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Our teacher training

The Leadership Development Programme.

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Our teacher training

Recruiting and training teachers for your school

The Leadership Development Programme recruits and trains high-quality teachers to work in schools facing the greatest challenges. Our trainee teachers work with and learn from existing staff to improve the attainment and aspirations of your pupils. 

Find out how the programme works and what it means for your school:

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About the programme 

Our training received a rating of ‘Outstanding’ in 41 out of 48 areas in our last Ofsted inspection. Each summer, our trainees (known as ‘participants’) join us and our university training partners to take part in five weeks of intensive preparation for teaching in your school. As part of their summer training, participants spend a minimum of 11 days in school. This includes time in your school to get to know the environment that they will be working in full-time from September.  

Participants complete a two-year PGDE qualification, alongside their QTS and NQT training in your school. They teach up to an 80% timetable in year one, progressing to a standard qualified teacher timetable in their NQT year. There is also the option to ‘top-up’ to a full Master’s degree from their third year. 

Need more information?
Learn about our eligibility and costs for schools.
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What else do we do for schools?
Learn how we can support pupils and teachers.
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Want to get in touch?
Our schools team are happy to help.
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Benefits for your school

Dedicated to change
Our participants make up around a fifth of new teachers in low-income areas of England.
Excellent teachers
In 2017, 99% who gained QTS achieved one of the two highest grades.
Leadership material
They are seven times more likely to become senior school leaders.
Heading up schools
37 of our alumni have become headteachers.

Our partner schools 

We now work in partnership with approximately 1000 schools in every region of England, and in Wales. 

“We decided to give Teach First a try, and took on two of their trainees to see what would happen… And what we got was the sort of people we’d been looking for years. People who were passionate, committed, hard-working and challenged our thinking.”  

Andrew Rushton, Headteacher, Netherton CofE Primary School 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find more detailed programme information?

Further information about our participants, the programme structure and support, and school eligibility and costs can be found on our programme overview page.

What does our training include?

Qualifications: A PGDE and QTS – tailored to the needs of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.  


Phonics and Maths: Bespoke training for primary school participants in phonics and mathematics from experts.


Behaviour management: Training in classroom behaviour management, children’s emotional health and well-being. 


Classroom practice: This includes training in guided reading and teaching reading across the curriculum. 


Support of Participant Development Leads: Trained teachers specially recruited for their mentoring skills. 


Support from a leading university: We work with some of the best teacher training institutions to provide personalised, subject-specific support.

What qualifications do participants receive?

A Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE): 

Achieved after two years on our programme, this carries twice the value of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. The PGDE integrates teacher training and leadership development into one qualification, and is delivered in collaboration with high-calibre university education departments.    

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS): 

After their first year on our programme, participants achieve their QTS and can work as newly qualified teachers.  

Master’s (optional): 

They can also choose to “top up” their PGDE and achieve a full Master’s degree in education after their second year.  

How do we select participants?

Applicants undergo a rigorous online and face-to-face selection process so that we can identify those with the potential to become great teachers.


Before starting the programme, participants must:  

- attend our development centre

- complete a subject knowledge assessment, which proves their suitability to teach their phase or subject, and identifies any areas of curriculum knowledge they need to improve before starting the programme. 

- pass the QTS professional skills tests  

- provide us with a satisfactory reference 

- gained prior in-school experience  

- complete preparatory work for the Summer Institute – a five-week, intensive residential course, which readies them to start their in-classroom training in September. Preparation for this includes a week-long placement at a school and exercises which develop the self-reflection required of a classroom teacher.  

- successfully complete the Summer Institute, which is held from June to July each year. 


What happens after the two years?

More than half of our participants remain in teaching when they have completed the programme. Participants and ambassadors also have the option to work towards a Master's qualification designed to further their leadership and teaching abilities, and develop greater insights into your school. Once they’ve completed the LDP they join our ambassador community and are offered specialist professional development if they choose to remain in teaching. Learn more about the opportunities we offer them. 

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