Teach First teacher smiling at her colleagues outside school

Our world-class teacher training

How we develop inspiring classroom leaders.

Our world-class teacher training

Our Leadership Development Programme (LDP) is unique – it’s the only teacher training in the UK focused on the needs of pupils from low-income communities.

Each year, a new group of participants joins us and our university training partners for the Summer Institute, which provides five weeks of intensive preparation for the classroom. This marks the beginning of the LDP – participants then go on to train towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Education while teaching for a minimum of two years. 

Our training works

Getting the best from teachers, so they can give the best to their pupils.

20% of newly qualified teachers
Our trainees make up over a fifth of new teachers in low-income areas of England.
Officially outstanding
Our training received a rating of 'Outstanding' in 41 out of 48 areas in our last Ofsted inspection.
Turning performance around
When we started work in London, schools there were the worst-performing in England; today they're the best.
Improving GCSE results
Independent research shows our trainees are improving grades across England.

Our trainees lead the way

Visionary teachers and school leaders who are committed to equality.

Dedicated to change
They are three times more likely than others to teach in challenging schools.
Excellent teachers
In 2015, 99% of them achieved one of the two highest grades in their Qualified Teacher Status.
Leadership material
They're seven times more likely to become senior school leaders – over 1,000 are now senior or middle leaders.
Heading up schools
28 of our ambassadors – those who have completed our programme – have become headteachers.

“Our experience with Teach First has been really positive. We have trainees in their first and second years and they’re progressing fantastically.”

Mandy Lancy, Executive Primary Principal, Oak Hill and Oriel Academies, Hounslow

Find out if your school qualifies:

Teach First teacher leading a classroom

Selecting the very best people for your school

What do we look for in trainees?

Thousands apply to join our programme each year, but only a small fraction are accepted. To become a Teach First participant they must have a strong academic record and 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

How do we select them?

Applicants undergo a rigorous online and face-to-face application process so that we can identify those with the potential to become great teachers. Even after they receive an offer, this is conditional until they have: 

- Completed 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. 

- Passed the QTS professional skills tests. 

- Provided us with a satisfactory reference. 

- Completed 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 completed Summer Institute, which is held from June to July each year.  

What qualifications do they 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. 

What support do they get 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 Teach First professional and qualified teacher, who has overall responsibility for their development. All PDL staff are recruited for their leadership capabilities and their ability to both nurture and challenge participants. 

A school mentor
A subject or key stage mentor allocated by all of our partner schools to support each participant. We provide special training for school mentors to assist them in this key role, supporting the participant’s development as a teacher and faculty member. 

A university tutor
We partner with some of the best initial teacher training providers in the UK. Each of our university partners appoints a tutor who will visit each participant to provide on-going professional and research support as they work towards their Qualified Teacher Status and Postgraduate Diploma in Education. 

Who are our trainees?


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4% studied art or music
5% studied business or economics
24% studied maths, engineering or science subjects
25% studied English or other languages

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15% come from minority ethnic backgrounds, a higher percentage than any other training route

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Nearly 60% are career changers and young professionals, bringing valuable expertise from other sectors.

What else do we do for schools?
Learn how we can support pupils and teachers.
Find out more
Have a question?
Our schools team would be happy to help.
Get in touch
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