The thousands of people who have completed our programme over the years are our ambassadors – a group dedicated to making education fair, who have invaluable experience of tackling inequality in classrooms. They probably know more about achieving our vision than we do – which is why every year we run a survey to gather their opinions and knowledge so that we can improve our work.
This year’s survey recently drew to a close – thanks to the 21% of the ambassador community took part – with responses coming in from all cohorts and areas. In the coming months, the results of the survey will be analysed, and recommendations will be made which feed into our planning for next year. Most of this work will be done by Ewan Wakeman, our Ambassador Impact Data Officer, who logs and studies every last response.
A full report will be shared with the community in February 2017, but we wanted to share some very preliminary findings.
A movement for change
Perhaps the most positive thing so far is that 80% of our ambassadors feel that they are part of a movement.
Of that number, 69% believe that this movement is progressing towards it vision of ending educational inequality.
There is no doubt that we have built a thriving community through our Leadership Development Programme, many of whom continue to do fantastic things to make education fair. They form the most important element of the movement we’re building, of teachers, school leaders, social entrepreneurs, policy makers and business people who are committed to ending educational inequality.
Making our opportunities more accessible
In addition to building this movement, we’re also working to provide them with opportunities to make a difference.
This is one of the most prominent areas for improvement that we’ve identified so far. Our offer to ambassadors has changed over the years, and up to 66% of them know what the different components of it are. However, only up to 15% of them know how to access our offer and make the most of it – this is something we plan on working hard to address.
Levels of knowledge vary across the different elements of our offer:
Futures programme: 41% know of it / 18% know how to access it
School governor programme: 44% know of it / 16% know how to access it
Action Networks: 39% know of it / 15% know how to access it
Other volunteering opportunities: 41% know of them / 18% know how to access them
Points to build upon
Many surveyed ambassadors specifically identified their Local Engagement Officer and provided feedback on how much they valued having a personal connection with their contact point within Teach First. If you don’t know who your local contact is, please email us and we’ll point you in the right direction.
We also received positive feedback on the work of our Innovation Unit, with one ambassador stating, “I have had a good experience with Teach First as part of the Innovation Partners programme, and have used a lot of the networks”, and another stating, “Innovation sessions are brilliant.”
Ambassadors also felt positively about our statements on the government’s recent grammar school proposals, although many also felt that we could have issued a stronger response. As one ambassador put it, “The anti-grammar movement was excellent and gave a sense of purpose to Teach First. I'm so glad the organisation has publicly been against the proposals.”
There was also praise for our communications, in particular those that highlight opportunities and jobs which enable ambassadors to work towards the vision. There was a strong desire for greater personalisation, and some question whether we should be placing opportunities behind a login on our Community Website, suggesting that this makes it hard to be aware of the support available to them. We’re planning changes to our websites in the future which should address this. The twice-yearly Ambassador Magazine was also singled out for praise, although some of you have concerns over the continuing costs of delivering a physical magazine to a rapidly-expanding readership. We are examining the future potential of the magazine as a digital product.
We will have a more detailed report on the results in February 2017, and will be able to give you more detail on how we plan to respond to findings. Thanks so much to all who took part, and if you’re an ambassador who missed the Survey and would like to reconnect with us, please email us and someone will get back to you.