Teach First

Teach First logoLast week we had a visit and update from our friends at Teach First. They are really keen to recruit recent graduates as well as current students.

Teach First is a two-year graduate programme. They create leaders, who can go into a challenging school and inspire enthusiam and ambition in young people.

Teach First is designed both for graduates who want to make a career in teaching and those who would like to teach for a couple of years before moving onto another career.  Apparantly two thirds of previous participants have stayed in teaching, while the other third have gone onto a wide range of careers in everything from corporates, public sector, charities and setting up their own businesses.

How Teach First works

  1. Attend the intensive residential six-week Summer Institute. You will then be placed in a school to start teaching from September. Participating schools are located across England and Wales and experience a range of challenging circumstances.
  2. First Year – You will receive training and support  throughout and work towards your Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
  3. Summer between first a second year – You have the opportunity to take on a mini-internship ‘Summer Project’ to gain work experience and practise your leadership skills.  At the end of the summer Returners Week provides the opportunity for all participants to share experiences and prepare for the new year.
  4. Second Year – Now a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) you will be able to take on more responsibility in your department. You will continue to receive support from mentors and tutors. You will have the option to work towards a part-time masters qualification which would take two years from the start of your second year on the programme.

Who they are looking for

You need a minimum of a 2:1 and 300 UCAS points. You also need at least a grade C in GCSE maths & English.

You don’t have to teach the subject that your degree is in. You could teach either maths or English if you have at least a grade B at A-level, or science if you received at least two Bs in science subjects at A-level.

EU applicants are welcome to apply – if you need to check about the eligibility of your qualifications get in touch with Teach First directly.

Teach First have especially high target numbers for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering & maths) and for black and ethnic minority participants, but they welcome applications from anyone who meets the criteria.


Selection process – Start by registering your interest. Complete the application form within 12 weeks of registering interest. If you pass that you will be invited to a one-day Assessment Centre which includes an interview and delivering a 7 minute mock lesson.

Inside news:

  • All the interview questions have changed this year, but they still test the same competencies. Use the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers.
  • The competencies that applicants tend to find most difficult are resilience and problem solving so think especially hard about those.
  • You are not in competition with the other candidates at the Assessment Centre.  All of you could get selected or none of you, you are being tested against a standard. The goal at the Assessment Centre is to work together not to compete.

Applications opened in June, and assessment centres have been taking place since July. Typically opportunities to teach primary and secondary humanities subjects fill up first. Check their website for current subject availability.  At the time of writing all subjects were open, but history was ‘nearing capacity’. If you are interested apply ASAP, they hope to fill 80% of places by Christmas. You could secure an offer within just a few weeks leaving you free to plan the rest of your year secure in the knowledge you have a job. You could also apply now for a deferred place to start in summer 2015 if you can demonstrate commitment to the programme.

Want to know more?

Start by investigating the Teach First website which is very comprehensive.

The contact at Teach First for The University of Manchester is Mr Oladapo Owo (Ola for short).  Ola will be on campus for several talks and events over the coming months. Ola graduated from The University of Manchester in 2003 with a degree in Chemical Engineering before participating in the Teach First programme teaching maths, he has also worked for United Utilities. He is also happy for people to email him if they have questions or concerns  which is not covered on the website.

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