A participant reads from a sheet at TDC

Programme overview

How we develop inspiring teachers and leaders

Programme overview

Your participant 

Thousands of people apply to join our programme each year, but only a small fraction are accepted. Our thorough assessment process saves you time and identifies the very best trainees for your school.

See how Newington Primary School got on with their participant, Fred 

What do we look for in participants?

To become a Teach First participant we expect a 2:1 degree qualification and applicants must also demonstrate the attributes of a classroom leader:  

- Humility, respect and empathy  

- An ability to interact  

- Leadership  

- Planning and organising  

- Problem solving  

- Resilience  

- Self-evaluation  

- Knowledge of their academic subjects  

- Knowledge of our mission 

Find out more about our requirements for our participants


Who are our participants?

What is their background? 

- 43% Students 

- 26% Recent graduates (up to two years after graduating) 

- 31% Experienced professionals (three years or more after graduating) 

What did they study? 

- 25% Maths, Science and Engineering 

- 25% English and Languages 

- 41% Humanities and Law 

- 5% Art and Music 

- 4% Business and Economics 

Programme overview

Summer Institute

The programme starts with an intensive five-week immersion into the theory and practice of teaching, usually in June and July each year. Developed in partnership with the UK’s leading teacher training universities, it will give participants the skills and knowledge needed to enter the classroom and find their feet as new teachers. 

Year One

- Early years participants become the main class teacher of a nursery or reception class 

- Primary school participants become the main class teacher in either Key Stage 1 or 2 

- Secondary school participants cover Key Stage 3 and 4 (Key Stages 4 and 5 in Business Studies only), and do not teach more than two subjects 

- All participants start on a 60% timetable, which can increase up to 80% once they are more established (usually after the first half term) 

- Participants earn their Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) at the end of their first year. 

Year Two

- Participants will be a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) and have a timetable percentage that reflects this 

- Participants complete their Postgraduate Diploma in Education at the end of their second year. 

Other commitments

All Participants 

- Spend five days widening their experience by teaching in a contrasting school.

- Attend conference days to develop subject knowledge, teaching methods and be supported through the academic content for their PGDE (the number and dates vary slightly by area, participants are required to be released from school for up to 9 days in year one and up to 4 days in year two)

Early Years participants: 

- Spend 20 days completing an alternative key stage placement (usually in the same school) 

- Have their first five-day placement in a 0-3 setting to increase their understanding of early child development, fully funded at £200 per day (this should be completed before the end of the third term of their first year). 

Primary school participants: 

- Spend at least 20 days completing an alternative key stage placement within the 5-11 age range. 

Secondary school participants in England: 

- Spend one day in a primary school to increase their understanding of teaching and progress in this setting. 

Secondary school participants in Wales

- All trainees in Wales are timetabled to attend Professional Development Sessions. These take place from 2:00-5:30pm once every fortnight.

- Attend four conference days and two of these require time out of school. The other two days take place on Saturdays. 

What support do participants receive as they train? 

They receive support from us, their university and your school. While on the programme, each participant will work with:

A Participant Development Lead (PDL)

An experienced teacher educator responsible for overseeing all training relating to each participant. These Teach First staff members are recruited for their leadership capabilities and their ability to both nurture and challenge participants. 

A school-based mentor

Early years and primary schools:  

- Your school nominates an experienced mentor (who works in the same key stage) to support each participant.  

- We provide training for school mentors to assist them in this key role. 


Secondary schools:  

- Your school nominates an experienced mentor (who works in the same subject) to support each participant.  

- We provide training for school mentors to assist them in this key role.  

A university tutor

We partner with some of the best initial teacher training providers in the UK. Each university appoints a tutor to support the training of participants, they also lead the assessment of both the PGDE assignments and progress towards being recommended for Qualified Teacher Status. 

 School eligibility 

Our criteria for providing trainee teachers through our Leadership Development Programme is agreed in direct consultation with the Department for Education (DfE) as part of our government contract and is used to identify schools that will benefit most from partnering with us. 

School eligibility is calculated using the recognised ‘Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index’ (IDACI) and ‘Achieving Excellence Areas’ (AEA), as listed in the table below. 

School eligibility criteria  

40 or greater   N/A  
35-40   4, 5 or 6
30-35   5 or 6  
25-30   6  

 *An IDACI of 40 means that 40% of pupils live in the three most deprived deciles. 

Please note that we cannot always partner with all eligible schools. For further information about whether your school is eligible to partner with Teach First, please contact your local Teach First team.

For more information on the school eligibility criteria in Wales please contact your local area team at: wales@teachfirst.org.uk

Costs for schools

The costs for schools cover two main areas:

Your participant’s salary

A participant takes up a paid teaching post for a minimum of two years, with your school paying the salary. In year one they should be paid within the unqualified teacher pay range (the equivalent of what would be point 2) at a minimum of £19,210. In year two this rises to the salary for a newly qualified teacher (NQT), which is £23,720 - £29,664 depending on location.

Teach First’s school fees

Whilst most of the recruitment and training costs for participants are covered by the government, your school also covers a contribution towards this.   

Early years and primary school fees (England):

Pupil roll London schools Non-London schools
Fewer than 300 pupils £4200 £4000
300-600 pupils £4500 £4300
600+ pupils £4800 £4600

Secondary school fees (England):

Subjects covered London schools Non-London schools
Non-shortage subjects £5620 £5420
Shortage subjects* £6600 £6400

*Shortage subjects include: maths, physics, chemistry, biology, computing, modern foreign languages and geography. The school fees are higher due to the costs associated with recruiting for these shortage subjects. 

For more information on secondary school fees in Wales please contact your local area team at: wales@teachfirst.org.uk

What else do we do for schools?
Learn how we can support pupils and teachers.
Find out more
Want to get in touch?
Our schools team are happy to help.
Contact us
Copy to clipboard caution chat check-off check-on close cog-off cog-on down first-page home-off home-on info last-page mail minus mobile more next pdf person play plus prev question radio-off radio-on return search trail up filter facebook google+ LinkedIn twitter YouTube Instagram Share This TF_ECEF_lock-up_full col_RBG