Teach First

Recruitment and selection

Primary teacher and pupils

We work across the UK to find the right people – recent university graduates or those working in other sectors who want to bring their experience and commitment to the classroom – to meet schools’ needs.

Teaching in low-income communities is now the second most prestigious career choice for the country’s top graduates.

In 2015 we aim to recruit over 2,000 teachers to work in schools serving low-income communities in every region of England and in Wales.

More than one in five of our latest cohort of teachers are career changers and young professionals, bringing valuable expertise from other sectors.

More about our programme

Thousands apply to join our programme every year, and only a small fraction make it in. So how do we pick the best? This animation highlights the rigorous process we go through to find and select our trainees, ensuring that they meet the exacting standards our partner schools have for all their new recruits.




All offers to join the Leadership Development Programme are conditional until participants have: 
  • Completed a Subject Knowledge Audit; validating their suitability to teach their subject and identify any areas of subject knowledge they need to develop further before starting the programme;
  • Passed the QTS Professional Skills Tests;
  • Provided us with a satisfactory reference;
  • Completed pre-Summer Institute work, including a School Orientation Experience (SOE) readings and reflections which will support the development of their reflective abilities;
  • Successfully completed the Summer Institute.
Need more information?

Please contact one of our teams who will be able to answer your questions and give you the information you need.

Successful candidates are chosen following a rigorous recruitment and selection process including an online application and a day-long assessment centre involving a competency based interview, a group exercise, a sample teaching lesson and self-evaluation. 


“Teach First is about overcoming deprivation and having that absolute focus on high academic achievement. They select people who have a set of values that make them really committed members of staff. Whatever the circumstances are, they’re really resilient and keep going.”

Rebecca Ingram, Headteacher, Oakwood Primary School, Hertfordshire

Assessment criteria

Candidates have to demonstrate a high proficiency in eight core competencies throughout this process to ensure they can achieve real impact for pupils:

  • Humility, respect and empathy
  • Interaction
  • Leadership
  • Planning and organising
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience
  • Self-evaluation
  • Knowledge of Teach First and their academic subjects