Partnering with Teach First

Netherton CofE Primary School were struggling with teacher recruitment, until they turned to Teach First in 2015.

Located in an area of particular social deprivation, Netherton CofE Primary School in Dudley was failing to recruit the kind of teachers they needed to inspire their pupils and drive change. So, in 2015, they turned to Teach First. The impact was immediate. We spoke to the school’s leadership team about how partnering with Teach First has completely changed their approach to recruiting teachers.

Andrew Rushton, headteacher: 

At Netherton, we see our main job as trying to inspire children to want to go on and achieve and break the cycle of deprivation that many of our pupils are experiencing. We’re a growing school, and as such we were recruiting a lot of NQTs who were good teachers, but who lacked the passion, drive and desire to truly make a difference. 

For me, it’s more important to recruit quality people who possess the characteristics and skills [needed to] become the school leaders of the future.

So we thought we’d do something new. We decided to give Teach First a try, and took on two of their trainees in 2015 to see what would happen. And what we got was the sort of people we’d been looking for for years. People who were passionate, committed, hard-working and challenged our thinking. For us, it was ideal.  

Partnering with Teach First is a long-term investment, and while it’s not a massive one, if you want a higher-calibre of teachers in your school you have to be prepared to invest. For me, it’s more important to recruit quality people who possess the characteristics and skills that will enable them to train as successful teachers and become the school leaders of the future, rather than recruiting qualified teachers who are simply dropped into your school. It was this approach that very much changed our attitude to recruitment at Netherton, and has had a long-term impact on our thinking.  

Lynda Foxall, deputy headteacher: 

As a school we’re quite open-minded, so we were keen to partner with Teach First as it was something we hadn’t explored before. 

The developments we’ve seen in our Teach First trainees have been absolutely massive. They’ve gone from knowing so very little to being secure in what they’re doing and have become the most brilliant teachers.

Their passion is infectious. Their passion for teaching, their passion to develop, their willingness to listen, take on board ideas and contribute to the school as a whole.

They’re the best teachers we’ve come across. 

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