Coronavirus (COVID-19) information: headteachers, mentors and schools
Thank you for the incredible work you’re doing in these tough circumstances. We hope everyone at your school is keeping safe and well.
Last updated 8 January 2021
Due to the third national lockdown announced on 4 January 2021, we’ll now be pausing all face-to-face visits by support roles in schools until further notice. We’ll continue to provide online support to trainees, mentors, programme members and other key school stakeholders as we have been doing whilst considering how we can best support you in this new lockdown situation. Any further updates will be added to these web pages.
Our priority remains protecting and supporting our schools, our communities and our employees. In response to COVID-19, all our programmes are continuing to be delivered remotely.
We’ll keep these pages updated as our plans develop. Please refer to the sections that are most relevant to your school below.
- All programmes
Our teams will continue to work to support you online. Where staff work with you one-to-one, they will continue to do so – but these meetings will be conducted via phone or video link in most cases.
- Our Training Programme (schools with trainee teachers)
If you have a Teach First trainee teacher at your school, our Development Leads will continue to provide high-quality, highly responsive support to them online.
From December, subject to school visitor policies and government guidelines, a limited number of Teach First staff (including Development Leads) will recommence essential face-to-face visits in schools.
To minimise risk and to reduce the likelihood of Teach First spreading COVID-19 between schools, our employees will only be permitted to make one school visit per day and cannot complete school visits in an area under different tier restrictions to the area in which they live. The Development Lead visiting may not be the Development Lead who you usually liaise with. Please keep your Development Lead informed if you feel you need any additional support.
Where a face-to-face visit is not deemed essential, our teams will continue to work virtually to support your school.
- School leadership programmes (teachers and leaders currently enrolled)
For schools and teachers already enrolled, rest assured that your programme will continue, with adjustments to make it accessible online:
- Any online updates have been designed specifically to support high quality learning through digital tools. Teachers and leaders will be able to take part in learning from a location that works for them.
- We’ve rescheduled all group training events. Where possible, the topics covered have been rescheduled and will be delivered online instead.
- Where our staff work with your school on a one-to-one basis, they will continue to do so – but these meetings will be conducted via phone or video link.
Specific programme information can be found on the relevant pages:
- Hiring new teachers
We’re already recruiting talented people to train as new teachers in summer 2021. The context of your school, the difficulties your pupils face, and the gaps in your team are all important factors when recruiting new trainee teachers. We find bright people with the enthusiasm, resilience and resourcefulness to help disadvantaged children succeed. Visit our teacher recruitment page to learn more about hiring new teachers for your school.
- Hiring academic mentors
As part of the government’s response to COVID-19, we’re excited to offer a new Academic Mentoring Programme designed to help you support the pupils who need it most. We’ll recruit and train graduates to work closely with pupils who have fallen behind and give high-quality, focused support to small groups. With base-salaries funded by the DfE, it’s an opportunity to help your pupils get back on track, while protecting your time and budget.
- Applying for school leadership programmes
We continue to accept new applications and expressions of interest for our school leadership programmes. This includes:
Frequently Asked Questions
We know it’s an uncertain time. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions to provide more guidance. As circumstances change, we'll keep these updated with the latest information as soon as we’re able to provide it.
- What’s happening about in-person events as part of your programmes?
Teach First in-person programme events will remain online and we won’t hold any in-person programme events for the rest of the 2020/21 academic year. This is to prioritise the health and safety of all involved and support with the forward planning for our partner schools and teachers. It covers in-person Training Programme CPD or training days, and those for school leadership programmes.
We are well equipped to continue delivering our programme events and learning modules online, as we have done since the initial lockdown period commenced. In practical terms, this means:
- Trainees, programme members and mentors will continue to have the support of Teach First through their Development Leads, both online and with in-person visits where this is essential.
- This excludes Summer Institute 2021 for new trainees joining the Training Programme, which is currently being designed and more detailed information will follow.
- This excludes include university partner events related to any of our programmes. Our university partners have been informed of our plans to pause in-person events for the remainder of the academic year. However, they will make independent decisions about university events, and Training Programme university partners will communicate their plans separately.
- How does online training work for trainee teachers?
Your trainees will still need scheduled time set aside to conduct their live online learning and support. Both Teach First and our university colleagues are set up well for working with schools and trainees online to respond flexibly to the ongoing pandemic.
So that your trainees are fully supported, we expect schools to continue allocating time out of their teaching timetables to complete their online training days. This means that they’ll be able to fully engage in the live PGDE seminars and university sessions.
Joining these live online sessions provides the opportunities for trainees to ask questions in real-time that further enhance their understanding of the topics covered. It empowers trainees to identify new ways of thinking and discuss what works in other schools. This helps them learn and model best practice – an area that could prove more challenging in the current classroom context.
- What does an online training day look like?
During a typical online training day our trainees would have a mixture of live seminars with peers and their delivery leads and periods of self-study. This is sequenced to enable trainees to work through content as they would in a typical face-to-face conference day. As such trainees are expected to have the same release time as they would have in a typical conference day to complete the curriculum in sequence and take the most away from these sessions. If you have any questions about your trainees joining live online training, please contact your regional team.
- Where and how will face-to-face school visits take place?
Our face-to-face support in schools will now be available in all government tiers, but the range of support will vary by government tier. This is also subject to ongoing changes to government or Department for Education guidance and is dependent upon the unique visitor policy for each school.
- In all tiers we continue to provide high quality, highly responsive support to trainees, mentors and programme members online. Although face-to-face meetings and support are important, we’ve received positive feedback about the impact of our online support, and we’re pleased that trainees and programme members are still making great progress.
- For schools within Tiers 1 and 2, we will be prioritising face-to-face visits for trainees and schools that have the greatest or most imminent need for support. School visits regarding fundraising and videography activity might also take place in these areas.
- For schools within Tiers 3 and 4, we will only be able to provide essential face-to-face support. This covers support that can’t be done online and without which a trainee or school is at risk of withdrawing from their programme(s). This could be an observation of a trainee for whom progress is ‘a cause for concern’; or a group coaching session, which is considered essential support.
We will continue to provide most of our school support online where it is sensible to do so. To minimise risk and to reduce the likelihood of Teach First spreading COVID-19 between schools, our employees will only be permitted to make one school visit per day and cannot complete school visits in an area under different tier restrictions to the area in which they live.
- Who will be visiting schools?
If a trainee or programme member at your school requires an essential visit, please note that we have a limited number of staff completing the essential visits and therefore the individual visiting may not be the typical Teach First colleague who you usually liaise with.
To minimise risk and to reduce the likelihood of Teach First spreading COVID-19 between schools, our employees will only be permitted to make one school visit per day and cannot complete school visits in an area under different tier restrictions to the area in which they live.
Colleagues in other roles at Teach First, such as school partnerships, Regional Managers and/or Regional Directors, remain contactable online should you require any assistance.
- What about university partners?
Our university partners have been informed of our plans to pause in-person events for the remainder of the academic year. However, they will make independent decisions about university events, and Training Programme university partners will communicate their plans separately.
Our university partners are determining next steps regarding their tutor visits for the Training Programme and are continuing to work closely in partnership with Development Leads and our regional teams.