Educational inequality starts before a child even enters a classroom. At the age of 5, the vocabulary of a child from a low-income family is on average 11 months behind that of a child from a higher-income background.
Our work in primary schools and Early Years settings aims to ensure that this learning gap can be narrowed as soon as possible, giving children the best possible chances of succeeding in education and in later life.
Since 2011, the Garfield Weston Foundation has provided the vital funding to establish our primary programme, and more recently our Early Years programme. With their support, we have been able to recruit, train and place over 850 new primary and nearly 40 Early Years teachers, who have worked with approximately 16,000 pupils to help improve their educational outcomes.
Andy Johnson is a teacher at Napier Community Primary and Nursery School in Kent, one of the participants recruited and trained with the Garfield Weston Foundation’s support. Andy believes early intervention is crucial – “In Early Years education, you can be one of the only consistent and dependable people to these children… It’s about being there every day and establishing strong relationships with the children based on trust and openness.” This laying of strong foundations is vital to starting children along their educational journeys, says Andy – “I want my pupils to be confident, to know what they want but be willing to try new things as well. I think if they’re leaving me with those skills, I’m giving them a really strong footing.”
The Foundation’s support goes far beyond a single programme. Since supporting us at our launch as a charity in 2002 and helping us to recruit our first cohort of teachers in 2003, they have become an integral partner by contributing significantly to a number of important areas of our work, including supporting our operating costs and enabling us to establish our national headquarters. In early 2015 the Foundation also helped design and chair a successful event on our behalf, with 40 key stakeholders within the sector hearing a panel discussion led by Lord Andrew Adonis, exploring the challenges faced by schools outside of London.
Philippa Charles, Director at the Foundation said “The Garfield Weston Foundation is committed to supporting outstanding projects aimed at improving the education and outcomes of young people, and we are proud to have played a key role in the establishment of Teach First and the fantastic impact it has achieved and continues to achieve today”.
An integral part of our history and success to date, the Garfield Weston Foundation continues to support our work to make education fair for all.