Filling in any application form requires time, attention to detail and the opportunity to demonstrate your experience. Gone are the days where CVs are accepted and you’ll find that most positions advertised will require a completed application form. Some points to think about before completing the form:
- Read through the form before making a start. Have a think about which examples of your experience you want to use for each section.
- Make a list separately about positive interactions that are relevant to the role, as well as noting down skills and knowledge. Keep in mind how these examples prove you are more than capable of meeting the requirements of the job.
- Use any notes about your experiences to draft your answers.
- Focus on your strengths and not weaknesses. You may be asked to give examples of bad/negative experiences, but follow on with how you dealt with the situation or how you are working to overcome any weaknesses.
- It is essential there are no spelling mistakes! Would you employ a candidate who can’t be bothered to check their spelling? Use a dictionary or spell checker.
Why do I need to fill in an application form?
An application form will allow the school/LEA to easily compare candidates for the jobs. There is no standard CV format, which makes the task of finding the ideal candidate very difficult using this process, especially when there are hundreds of CVs to read through. Jobs in the public sector now use standard application forms, which makes the process of selecting candidates more efficient.
What can I expect to see on a Teaching Assistant application form?
Typically, you will expect to see the following sections:
- Personal details
- Employment details – this will usually include current job information such as school and headteacher.
- Qualifications – if the job is specific to a subject, you may be asked to disclose qualifications relevant to the subject. You will also be asked about standard qualifications such as GCSEs/A Levels or vocational qualifications such as NQF/QCF (more about NVQs, QCF and NQF).
- Values and Practice – this section may be included, which will ask you to detail experience relevant to the specific job. Examples of the questions are:
Describe how your support of pupils raised educational achievements…
Describe how you used strategies to support, advance and motivate pupils’ learning…
Describe how you have planned and prepared lessons…
How have you supported the assessment, monitoring and evaluation of pupils’ progress?
The last section of the application form usually asks you to explain why you are best suited to this job, usually within 200 – 300 words. It’s a section that requires thought and planning. Some points to consider before answering this section are:
- Do you fully understand the role? Read through the job description and do some research into what’s involved. Demonstrating you understand what’s required of you is essential. If the role requires you to manage big groups of students, you don’t want to dwell on your one to one experience.
- Give examples of experience – it’s far better to say that you helped a student learn to read by recording literacy text and making it available to the student before the lesson than simply mentioning you completed the ‘supporting learning activities’ unit.
- What qualities do you think you would need for this role? Patience, understanding, reliability? Can you demonstrate how you possess these qualities?