Coronavirus (COVID-19) – information for headteachers and schools

Thank you for the incredible work you’re doing in these tough circumstances.

Last updated 11 May 2020


We’re making changes across all our programmes for schools to protect health and stay in line with the latest advice. We’ll keep this page updated as our plans develop. Whatever happens, we’ll make sure schools are well prepared and supported across our programmes. We’ve summarised the impact of these changes for schools below.

Training Programme (schools with current trainee teachers) 

If you have a Teach First trainee teacher currently at your school, we’ll be working closely with them and the relevant partner university to make sure they’re still supported effectively.

The Department for Education has confirmed that trainee teachers will be able to gain QTS this summer as planned. This judgement will be made based on assessments to date and progress towards meeting the Teachers’ Standards.

School leadership programmes (teachers and leaders currently enrolled)

This includes the National Professional Qualifications (NPQML, NPQSL and NPQH), Careers Leader programme and Leading Together. 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 virtually 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.

This is an interim arrangement until further notice, and we’ll keep you updated as the situation develops. We’re sorry for the disruption but are confident we’ll be able to keep supporting you through our new approach.

Recruiting new teachers for your school

Our 2020 Training Programme is going ahead, and we’re still recruiting talented people to train as new teachers this summer.

We’re making changes to this year's Summer Institute to ensure the safety of our trainees and pupils. In short:

  • The dates will remain the same (Monday 22 June - Friday 24 July 2020), but due to the current social distancing guidelines, we are designing an online Summer Institute.
  • Completing our online Summer Institute will still put trainee teachers on track to gain both their QTS and PGDE qualifications.
  • More detailed information about the changes can be found in the FAQs at the bottom of the page.
  • Visit our teacher recruitment page to learn more about finding new teachers for your school.

Applying for school leadership programmes

We continue to accept new applications for our school leadership programmes. This includes: 

Impact on inequality and schools    

You’re contending with the biggest tests the education sector has ever seen. It’s clear we need great teachers and brilliant leaders more than ever. 

We want to help. We’ve compiled creative resources and practical guidance from teachers across the country to help you approach some of the immediate challenges. You can access them via our COVID-19 schools resource hub.

Next Steps 

We understand that you’ll be focusing on what your school and pupils need right now. When you’re ready to start looking ahead, we’re here for the long-term. We can support your school with the people, strategies and professional development you need to adapt to this ever-changing world. Get in touch when it’s right for you.

We’re inspired by the work you are doing. It shows the best of this community. Thank you, look after yourself and stay safe.


FAQs (we’ll keep updating these, so check regularly)

What is ‘Summer Institute’?

The core purposes of Summer Institute are to prepare trainees for starting in the classroom and enabling them to be ready to teach pupils from September. Our online Summer Institute is being designed with these elements firmly at the forefront, including an online practice curriculum, where trainees will be able to ‘teach’ within a group of peers and learn how to respond to a variety of classroom scenarios. This will be followed by extensive support in September, when development leads and tutors will embed practice techniques into the year-long training that trainees experience on the training programme. 

When is Summer Institute?

The dates will remain the same (Monday 22 June - Friday 24 July 2020), but due to the current social distancing guidelines, we are designing an online Summer Institute.  

How will Summer Institute be delivered online? 

Although most of the learning will be flexible, trainee teachers will be expected to commit to approx. 40 hours of dedicated time per week. This will include approx. 5 hours of ‘live’ sessions, including time spent working with their Teach First development lead and university tutor.

The remaining hours will be self-directed and include a mixture of working through course content, assimilating information, engaging with key readings and research, preparation for seminars and accessing recorded content from speakers from the wider educational sector.

How will trainees get to know their new school? 

Our online Summer Institute will mean that trainees will be able to participate no matter where they are, but we are also aiming to build into the timetable time spent in their employment school, so that you can familiarise them with the culture and ethos of your school, their timetable and what to expect in September. We have considerable expertise in supporting new teachers to be ready for the classroom and our curriculum is sequenced to ensure trainees get the best possible training, so we will be explicit about what they need to focus upon, in what order and by when.  

How will trainees be supported? 

Each trainee will have a dedicated Development Lead from Teach First throughout our online Summer Institute who will be there to offer them one-to-one support. There will also be plenty of opportunities to connect with other trainees in their region and subject group, as well as national get-togethers – both online, and in person once restrictions have been lifted. 

Will trainees be fully prepared for the classroom? 

We have 17 years’ experience of training teachers. Our subject and teaching experts internally and from our university partners are adapting our Summer Institute curriculum to make sure it can successfully be delivered online. Completing our online Summer Institute would still put trainees on track to gain both QTS and NQT, plus a PGDE, after two years.

The high bar that we pride ourselves on for Summer Institute remains. The rigour, care and expertise that we put into the five weeks remains. And in return, we are grateful for your support in engaging with trainees with the same enthusiasm and commitment, by offering them roles in your schools from September. These trainees will be well prepared to join thousands of other teachers up and down the country who will be helping get the nation back on track, especially by supporting our most vulnerable children. 

How will trainees observe and practise teaching? 

Trainees will still be able to observe and practise teaching – supported by an expert teacher educator from Teach First, and your university partner. Where training would normally be delivered in an interactive group setting (e.g. school-centred learning) we will provide online alternatives. We will review each session individually to make sure it’s fit for purpose. Beyond these sessions, we’ll also consider any additional support that your trainee might require when they start in school, to correctly embed the practice techniques they’ve established online. 

How are we preparing trainees for changes in schools? 

We're aware that trainees will be going into an unprecedented school environment, and this will look different for each school and each pupil. We’ll make sure you're supported and that your trainees are ready to go into classrooms, whatever those classrooms might look and feel like.

Safeguarding is an important part of our training, which will be delivered at our online Summer Institute and throughout trainees’ time on our Training Programme. We’ll be developing this further to focus on child development, mental health and wellbeing, so that trainees are well equipped to support the children in your school. 

Further updates

We’re continuing to work hard on designing the best online Summer Institute possible and will keep you updated as this progresses. If you have any immediate questions, or want to talk through the above, don't hesitate to contact your regional school relationship team

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