11 April 2015
Ideally the application form will ask for a supporting letter. However, some give you room for your supporting statement to be included on the form. If that is the case it is worth writing a shorter covering letter and putting most of the detail into the supporting statement.
Your CV and application form will have given a picture of what you have done to date. The letter is your chance to show why you are suitable for this particular post and why you are of sufficient interest to be invited to interview. Make sure you know as much about what they are looking for as possible and target your letter to that. This means doing your research properly
Some ideas to consider:
Don’t go beyond two sides of A4, if you do whoever is shortlisting might lose the will to live. Use size 11 or 12 and a clear, easy to read font.
It is worth going through the advert or job specification and trying to bullet point what they say they are looking for. Once you have done this you will have some key areas to focus on. Make sure that your letter references those skills that the employer has highlighted.
In your first paragraph it is worth talking generally about why you chose to become a teacher and why you enjoy the job. It might be worth mentioning that you enjoy working with children.
You should also set out the importance of your subject area or key stage in the case of primary. The headteacher wants someone who will be genuinely keen about teaching that particular subject or key stage.
Don’t just make it a list of the things you have done or the lessons you have taught. Try to apply this to things that you will look to do in your new school.
Are there things outside of your teaching experience that stand you in good stead? If so mention them particularly if they demonstrate a skill which the school is looking for.
Keep everything positive. Don’t draw attention to any areas that you are working on, particularly not behaviour management. This might make you look risky.
Look at the broader life of the school. In your letter talk about ways you would look to support this.
Talk about pastoral care. This is the job of every teacher in the school and it is important that you underline the importance of caring for every individual.
Try to give them the sense that this is the job for you, even if it is one of 10 applications that you are sending in. If you have done your research properly your application should be personalised to the job.
Don’t forget that schools live and die according to the strength of their teachers. Fundamentally the school is looking for a strong teacher. Therefore your letter should paint a picture of a keen and talented trainee teacher who has potential to develop further. In your letter talk about what makes for great teaching and learning.
Finally check it carefully and get someone else to read it for you. Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in writing these letters that you get to a stage where you can’t see the wood for the trees. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can spot mistakes or areas where the letter loses its direction.
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