from the situation.



At this early stage in your career, you will have to write a lot of the same information for every application, but you can still tailor it a little to the specific school.  Make sure that you research the school, visit the schools website, read about the reputation on school guide websites such as good schools guide, or review their ofsted performance on gov.uk -(Tip- its useful to read the newsletters, Twitter and Facebook pages to get a real feel for the school)

Do check and check again that you have got the correct name of the school in your letter – it happens all too often.  The letter should have a very high level of literacy – there is no excuse for poor grammar or spelling mistakes.



Teaching Areas to mention

Behaviour management, educational philosophy, subject expertise, pedagogy, personal organisation skills and enrichment activities.

When writing your statement, you could include three elements in some of the key teaching areas to keep it structured:

  1. What your beliefs/philosophy/approach is – i.e., the theory.
  2. Your experience in that area-give STAR framework-example.
  3. How you would use your experience in the school you are applying to .


Grammar, Spelling and Proof Reading

Use formatting programs such as, Microsoft Word to run spelling checks. Use online tools or apps to check for grammar, or have a peer

The statement should also include something personal in terms of your outside interests to indicate that you live an interesting and well-balanced life.

Finally, have a friend, parent or a mentor proof read your documents to ensure it is structured logically and reads well.

Then you can feel confident in submitting your applications!

Good Luck!