Writing a covering letter or supporting statement

Writing a covering letter or supporting statement

by Academy Admin

Completing the page in the application form entitled "supporting statement" is important; assume that the selection panel do not read any extra papers that you might submit; some employers bar the inclusion of extra statements and only allow the consideration of the application form. On that basis, your statement must contain all relevant information about you and your suitability for the post.

"The application form is designed to elicit basic information about you, your education and employment history. This alone will not make you stand out from the crowd, but your real opportunity to shine is in the supporting statement...

Your main goals when writing your supporting statement must be to match your skills to the job description and to include your unique selling points. Don't simply write about the experiences you have had. Inform your future employers of your achievements. Your leading sentence must engage the reader immediately, giving a sense of your personality. Always optimise your positive aspects and end with something memorable." (Holmes, 2002: 33)

Consider the following:

  • begin with your name and address - during the photocopying process this sheet may become separated from the rest of the application form; 
  • keep the statement to the prescribed maximum; use formatting (paragraphs, bold, italic) to highlight import points/area; do not reduce the font to include more facts but write more succinctly;
  • open by stating why you are writing, the position for which you are applying, and how you learned of the position (newspaper, placement office);
  • summarise the following in a paragraph of prose: schools, colleges, Universities attended including dates and degrees, employment and other education related experience and any professional activities including memberships, workshops and publications;
  • make a statement about your personal life, interests and experience;
  • discuss why the position interests you, your specific qualifications that relate to the post, and give a solid mention of your teaching experience in the area the job requires including specific examinations, courses and subjects taught;
  • describe your motivations: why you want the particular position/school/location; your philosophy on education; your career/aspirations.
  • if you know anything about the school or its location to which you are applying, indicate why you want to teach there;
  • whereas your cv is designed to mention all of your achievements, this statement should focus upon relevant experience and qualifications;
  • mention any relevant professional development experience extra to teaching perhaps including: INSET attended, adding materials to a VLE, managing a VLE, providing staff INSET, observing/supporting key stage 3 pilot online tests, attending BETT exhibition, managing e-portfolios, CC4G, etc.;
  • mention other experience extra to teaching perhaps including: tutor group/pastoral responsibilities, school visits, clubs, citizenship/PSHE/other teaching, alternative subjects you could offer, coaching/outdoor pursuits experience and qualifications, Duke of Edinburgh, Guides/Scouts, etc.
  • the URL(s) of your web sites that will best show your skills and experience relevant to the post;
  • close by expressing your interest in an interview; include any information (dates, email address, mobile phone number) that will facilitate an interview appointment;
  • thank the reader for considering your application.

Preparation activities

  • prepare an applications folder which contains copies of your cv, drafts of previous applications, a copy of this advice, good black pens for completing forms, envelopes and stamps;
  • write a supporting statement and ask a tutor or mentor to review it;
  • download a selection of application forms and practise completing them (ensure you have all the necessary information).

Covering letter

Unless it is specifically prohibited, you should include a covering letter with your application.

Concise keep within one side of A4 (or the limits set by the school)
Coherent reflect the areas above (in particular the first)

Chunks (paragraphs)

use well constructed paragraphs; make it visually clear the areas you are writing about
Charming (not cheeky or smarmy)
Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar, layout and consistency of format, font and style
Courteous "Thanking you in anticipation. Yours sincerely"

Being interviewed