Teach First’s community supported my career ambitions - now, I’m paying it forward
As Adam progressed from classroom teacher to senior school leader, he drew on Teach First's community for opportunities and support at every key juncture.
Now Deputy Head of Bolder Academy, a new school in West London, he’s finding those connections more valuable than ever.
I started as a history teacher at Harlington School, Hayes, in 2012. Although one of the first trainees placed there, I was well-supported and had a range of opportunities to lead projects within my subject area. The role also reinforced to me the valuable role all teachers play beyond the classroom, in supporting the many students experiencing incredibly challenging home lives.
Stepping up from teaching to school leadership
Seeking a new challenge and a first step into middle leadership, I moved to Springwest Academy (Feltham) in 2014 after an ambassador told me about the role.
There’s a history of Teach First teachers being placed at Feltham, so I had lots of people to reach out to for a steer. This was valuable at the start, when I was new to the school and at times felt a little lost! As I started to progress further in my career, at both middle-leader and senior-leader level, it was invaluable having someone always available to lean on for advice.
When I felt ready for a new challenge, the Teach First community supported me with a number of discussions, coaching sessions and CV support as I started my search. There was advice and guidance on hand, every step of the way.
Making a bold move
On the back of that I secured a deputy head role at a new start-up school: Bolder Academy. We opened in September 2018 and currently have Years 7, 8 and 9.
It’s been great to be part of setting a school up from scratch. We’ve gone from just an idea, to a school with over 500 pupils, and we’re still growing. You also soon realise how much needs doing – every policy needs to be put in place, every classroom needs to be designed, every staff member needs to be hired. The list could go on!
The Academy is also flooded with great teaching staff, many of whom are Teach First ambassadors. It’s been great to have such a passionate team supporting our pupils, and in September 2020 we were able to welcome our first cohort of Teach First trainees.
Creating access to all kinds of support and knowledge
For me, the Teach First community has really come into its own since I’ve been at Bolder.
We work with the Accenture Network, who each year run a series of day-long design workshops with our pupils called ‘Kidovation’. Accenture has also run a series of continuing professional development (CPD) sessions for our staff. From how to analyse data, to having difficult conversations with pupils and colleagues, this has proved incredibly valuable for all.
We’ve also set up our own subject-specific networks, with the support of Teach First. Staff at Bolder were instrumental in setting up the following: Science in Practice; Be Bold History; Bold Computing; English in Practice; and Be Bold Maths. Through these networks, our staff are not only supporting trainees and ambassadors across the country, but are also immersed in the current discussions on best practice and pedagogy.
Like Adam, if you've completed any of our programmes, that makes you a Teach First ambassador. You are now part of a community changing education for the better. Our community consists of teachers, leaders, policymakers and beyond, bringing their expertise to help unlock the potential in all children. No matter where you've chosen to go after your time with Teach First, as an ambassador, you're a critical part of the solution to ending educational inequality.
Find out more about how you can stay connected and continue to make an impact, below:
If you're interested in developing your career with us, explore our leadership programmes: