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 21 October 2020


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 support them online.

From 2 November until the Christmas holidays, 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. This will only be in exceptional circumstances where face-to-face programme activity is deemed essential for the Training Programme and Time to Teach Programme.

To minimise the risk to our employees and others, and to reduce the likelihood of Teach First spreading COVID-19 between schools, we will not be completing face-to-face visits where a school or Teach First employee is based in a Tier 3 (Very High Alert) area.

Where a face-to-face visit is not deemed essential, our teams will continue to work virtually to support your school. We’ve received excellent feedback from the 2020 cohort trainees about our virtual Summer Institute and we continue to monitor all trainees’ progress closely, alongside their school mentors and university tutors, as they embed their practice in classrooms.

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?

There will be no in-person events* for our programmes until at least January 2021. We’ve had some great successes delivering a fully online model in response to the COVID-19 crisis across all our programmes.

We'll continue to review this approach in line with government guidance and Teach First policy and update these pages in due course with any future changes.

*There may be a small number of exceptions to University-led delivery of practical subjects, which will be communicated directly with trainees and schools where relevant. 

What support will be available to trainee teachers in autumn 2020?

Development Leads and tutors will continue to support trainees remotely. Trainees and mentors will access all of their Teach First learning online at least for the autumn term, with no in-person events scheduled until at least January 2021 and until further notice is provided.

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

When will Teach First staff start essential face-to-face visits? 

From 2 November until the Christmas holidays, subject to school visitor policies and government guidelines, a limited number of Teach First staff (Development Leads and Achievement Partners only) will recommence essential face-to-face visits.

This will only in exceptional circumstances where face-to-face programme activity is deemed essential for the Training Programme, Time to Teach Programme and Leading Together Programme. Essential programme activity is support which cannot be completed virtually and is critical to retention and progression. In-person support may encompass interactions such as observation, real-time coaching, in-person meetings (only where virtual meetings are not feasible), and assessment of environmental factors. How this is best delivered will be decided by Teach First staff in consultation with each school.

We will continue to provide all support online unless it's deemed that trainees or schools would benefit from essential face-to-face support.

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.

We anticipate that only a small proportion of schools may require an essential visit and therefore will be in touch on a case by case basis in order to make arrangements where needed. In the meantime, please do let the relevant Teach First Development Lead or Achievement Partner know if you feel that a trainee or programme member requires essential or additional support between 2 November and the Christmas holidays.

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 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.

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