Wellbeing and mental health
There is no career more rewarding. But teaching can be tough. We're here to support your wellbeing and mental health along every step of our programme.
The Teach First Training Programme combines intensive training, classroom teaching and studying, developing trainees into inspiring teachers. This rigorous two-year process is hugely fulfilling, but will make demands on your time and workload. We believe the challenge is worth the reward.
To help you manage this, you'll have access to a wide range of wellbeing support services, including dedicated people you can turn to in times of need.
Remember: you can't help build a fair education for all if you don't look after yourself first.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wellbeing is among the top questions about our programme. Here we answer your most pressing concerns.
What support does Teach First provide to trainees during the Training Programme?
The Teach First training programme can be intense, so it's important we take carefully-considered steps to safeguard your wellbeing and mental health.
We provide a range of resources, connect you with specialists and set up each trainee with a mentor and Development Lead, who are trained to help you navigate difficult issues. Importantly, getting you up to speed with the skills you need to succeed is key to your wellbeing, which is why we prepare you well in advance during your initial training. In the case you need further support, we can connect you with various external services.
What is my school's role in supporting my wellbeing?
Your school is your employer, so they have a duty of care to support you as they would any member of staff. It's important to note that each school has its own unique support structures in place, which your headteacher or HR adviser can explain in detail.
If you face any school-related issues, remember that your mentor and school Senior Leadership Team are your first port of call.
How do trainees manage work/life balance, especially when classroom teaching and studying for a PGDE?
Teaching is a fast-paced profession. Mindful that you also have to study, we've sequenced our programme in a way that takes this into consideration.
We plan deadlines and training days carefully to avoid competing pressures and help you manage your workload. Your Development Lead is an expert when it comes to support, whilst your mentor can help you develop short/medium-term plans to organise your priorities. For more study-related support, your university will provide guidance via your tutor.
Remember: we are here to help you thrive in a challenge, so you can succeed.
Why is it important for me to disclose any pre-existing health conditions (mental or physical)?
It is our commitment to support teachers to thrive in their field. By letting us know of your needs, we can create the right conditions to help you succeed. Without this knowledge, we may not be able to support you as effectively.
Note that it's worth disclosing this information as part of your application so we can support you as soon as possible. But you can also disclose new or existing conditions with your Development Lead at any point during the programme.
You can ask for support at any time and we are committed to taking your needs seriously.
How do you balance the Teach First programme as a parent or carer?
We have many parents and carers on our programme, and it is no barrier to success. As with all of our trainees, we consider what you need to thrive.
During the Summer Institute we give caretakers room for flexibility, while on the Training Programme we connect you with other parents/carers who can provide advice on managing responsibilities.
You're not alone. We provide an extensive list of support services, tools and contacts to help you manage your wellbeing.
Ask us a question
Perfect for prospective trainees, our Ask us a question platform allows you to ask direct questions to Teach First insiders - including our recruitment team, ambassadors and current teachers. All you need to do is register for an account.
Each trainee is assigned a Development Lead. These skilled individuals are your first port of call and lie at the heart of trainee development, acting as the link between you and Teach First. Development Leads are all experienced, qualified teachers and oversee all of your training and help you navigate and resolve the issues you face (either inside or outside the classroom).
Your Development Lead will arrange several visits per year to help you stay on top of your training, including topics such as time management, workload and prioritisation. They can also direct you to external services and support and train mentors to better support their trainees.
DfE School Workload Reduction Kit
A government-led set of practical resources to help you reduce your workload. Produced with insight from experts in the education sector.
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
Teach First makes sure you have free access to the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). This offers free, confidential support, giving you access to a 24-hour phone line, online service, coaching, referrals and counselling. Trainees are entitled to a full six hours of counselling for each separate issue they face. You'll receive access to this once enrolled on the programme.
Further to this, your Development Lead can refer you to extra support services should you need it.
Online Wellbeing Module
My Wellbeing is an online course designed by Teach First in collaboration with expert psychologists. It provides evidence-based strategies to help you understand your emotional systems, asking you to work through a combination of online and real-world activities. You'll receive access to this once enrolled on the programme.
Mentors are other teachers based in your school, usually in middle or senior leadership positions. Each trainee is assigned a mentor, who is on hand to support you as you get to grips with life in the classroom.
Student Support Services
As a trainee working towards a PGDE, you'll be entitled to your respective university's Student Support Services. This often includes face-to-face sessions.
As you study, you'll be assigned a University Tutor dedicated to assessing your progress and answering course-related queries.
Don't forget, you also have access to free mental health services on the NHS (which may require a referral from your GP). Depending on your circumstances, your school or union may also have mental health policies or services in place.
Further help and information
If you have further questions regarding mental health and wellbeing while on the Training Programme, please contact your Development Lead.