Head of Recruitment Operations at Teach First Ann-Marie Mcloughlin
Ann-Marie Mcloughlin
Head of Recruitment Operations at Teach First

What is Teach First’s Training Programme Nomination?

Formerly known as 'TA Fast Track', our Training Programme Nomination route enables anyone working in a school setting to qualify as a teacher. Here we explore what it involves and why upskilling your faculty could make a real difference.

In 2016, Teach First introduced a dedicated route for support staff, notably teaching assistants working in eligible schools to take the next step in their career and join our Training Programme to become a qualified teacher.

Since then, over 250 individuals have come through the process and achieved Qualified Teacher Status, yet this pathway is not as widely known as the more traditional route onto the programme. This year, 101 trainees began their training via this route, and as we’ve opened an Autumn 2022 intake, we now have a further 100 places available via our Training Programme Nomination route for anyone working in a school setting that wants to make the move to qualified teacher.

As current Head of Recruitment Operations and a Teach First ambassador from the 2005 intake, I’ve seen first-hand the growth of the Training Programme, from a cohort of 180 back when I started to cohorts of 1,600+ teacher trainees annually. It’s been amazing to be part of that journey and follow so many trainees as they’ve progressed as teachers and leaders in all fields. The Training Programme Nomination route has been a great way to open doors for individuals who previously hadn’t thought they could make the move to qualified teacher.

How did the Training Programme Nomination route get started?

The Training Programme Nomination route started out as ‘TA Fast Track’, which was dedicated to Teaching Assistants in primary and secondary schools across England.

We recognised that there was a huge pool of potential candidates working as teaching assistants who would like to take their career and skills to the next level and train to become a teacher but were apprehensive about leaving their existing school and salary.

Similarly, when we spoke to headteachers, they could identify individuals perfectly suited for the Training Programme but were hesitant to lose brilliant colleagues from their own workforce. That’s why we launched the route to enable talented support staff to train on the job and remain in their school whilst undertaking world-class teacher training and leadership development through our Training Programme.

We currently have a member of staff completing the Training Programme Nomination route – it has enabled one of our support team a route into the profession, who previously felt that this was not an option for them. This in turn, has inspired other members of the support team to explore getting a degree and encouraged further graduates to join the school. 

Adrian Crossland, Headteacher, Kessingland Church of England Primary Academy

Why is it no longer called TA Fast Track?

We rebranded the route to Training Programme Nomination last year because we didn’t want schools or applicants to think it was a route just for teaching assistants. Over recent years we’ve seen higher level teaching assistants, cover supervisors and lab technicians be successfully nominated and come through the programme.

This year, we expanded our eligibility even wider. Our mission has always been about building a fair education for all and we’ve been able to achieve this through working with schools and developing great teachers. But schools often know best about who is going to be the right fit. That’s why we’re leaving it up to the headteacher to nominate talented individuals that have what it takes to complete our Training Programme – that could be existing support staff, governors, mentors, or unqualified teachers.  

How will Teach First assess a candidates’ suitability for the Training Programme Nomination route?

When the headteacher of a school nominates someone, one of the first questions in the nomination form relates to why they believe the person would be a suitable candidate for the Training Programme. Often, trainees coming via the Training Programme Nomination route have been working in schools for several years. They already know the pupils, understand the culture and have shown they are committed to the school.  However, we still want to ensure both schools and applicants have a good understanding of the Teach First mission and our values, and so our School Partnerships team will carefully review nominations before they are accepted.

When will my trainee start in school?

This year, schools have faced a variety of recruitment challenges and we’ve received an extraordinary demand for new trainee teachers. We wanted to do more to support schools to recruit teachers with great potential, which is why we took the exciting step of launching an Autumn Institute start date for our 2022 Training Programme. This means after a five-week initial training course starting on 12 September, the trainees will be in the classroom by the end of October.

Autumn intake trainees will be part of our 2022 Training Programme, joining peers who joined Summer Institute and all elements of the programme, including a fully funded postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) will be the same. What’s more, we’re offering a £1000 reduction to the school fees making it more affordable for schools to recruit and train new teachers through this route.

Schools interested in nominating an individual can make an initial enquiry online and then a member of our School Partnership team will be in touch to confirm to assist with the nomination process. We recommend nominating a trainee by the 28 July 2022. If you miss this date, but know there is a member of your support staff or an individual who is connected to your school – e.g. a school governor or mentor – who has the potential to train via this route, we will consider applications on a case-by-case basis up until early August.


Our Training Programme Nomination route is now open and accepting applications. Sign up a talented member of staff to become a qualified teacher in your school.


Frequently Asked Questions

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