A flourishing partnership
Headteacher Jake Howarth-Brown talks about Little Mead Primary Academy's partnership with Teach First.
Little Mead Primary Academy takes a community-centric approach to the care and education of its pupils. The school, which is part of the Endeavour Academy Trust located in Bristol, supports a diverse community in an area of the city that has high levels of social deprivation. At the heart of the Trust is an ethos to improve social mobility in the community and a firm ambition that every child can reach their potential. It was this vision that led the way to a strategic partnership with Teach First. We spoke with Jake Howarth-Brown, Headteacher at Little Mead, to find out more about the partnership...
“I believe that the right people in the classroom can really make a difference to children’s outcomes, so it’s important to us to build the best possible workforce we can. We decided to recruit from Teach First because we’d heard about the high quality of candidates that they can offer to schools.
Teach First is a very different and exciting programme, and their vision is truly aligned with that of our schools. It’s comforting to find an organisation with a focus on inspiring children, and the trainees that we recruit through Teach First share this vision.
I believe that the right people in the classroom can really make a difference to children’s outcomes.
For us, getting new teachers through the door hasn’t been an issue, but retaining them takes more work. It’s an area that we pride ourselves on, and the support we get from Teach First throughout the year, and beyond, is so important because it helps the trainees to refocus and remember why they joined us and how important their work is. In this respect, Teach First really steps in to provide the external support that can rejuvenate the trainees when they most need it.
The support that we get from Teach First is so important because it helps the trainees to refocus and remember why they joined us and how important their work is.
There’s also a guarantee of quality with Teach First; the trainees are always incredibly strong and don’t even feel like they’re trainees. The fact that they’re trained in the setting that they will call home means that they can learn about our expectations, policy and practice as a school. It can often be hard to vet someone well through other training routes, but with Teach First there is a rigorous selection process, and the chance to train candidates ourselves is self-fulfilling.
It can often be hard to vet someone well through other training routes, but with Teach First there is a rigorous selection process.
It’s great to see our trainees growing and flourishing in school. The confidence and competence that they bring means they don’t feel like a new teacher, and they’re not shy about looking for the next step up in our school. Most of our senior Teach First ambassador teachers are now looking at their continuing professional development within the school, and the new Teach First School Leadership programmes look like a great fit for them. It’s so important for us that incoming trainees see teaching as a career and not just as the next step of many.
It’s great to see our trainees growing and flourishing.
The local Teach First team is brilliant; they’re supportive with planning and pedagogy for our trainees and are always open about things our trainees can be doing to improve their own classroom teaching. The positive partnership with Teach First permeates all levels, and the link they have with Bath Spa University has also been extremely positive, providing highly qualified mentors.
I cannot commend our partnership with Teach First highly enough. You’re guaranteed to inherit quality candidates, who are aware of the context of the school, and this reduces the risk that they’ll leave and ensures a good fit for your school. I’m always telling other headteachers or school leaders that we use Teach First to recruit our new teachers and I feel really proud to be able to say that.”