Academic Mentors

Teach First Learning Mentor Programme

Schools need support, now more than ever. Become an academic mentor and help a generation of pupils bounce back from a national education crisis.

  • Part of the government's new National Tutoring Programme
  • Help the country bounce back from COVID-19
  • Salaried classroom experience, using your specialist subject
  • Be expedited for other Teach First programmes (subject to eligibility and availability)
  • Become a Teach First ambassador upon completion
  • Salaried at £19,000 per annum (pro-rata)
Applications for our Academic Mentoring Programme are now closed.

Help schools bounce back from COVID-19 and make a difference to children who need it most.


Our new Academic Mentoring Programme is part of the government-funded National Tutoring Programme: increasing access to high-quality tuition for disadvantaged and vulnerable children (in both primary and secondary).

Secure, fixed-term employment

You’ll earn from the moment you start your training, with a salary of £19,000 per year (pro-rata dependent on start date). Academic mentors will also be officially employed by their school, meaning you will receive all the staff benefits included.

Explore teaching as a career 

The Teach First Academic Mentoring Programme is ideal for recent graduates or career changers. With us, you’ll be able to explore the world of teaching without committing to (or paying for) teacher training. It is an ideal opportunity to use your skills and experience to influence pupils positively. You may very well discover a newfound passion and wish to take your teaching aspirations further.

Join a community of people changing education for the better

Upon completion of the programme you will automatically become a Teach First ambassador. Our community consists of teachers, leaders, policymakers and beyond, bringing their expertise to help unlock the potential in all children. You'll also have access to our networks, where you can link up with other ambassadors, keep up to date with Teach First and look out for new opportunities.

Help our schools recover 

COVID-19 has shaken our country’s education system to its core. As an academic mentor, you will play a key role in helping children in the most disadvantaged areas access high-quality tuition - giving them the confidence to pursue success in academia and beyond.  

Frequently Asked Questions

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Teach First trainee
Teach First trainee and pupils in class


Help our country recover from crisis 

While COVID-19 has affected all pupils, it’s had the biggest impact on those from disadvantaged backgrounds. As a result, the attainment gap between them and their peers has widened. Experts believe this crisis could undo ten years of progress in the education sector. We don’t want to let this happen. That’s why we’re seeking talented people to become academic mentors, helping pupils access vital tuition.

Why become a Teach First academic mentor? 

Our government-funded Academic Mentoring Programme aims to provide high-quality tuition to all pupils - especially those who need it most. There is extensive evidence showing the positive impact of tutoring on pupils. As an academic mentor you’ll be a vital part of our country's efforts to bounce back from COVID-19. Apply now and make a real difference from day one, helping children achieve a fair education.

Frequently Asked Questions

student in STEM lesson
Teach First trainee and pupil


What does a Teach First academic mentor do? 

Academic mentors are hired to support very specific issues within schools. Exactly what your role entails depends on both the needs of your school and your individual skillset.  

However, most can expect to do the following type of work once in the classroom: 

  • Subject-specific work with small groups.
  • 1:1 subject-specific work.
  • Revision lessons. 
  • Additional support for those shielding or not in school.  

What subjects will you be supporting? 

Currently, we are recruiting academic mentors specialising in one of seven subject areas: 

  • English 
  • Humanities (geography, history, religious studies)
  • Maths 
  • Modern foreign languages (French, Spanish)
  • Science 
  • Primary literacy
  • Primary numeracy


To help get you the best possible start on the programme, we will provide intensive training for successful applicants. This is split into two camps: 

  • One week of initial training for academic mentors who are already qualified teachers. 
  • Two weeks for those who hold a degree, but are not qualified teachers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Teach First trainee
Teach First trainee


The Teach First Academic Mentoring Programme will run for the 2020/21 academic year.

Is the programme right for you? 

Whether you are a recent graduate or are considering a career change, this programme is ideal for those wanting to dip their toes into the teaching profession. 

To be eligible, you must at minimum have the following: 

  • Either a completed university degree (2.2 or above) or have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 
  • Grade C (Level 4) or above in GCSE maths and English.
  • Right to work in the UK for the duration of the programme.

Because the training period for this programme is shorter than it is for the Training Programme, we require mentors to have a higher level of pre-existing subject knowledge. This means that in some cases we’re only considering candidates based on their degree subject.

You will be eligible to mentor the following curriculum areas based on set criteria:

  • Secondary maths: a B or above in A-level maths OR a university degree in maths.
  • Secondary science: a B or above in two A-level science subjects OR a university degree in a science subject.
  • Secondary modern foreign languages: a B or above at A-level in both French and Spanish OR a B at A-level in either French or Spanish, with 50% of your university degree focusing on that language.
  • Secondary English: an English degree.
  • Secondary humanities (geography, history, religious studies): a degree in either geography, history or religious studies.
  • Primary: a university degree in any national curriculum subject, psychology, education studies or childhood studies.

