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Teach First graduate scheme

What is the Teach First programme?

Teach First operates a leadership development programme which trains graduates to become teachers and leaders. It’s a social enterprise and registered charity in England and Wales, and exists with the aim of ending educational inequality.

The graduate scheme combines teacher training and a fully funded Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE) course. With leadership coaching, trainees are able to develop the skills needed to be a leader in the classroom as well as in wider society.

Teach First Leadership Development Programme in practice

Why train with Teach First?

Children in the UK growing up in poverty are far less likely to achieve academically. Only around 33% of children who qualify for Free School Meals achieve at least 5 GCSEs at grades A*–C. The national average is 60.5%.

Low academic achievement at school has a knock-on effect. These same individuals are less likely to go to university, get a job and be paid equal to colleagues from wealthier backgrounds with the same qualifications.

Teach First aims to produce high-quality teachers and leaders who can work towards providing equal opportunities in education. You’ll be put in schools which need the most help, and will support students and staff so that they thrive.

About the programme

The graduate scheme lasts two years and has the following structure:

  • You’ll begin with the six week Summer Institute – a crash course introducing the theories and practice of teaching.
  • After the Summer Institute, you’ll enter a school and begin teaching. You’ll be supported by colleagues, the Teach First organisation and its partner universities. Throughout your first year at school you’ll work towards a PGCE qualification.
  • At the end of your first year you are given the opportunity to participate in a mini-internship with a different kind of organisation.
  • You’ll return to your school as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT), where you’ll deepen your impact within the school. This could mean taking on additional responsibilities.
  • You are then offered the opportunity to gain a master’s qualification. This can be achieved over one year or on a part-time basis.

Around half of Teach First participants continue a career in teaching and 50% of those enter into leadership positions.

What are the entry requirements?

You must have a good honours degree at 2:1 or above.

Good A Level/Highers grades are also required. You must have at least a grade C in GCSE Maths and English*. If you’re placed in a Welsh secondary school you need to have at least a grade B. For primary and early year applicants, a grade C in Science is required.

Teach First will accept other academic equivalences. Please consult the website for more detailed information.

How to apply for Teach First

You can apply directly via the Teach First website.

If your application is accepted, you’ll be invited to an Assessment Centre.

If you're successful, and pass literacy, numeracy, and curriculum knowledge tests, you'll be given an offer of employment. You must also pass the Summer Institute to progress to a school.

You are subject to Disclosure and Barring Services checks (DBS) as part of the process.

Do you get paid for Teach First?

When training with Teach First, you'll be employed and receive a salary of £23,720–29,664 per year, depending on your location.

Next page: Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)