Eligibility for the Leading Together programme

This section provides information on the eligibility requirements needed to join our Leading Together programme. 

Frequently asked questions

Is my school eligible?

Leading Together is about making a lasting difference to the lives of disadvantaged children. This is why we work with primary and secondary schools in areas of greatest need.

To take part, your school needs to be either a Teach First partner school or eligible to be one. That means your school must be in England and teach a high number of pupils from low-income backgrounds. For the Leading Together programme, we prioritise places for schools in Ofsted Category 3 or 4, or at risk of moving to these categories at their next inspection. We accept Category 2 schools in certain cases.

We calculate which schools are eligible using the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Achieving Excellence Areas (AEA), a measure which identifies parts of the country where children often underperform.

Based on these scoring systems, eligible schools must fall under one of these categories:

  •  An IDACI of 40 or greater (this means 40% of pupils are living in low-income homes).
  •  An IDACI of 35 to 40 and an AEA score of 4 to 6.
  • An IDACI of 30 to 35 and an AEA of 5 or 6.
  • An IDACI of 25 to 30 and an AEA score of 6.

If you are unsure if your school is eligible, please get in touch and we can help you.

To take part, where should my school be located?

For Spring 2024, we’ll be working with schools in the following areas:


  • East of England
  • East Midlands
  • London
  • South East and South Coast


  • North East
  • North West 

Please note that spaces are limited and may be filled quickly if we get a high level of interest from eligible schools. We encourage you to express your interest now so you are informed as soon as applications open.  

We prioritise places for schools in Ofsted Category 3 or 4, or at risk of moving to these categories at their next inspection.   

Can I express interest in the programme for my school if I am not the headteacher?

We will work with headteachers to see if joining the Leading Together programme would be appropriate for their school. However, a member of the senior leadership team can register the school’s interest for the programme based on them having spoken to the headteacher in the first instance.

​If my school has completed Leading Together in the past, can I apply again?  

Unfortunately not, as the way we prioritise places is designed to support schools in greatest need. Places are limited and we work with schools based on the eligibility and target areas above.  

However, Teach First does offer other leadership programmes you could use to develop your staff such as our NPQs and the Careers Leader Programme.


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