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Our history

Our history

We’ve come a long way with our community since our founding in 2002. Look back over some of the key milestones in our history so far.


Founding - Our Founder and CEO, Brett Wigdortz, left the corporate world to set up a charity to improve education. He developed a business plan for Teach First after the McKinsey team he was part of had looked into how businesses could help improve secondary education in London and found that great teachers could raise pupils’ results by at least 40%. In July 2002, Teach First officially launched in Canary Wharf with a team of 11 employees led by Brett Wigdortz as CEO and Stephen O’Brien CBE & George Iacobescu CBE as co-chairs of the Board of Trustees. Canary Wharf Group and Citi become the first corporate supporters of Teach First.


First participants enter the classroom - Our first cohort of participants started to teach in 45 secondary schools in London. Haling Manor High School in Croydon was the first school to sign up for our participants.


Our second cohort starts teaching - Our 2004 cohort of 197 participants started teaching pupils in 65 secondary schools across London.


We expand out of London - We opened an office in Greater Manchester, and began recruiting our first cohort to teach outside of London.

Our first cohort become ambassadors - Our inaugural 2003 cohort of participants graduated to become ambassadors.


2006 cohort starts in the classroom - We recruited 265 participants who started teaching in 90 partner secondary schools.


We expand to the Midlands - This year we expanded into the Midlands, our third region.

We partner with over 100 schools - This year we recruited 272 participants to teach in 118 partner secondary schools.


First Manchester cohort become ambassadors - Our ambassador community increased to 635 people, joined by our first Manchester cohort.


We expand to Yorkshire and Humber - Our Yorkshire and Humber launch event brought together politicians, schools, participants, and supporters to celebrate the expansion and cement the work that had already started in the region.


We expand to the North East - We expanded to our sixth region, the North East, opening an office in Newcastle.

We reach 1,000 ambassadors - Our ambassador community increased to 1,168 people.


Our first primary cohort start teaching - 772 participants began teaching in our partner schools, including 84 primary participants for the very first time.


We expand to the South East - We opened a new office in Rochester, providing pupils in schools in challenging circumstances in the region with over 40 great teachers from September 2012 teaching English, Maths, Science and Primary.

Nearly 1,000 new teachers start in the classroom - We recruited 997 participants and partnered with 519 primary and secondary schools. Our Initial Teacher Training provision was judged as 'outstanding' in all areas assessed by Ofsted.

We celebrate 10 years of work - More than 2,000 people came together for our 10th anniversary at Challenge 2012 in the Royal Festival Hall in London to look at how we can collectively end inequality in education. We also launched our Impact Goals to 2022, which set out our areas of focus over the next decade.

Brett Wigdortz receives OBE - As our 10th Anniversary year drew to a close, our Founder and CEO, Brett Wigdortz, received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list.


We expand to two new regions - We are now in nine English regions having expanded to the South Coast and the South West.

We expand to Early Years - We expanded our primary provision to include early years to help ensure that some of the UK’s most disadvantaged young children get the excellent education they deserve. From September 2013, we’ll be training committed and talented people who want to work with children aged three to five.

Wales welcomes Teach First Cymru - 32 participants will be teaching in schools across South Wales as part of a three year pilot starting in September 2013.

We’re the UK’s number one graduate employer - We became the largest graduate recruiter in the UK; with 1,261 graduates being recruited and trained this year. The Prime Minister joined Headteachers, school pupils, Teach First participants and ambassadors at Number 10 Downing Street to celebrate the achievement.


BBC Three documentary: Tough Young Teachers - This six-part BBC Three documentary series showed the sometimes gruelling, often life-changing journey of a new teacher on screen for the very first time. The story followed the journey of six new teachers, working in schools in low-income communities, as they came to understand what it means to be responsible for a classroom of young people.

FEA Launched - The Fair Education Alliance, a coalition for change in education comprising 27 of the UK’s leading organisations including Teach First, launches with the goal of ending the achievement gap between young people from our poorest communities and their wealthier peers.

1 million pupils taught - Over 6,000 teachers trained and supported by Teach First since 2003, have now taught more than one million pupils in low income communities across the breadth of England and Wales.


East of England launched - Our newest local area officially launches, as 57 new trainee teachers begin their two year journey on our Leadership Development Programme in the East of England.


Ofsted outstanding achieved - The Teach First Leadership Development Programme, our teaching and leadership training programme, is judged Outstanding by Ofsted across England in 41 of 48 categories.

10,000 participants  - Our 10,000th participant begins the Teach First programme.

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