Teach First's teacher training provision is rated Outstanding
First ever full inspection of Teach First praises exceptional quality of teachers working in UK’s most deprived areas
22 July 2011
Independent charity Teach First and its university partners have undergone the first ever full inspection by Ofsted of the way they train teachers to work in schools in challenging circumstances. The education watchdog awarded them the highest rating possible in every one of eleven categories in all four regions assessed.
The partnership (known as NITTP, the National Initial Teacher Training Partnership) includes lead providers The University of Manchester; Liverpool John Moores University; Nottingham Trent University; Canterbury ChristChurch University and Sheffield Hallam University, and is supported by staff from other institutions. The teacher training provision was rated ‘Outstanding’ in all categories assessed, including the training of inspirational teachers to work in schools in challenging circumstances. The full report will be officially published by Teach First on 22nd July.
Former Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Mike Tomlinson said: “This report is one of the very best I have seen. In my time with Ofsted I cannot remember a single report on teacher training involving a consortium of providers which was as positive as this.
“The outstanding provision made by Teach First and its partners, and the similar judgement on the capacity to improve, set this apart as a model. As such it is placing in our most disadvantaged communities teachers of the very highest quality. All concerned should be proud of what is being achieved.”
Teach First works to break the link between low family income and poor educational attainment by placing outstanding graduates (participants) to teach and lead in schools in challenging circumstances, and is creating a movement of leaders (ambassadors) who are committed to raising the achievement, aspiration and access to opportunity of children from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Ofsted’s team of specialist inspectors looked at the charity’sinitial teacher training provision across four regions: London; the Midlands (including the East and West Midlands); the North West and Yorkshire, examining its overall effectiveness and capacity to improve.
Their investigations, based on assessment and outcomes, found that Teach First participants are of exceptional quality, reaching outstanding levels of attainment and that their ‘relentless focus’ on the learning and progress of the students they teach, is supported outstandingly well by the training they receive.
They also commented on the strength and value of the mutually beneficial relationships Teach First teachers build with colleagues in the schools in which they work.
The quality of participants
A major feature of the Ofsted report was its focus on the high quality of the Teach First participants. They said:
“In all regions, the quality of the participants is exceptional, particularly their personal characteristics, personal attributes, self-motivation, critical reflection and their commitment to raising the aspirations and achievements of the students in their schools and addressing educational disadvantage.”
“Participants’…intellectual capacity, resilience and commitment are exceptional; the way they can relate to a wide range of people is impressive. Even in their first year of training they are well on the way to becoming inspirational teachers, and some already are.”
The strength of the training partnership
The network of partner schools, university training providers and Teach First staff that deliver the Leadership Development Programme is a powerful and successful partnership. They said:
“Excellent communication between all involved ensures that much of the training is consistently of very high quality. The arrangements for training, monitoring participants’ progress and assessment are clear and consistently applied across the partnership.”
Teacher to teacher relationships
Partnership both inside and outside schools is at the heart of the of the Teach First approach. The collaborative nature of Teach First was highlighted by inspectors. They said:
“The fundamental principles of Teach First, and the focus on addressing educational disadvantage, mean that it works to support schools as well as ensuring high-quality training for participants. This is a good example of the wider impact of Teach First through developing coaching and mentoring skills in schools that will benefit other staff, and hence, the students in these schools.”
“An indication of how highly they [participants] are regarded in their schools is the proportion taking on additional responsibilities within their departments during their first year or at the beginning of their second year on the Teach First programme. Many senior staff in schools speak very highly about participants’ positive impact on students’ achievement.”
The charity’s employment based training model, which sees its participants supported for two years after an intensive initial six weeks training period, was also praised by inspectors. The model, which was positively referenced in the Government’s Initial Teacher Training White paper, provides participants with high-quality tailored support from mentors and professional subject tutors, throughout their training. The inspectors said:
“The high quality of the six-week Summer Institute, when participants spend three weeks in their region and three ‘national weeks’, means that participants are extremely well prepared for teaching. A rigorous analysis of individual strengths and areas of development, including subject knowledge, and sharply targeted support enables participants to begin their full teaching commitments from the beginning of the school year.”
Quality of training
Inspectors highlighted the high quality of training participants received and the high expectations Teach First has of them. They said:
“The expertise and research undertaken in all of the universities involved in the programme, as well as Teach First staff, are used to ensure that the programme is completely up-to-date and full account is taken of all current educational developments. The success of this is seen in the quality of the participants and their depth of understanding of key issues and current priorities.”
“As a result of the quality of the training they receive and their own ability to critically reflect, the overwhelming majority of participants make outstanding progress against highly challenging expectations, meeting or exceeding these expectations.”
Increased participant effectiveness
Inspectors highlighted the work that had been done to improve the effectiveness of participants. They said:
“The extremely thorough and rigorous process of self-evaluation and improvement planning leads to continuous improvement in all of the outcomes for participants.”
“The attainment of participants is outstanding and has improved each year for the last three years. The proportion of participants whose attainment is outstanding has improved significantly.”
Pupil focus – teaching skill
Inspectors highlighted the range of strategies and techniques used by participants to understand and address the needs of pupils at schools in challenging circumstances. They said:
“A notable strength is participants’ understanding and use of strategies to develop early reading skills, including the use of systematic synthetic phonics, and their understanding of how low levels of literacy can be a barrier to learning.”
“Their understanding of how to teach a diverse range of students, of the complexities of teaching students with special educational needs and/or disabilities and of the wider role of the teacher is outstanding.”
Inspectors highlighted the link between the level of support participants receive and high retention rates. They said:
“The level and quality of support for participants’ well-being and professional development result in exceptionally high retention and attainment.”
“Attainment, retention and successful completion [of the Leadership Development Programme] and the proportion of participants remaining in teaching beyond their two-year commitment, have all improved. These improvements have been sustained over several years.”
Commenting on the report, Teach First Founder and CEO Brett Wigdortz said: “The work we and our university partners do across the countryto identify, train place and supportour teachers in schools in challenging circumstances has rightly been recognised as Outstanding.
“These positive ratings mean that children in our partner schools are receiving high-quality education from outstandingly well-trained and highly motivated teachers who understand the crucial role they play in breaking the link between family income and educational attainment.
“But we are not prepared to rest on our laurels. This merely serves as evidence of what more is possible. In the coming years we aim to bring about further improvements to the quality of our training and make an even more significant impact in changing the educational trajectory of young people from low socio-economic backgrounds.
“As we approach our tenth anniversary we are committed to working with our many partners to close the educational achievement and aspiration gap that has blighted too many of Britain’s communities for too long.”
Notes To Editors
For media enquiries please contact Garfield Myrie in the Teach First press office on: 0203 117 2378 or 07866 436 014. Email: email@example.com or Hannah McCullagh on 0203 117 2469 or 07739 147 841 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ofsted inspection was carried out by Her Majesty’s inspectors supported by a team of specialist inspectors in accordance with the Framework for the inspection of Initial Teacher Education (2008-11).
The Teach First Initial Teacher training programme is provided by the National Initial Teacher Training Partnership (NITTP). The NITTP is coordinated by Teach First in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University, The University of Warwick, The Institute of Education (University of London) and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust. The training is delivered in in regions by 13 universities acting as accredited regional training Providers. The inspection was undertaken in the four Teach First regions operating in 2010/2011: London; the East and West Midlands; the North West; and Yorkshire & the Humber. Each region was graded separately.
Explanation of Terms used in the report:
‘Outstanding’- In order secure an ‘Outstanding’ rating for overall effectiveness the training and assessment and the quality of the provision across the partnerships have to be outstanding, demonstrating that all trainees and groups of trainees consistently make good progress to fulfil their potential, given their ability and starting points.
Attainment is defined as the standard reached by a trainee at the end of their training.
Progress is judged in terms of how well a trainee has developed professionally from their starting point to the standard reached at the time of the inspection or at a suitable review point.
Achievement is judged in terms of the progress made and the standard reached by a trainee at the time of the inspection or at a recent assessment review point.
About Teach First
Teach First is an independent charity working to break the link between low family income and poor educational attainment which is greater in the UK than in almost any other developed country. The scale of change needed is so great that it requires a movement of leaders to make a difference at a pupil, school and system level. Teach First is working towards achieving its mission by enabling its participants and ambassadors in the classroom to raise the achievement, aspiration, and access to opportunity of children from low socio-economic backgrounds, whilst developing a network of leaders with a life-long commitment to ending inequality in education from both inside and outside the classroom.
Since launching in 2002, Teach First has recruited and trained increasing numbers of participants –more than 770 new participants began their teacher training in June – and is working to place 1140 graduates per year by 2013, which would make it the largest graduate recruiter in the UK.
Teach First operates in six regions across England: London, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire & the Humber, North West and the North East.
The charity has expanded to work in the primary sector with the first cohort of Teach First primary teachers entering classrooms in September in London, the East and West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Teach First is raising the quality and profile of the teaching profession and has made teaching in a challenging school one of the most prestigious options for top graduates. In 2010, Teach First was ranked 7th in the coveted league of Times Top 100 Graduate Employers. Interest in the programme continues to grow amongst top graduates, with the number of applicants rising from 3,000 in 2009 to over 5,000 in 2011.
Teach First primary schools must have more than 50% of their pupils living in the lowest 30% of the IDACI*, prioritising those schools with higher levels of deprivation.
Teach First secondary schools must have one of the following:
• A first criterion based on the IDACI - Teach First works in schools that have more than 50% of their pupils living in the lowest 30% of the IDACI, prioritising those schools with higher levels of deprivation;
• A second criterion based on attainment - Teach First prioritises schools with low attainment in regards to the 5+ A*-C (English &Maths) GCSE measure. Teach First works in schools whose results fall below the lowest 30% of the national distribution;
• Teach First also works in schools that have a Challenge status: either National Challenge or City Challenge.
*Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index.
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