Hire academic mentors

Hire academic mentors with Teach First

Pupils hit hardest by lockdown need extra support. Hire first-rate, affordable mentors to help them bounce back.

Mentor requests are currently closed.

  • Low-cost support for your school
  • Rigorously selected and trained mentors
  • Vital mentoring for pupils who need it most
  • Fixed-term, with a choice of start dates
  • Working alongside teachers to help pupils progress
  • Open to schools across the country

Help your pupils get back on track this school year.


School mentor requests are currently closed.

Through the National Tutoring Programme’s Tuition Partners, state-maintained schools can access tutoring subsidised by 75% for pupils who need extra support.

Search for approved Tuition Partners

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Low cost support for your school

As part of the government’s National Tutoring Programme all of your mentor’s salary is covered by the Department for Education (DfE), so it won’t impact your budget. Each mentor earns £19,000 for the 2020/21 school year, which is paid pro rata from the date they start.

Your new mentor will be employed by your school. The role is flexible too, so you can tailor it to suit your school's needs. They’ll be part of your team and committed to boosting your pupils’ education.

Rigorously selected mentors who’ll quickly get to work

We’ll work with you to understand what you need, then we’ll do all the recruiting.

We have two decades of experience selecting people with the potential to become great teachers. We’ll use that expertise to pick out the best mentors too. Your next mentors could be qualified teachers or graduates with an interest in pursuing a career in education. Once we’ve recruited your mentor, we’ll train them prior to and during their role in school to prepare them for the challenges they’re likely to face.

Vital mentoring for pupils who need it most

The COVID-19 crisis has rocked the education system, and disadvantaged young pupils are the worst affected. During lockdown, these students were less likely to have access to the facilities they needed to learn. The DfE predicts this could widen the attainment gap by up to 75%.

Bringing an academic mentor into your school will support your staff to prevent this happening. They’ll work closely with pupils who have fallen behind, giving them the intensive support they need.

Working alongside teachers to help pupils progress

Your teachers are doing an amazing job. But even in the best of times it’s hard to cater for everyone’s needs in the classroom, let alone when many haven’t set foot in school for months.

By working with pupils who need extra support, our mentors will give your teachers some breathing space. They’ll be able to carry on with their normal lessons, keep on track with the curriculum and plan for the long term, knowing all their pupils’ specific needs are being met.

Open to schools across the country

We’re keen to help as many schools in disadvantaged areas as possible. Please note, mentor requests are currently closed.

If you haven’t worked with us before, now is a good chance to get to know our work, with a view to taking on one of our trainee teachers or accessing our further range of support in future. You may even meet your next teacher, since many of our mentors are thinking of joining our Training Programme.

Frequently Asked Questions

Funded by the DfE logo
With the additional – and vital - support provided by our academic mentors, we can help close the attainment gap facing children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Russell Hobby, CEO at Teach First


The aftershock of COVID-19

Even before the school closures, there were many more barriers to learning for poorer pupils that their wealthier peers simply don’t experience. We’d made some progress closing the attainment gap but still had lots to do. COVID-19 has made that job much harder – disadvantaged young people are much more likely to have fallen further behind during lockdown.

You’ll be familiar with the sobering reality that underprivileged pupils were already more than 18 months behind when they finished secondary school, with only 28.5% of those eligible for free school meals achieving five good GCSEs. If the gap widens by a further 75%, as the Department for Education warns, the effects for our country and future workforce will be far-reaching and long-lasting. We can’t let that happen.

Let’s keep pupils on track together

By hiring one of our mentors you’ll be able to plug that gap quickly. Addressing the issue at an early stage will give us the best chance of helping pupils transition back to daily learning in the classroom.

Our government-funded Academic Mentoring Programme will provide high-quality tutoring for those who need it most in your school. To have the greatest impact we need as many schools in disadvantaged areas to be involved as possible, so we’d love to hear from you.

Creating lasting impact

We’re confident we can start making a difference quickly, because we know what it takes to help schools that face lots of challenges succeed.

Since we started in 2003, we’ve recruited more than 12,000 teachers, who in turn have supported more than one million pupils. Independent research shows that hiring our trainees improves pupils’ GCSE results by one grade overall. And 99% of our trainees gain the two highest QTS grades.

We’re putting all of that knowledge into selecting and training academic mentors. They’ll provide an extra stepping stone to bridge the gap to the bright futures they deserve. 

Frequently Asked Questions

student raises his hand
teacher and class


What will your academic mentor do?

What duties an academic mentor undertakes depends entirely on the needs of your pupils. We’ll discuss this during recruitment, to make sure your mentor is right for your school. But we expect them to do some of the following with pupils between the ages of five and sixteen:

  • 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 they support?

We’re currently 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

Will they be trained?

Every successful applicant will undergo intensive training with Teach First before they arrive in school. This will help them understand more about the challenges they will face as academic mentors, and how to help each pupil re-engage with learning.

Academic mentors who are already qualified teachers will have one week of training. Those who have a degree - but are not qualified teachers - will have two weeks of training.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, please contact academicmentoring@teachfirst.org.uk.

teacher and student
academic mentor


How much do academic mentors cost?

This is a government-funded programme, which means the Department for Education covers all of your mentor’s salary (excluding any on-costs such as pension contributions, tax and National Insurance). Your school will employ them, so they will be also be eligible for any additional staff benefits you offer.

Schools can make use of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium fund to cover associated on-costs, adding extra staff capacity without reducing your budgets

Each mentor will be paid £19,000 a year. They will be paid pro-rata, depending on their start date. Regardless of when they start, their contract must run until the final day of school in July 2021.

There will be no recruitment or training fees from us, to further protect your school budgets.

Frequently Asked Questions

young boy in class
academic mentor

Hiring process

School mentor requests are currently closed.

Through the National Tutoring Programme’s Tuition Partners, state-maintained schools can access tutoring subsidised by 75% for pupils who need extra support.

Search for approved Tuition Partners

Is your school eligible?

At Teach First we prioritise working with schools serving disadvantaged communities throughout England.

Our criteria for partner schools are agreed with the Department for Education (DfE). They are used to identify schools that will benefit most from working with us. We use the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Achieving Excellence Areas (AEA); a measure that recognises parts of the country where children consistently underperform.

This focuses on schools that have either:

  • an IDACI of 40 or greater (40% of pupils live in the three most deprived deciles)
  • an IDACI of 35 to 40 and an AEA score of 4 to 6
  • an IDACI of 30 to 35 and an AEA score of 5 or 6
  • an IDACI of 25 to 30 and an AEA score of 6

If you’re not sure whether your school qualifies, get in touch and we’ll be able to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, please contact academicmentoring@teachfirst.org.uk.

academic mentor
Teacher and pupil looking at chart on table

Need teachers? Our trainees can meet your school’s needs.

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