Other relevant qualifications and experience will be considered on a case by case basis, and you will be assessed based on both academics and Teach First competencies.

Your school and start date 

After receiving an offer, successful applicants will be matched with a school and receive a start date.

Note that start dates are conditional on the needs of our partner schools – depending on your subject speciality and when you apply. We appreciate your flexibility during this time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Teach First trainee and pupil reading a book
Teach First trainee at whiteboard


How to apply 

Applications for our Academic Mentoring Programme are now closed.  Please note, you will no longer be able to submit an application for the programme. 

What to expect at your Assessment Centre

If your online application is successful you’ll be invited to attend an online assessment: a half-day at one of our online Assessment Centres. This is your opportunity to show us your potential to learn and develop.

You’ll complete a series of exercises that will allow us to understand your strengths and your areas for development.  To ensure a fair process for everyone, your assessors in the Assessment Centre will not have seen your application. This means we’ll select participants for the programme based on the behaviours and potential you demonstrate on the day.

Your recruitment officer will also be in touch before your online assessment to talk through the day in more detail, as well as to answer any questions you might have. You can reach out to them at any point to discuss it in more depth.

The day is comprised of the following three main elements, starting with the competency-based interview, and ending with an academic mentoring demonstration and self-evaluation.

Competency-based interview

You’ll have a one-on-one interview with an assessor, focusing on how you can demonstrate our competencies. This is also your chance to ask any questions you have.

Case study and role play

You will be given a scenario that you could encounter as an academic mentor. During a one-on-one conversation with an assessor (who will be roleplaying as a school stakeholder) you will use your problem-solving skills to give ideas on how you would approach the situation.

This exercise is designed to test how you think about context, solve problems, express solutions and interact with other people.

Academic mentoring demonstration

You will deliver a pre-prepared eight-minute academic mentoring demonstration. Seven days before your Assessment Centre you will be emailed detailed information on what we’re looking for you to deliver. Please prepare your materials and practise beforehand. It's best to remember that this isn't a "presentation", but a mentoring demonstration to engage and inspire.

Afterwards, you’ll complete a written self-evaluation of your academic mentoring demonstration.

Adjustments for COVID-19

Due to the current guidance around social distancing, all of our Assessment Centres are now virtual.

If your online application is successful you will receive an email from us letting you know the date and time of your Assessment Centre as well as a link to confirm your attendance. A few days before your scheduled Assessment Centre, we’ll email again outlining how the assessment will work and with a link to the virtual meeting room.

In your invite email we’ll send through an information pack on how to download Zoom, a video conferencing app. You’ll receive all this information well in advance of your Assessment Centre, giving you plenty of time to have a play around with the app and get comfortable using it.

Common mistakes at the online assessment

Our assessors have listed some common mistakes candidates make in preparation for and at their online assessment. Take some time to reflect on the below, and think how you'd avoid them:

  • Not being yourself.  Consciously adopting behaviours you believe we are looking for or trying to emulate your favourite teacher is likely to backfire and appear rehearsed or unnatural. We want to meet the real you and to understand what you uniquely bring so try not to overthink your actions and be yourself.
  • Not doing your homework. Lack of preparation can undermine an otherwise strong performance in areas that can be easily addressed ahead of the online assessment. Be sure to use the resources on our website and the support of our recruitment officers effectively. We want to know that you understand what sets us apart and to hear your story. We recommend you fully consider what each competency entails and how it would manifest itself in a mentoring role? How have your experiences so far enabled you to develop within these areas?

    A week before your assessment you will receive an email with key information, please read this carefully and follow the suggested guidance.
  • Not considering structure and phasing. We are more than happy to give you time to think. Try to avoid lengthy anecdotes with unnecessary detail. Focus on what has been asked and use the CAR method (Context - Action - Result) to help structure your answers. It is fine to use a team example, but use ‘I’ and not ‘we’ to ensure we can give you credit for your direct actions.

    As a mentor you are a role model and a professional. Dress appropriately and avoid using informal language or verbalising internal dialogue which could be less professional than intended.
  • Not considering your audience. When planning an academic mentoring demonstration don’t just focus on your delivery, consider the actions of the pupils and their learning. It is important to consider the age group you are planning for and their likely interests.

    Ask yourself some key questions – Do I have an understanding of what this age group is like? Have I considered their enjoyment of the content? How will I know if they are on track?

There are many online resources that can support your planning and you may find it helpful to research best practice, particularly if you are unfamiliar with recommended teaching and learning strategies and/or approaches to classroom management. 

Have more questions?

For further help with your application, click below:

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Training Programme

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