Teaching Assistant Fast Track

A teaching assistant smiling to the camera.

A fast track onto our Training Programme for talented support staff. TAs remain in their school, get paid as they train and take their career and skills to the next level.

  • Retain staff who know your school
  • Nominate support staff who you know will thrive in the classroom
  • World-class training for your staff
  • TAs get QTS in 1 year whilst training on-the-job
Two years (optional third to complete a masters) 
Applications currently closed

Nominate your Teaching Assistant for a fully-funded, salaried Training Programme to become a qualified teacher in your school. 


Benefits for schools

Retain talented colleagues

Your school won’t lose a valued team member. Your TA will train on the job, in your school. They'll develop leadership skills that will make your team even stronger.

Stay on top of recruitment

You know your TAs well. Nothing proves ability more than day-to-day performance, so a headteacher can always spot a Teaching Assistant with high potential. That’s why we leave it up to you to nominate staff who have what it takes for TA Fast Track.

New teachers who hit the ground running

Your TAs will already know your school well.  Your school’s policies, pupils and local community are already second nature. And on-the-job training means that your TAs will achieve Qualified Teacher Status on our Training Programme after just one year.

Top-class teacher education

We studied the best teacher education practices from across the globe when designing our Training Programme – Ofsted rates it outstanding in 41 out of 48 categories. So TA Fast Track doesn’t just make it possible for your TA to qualify as a teacher – it allows them to qualify with world-class teacher training and support.

Good for your budget and your staff

Schools only pay a small portion of the training costs for our Training Programme for TAs. You’ll pay a salary to the TA’s who’ll earn from day one so that they can focus fully on the training.

Benefits for TAs

High-quality on-the-job training in the school you know

You’ll be staying right where you are, but your career will be going places. Our Training Programme offers world-class teacher training and leadership development, and TA Fast Track lets you undertake it at your own school. You’ll spend some time at conferences, on training days and experiencing other schools, but your training will be in a familiar setting.

Get paid a teaching salary from day one

Not only do you not have to pay for your training, you’ll be paid a salary as you train to teach. In the first year you’ll earn an unqualified teacher’s salary, rising in year two as you gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Receive an automatic offer for our Training Programme

Your school’s headteacher will nominate you, so we know you’ve got the potential to be a great teacher. That’s why you’ll be offered an automatic place on our employment-based teacher training course. 
You’ll need to register with us and do a couple of other things, such as arrange references and complete the government’s mandatory skills and literacy tests. But that’s all. No long forms. No interviews.

Close, expert support from your school and from us

We’re with you every step of the way. A mentor in your school will guide you on a daily basis and a university tutor will assess your progress. A Teach First expert will oversee all your training and help you with any issues, inside or outside the classroom.

Our support doesn’t stop when you complete the programme either. You’ll continue to have access to opportunities, advice and career guidance to help you progress quickly.

Earn a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)

You’ll finish the Training Programme with a PGDE and be ready to move quickly into leadership roles if you wish. It’s worth twice as many credits as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), and because the PGDE is internationally recognised you’re qualified to teach almost anywhere in the world.

Two teachers sharing a joke in a corridor
Teacher with primary pupils
Teach First trainee


The TA Fast Track is a route onto our Training Programme that gives talented support staff an automatic offer to begin the programme. Once they've been nominated by their Head Teacher, and they’ve registered their information, the TA becomes a member of the next Teach First Cohort. They’ll then complete training in the school they currently work in.

Here’s an overview of how our Training Programme works: 

Summer Institute

Summer Institute is an intensive five-week course that prepares our trainees to start leading a class full of expectant pupils. The first four weeks will be spent in an assigned university and in local schools. In week five they’ll get together with all the other trainees.

At Summer Institute they’ll: 

  • learn the theory and practice of education and how to manage a classroom  
  • beef up their knowledge of the curriculum   
  • visit other schools to observe teaching in different settings 
  • build relationships with leaders across your school 
  • get to know other trainees.

The first year

From day one in the classroom, trainees start with a 60% full timetable of lessons before moving up to 80%. They be earning a salary of at least £19,210.

Alongside working in school they’ll attend teacher training days and conferences run by us and our partner universities. They’ll build knowledge of teaching theory, get more practical training and, no doubt, swap lots of stories with other trainees. Throughout the programme they’ll be supported, trained and assessed by a Teach First expert, a mentor at their school and a university tutor.

All being well, by the end of the year they’ll achieve qualified teacher status (QTS) and be part-way to a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). 

“There are so many skills I developed on the programme. Communication, relationship building and leadership are absolutely key.” Zara Khokhar, 2009 ambassador and Head of History, St Albans Academy.

The summer holidays

During the Summer Holidays they have the option of taking a work placement with a supporter organisation such as Google, PwC, British Film Institute and many, many more. Such placements can help them broaden their experience and develop skills that will prove useful in the classroom.

The second year

Now a newly qualified teacher (NQT), salaries go up to between £23,720 and £29,664 depending where their school is. They’ll also be teaching a full timetable and starting to build leadership credentials by taking on responsibilities such as:

  • becoming a subject or year leader
  • mentoring pupils as they think about what to do after school 
  • running a club that helps pupils aim higher and achieve more.

During the year they’ll complete the final two modules of their PGDE. And we’ll still be there supporting them alongside their school and university, through training days, conferences and one-to-one support.   

After the training programme

Having a PGDE means they’ll be part-way to a fully-funded master’s degree, which they can complete how and where they choose.

On top of that, they’ll be a Teach First ambassador and part of our ambassador network. That means they’ll be connected to thousands of others who’ve been through the programme and are trying to create a fairer education system. They’re a close-knit, supportive bunch and they’re always happy to help.

Secondary school pupils singing
Teach First teacher with primary pupils
Adults laughing together
Portrait of Teach First ambassador Zara Khokhar.
There are so many skills I developed on the programme. Communication, relationship building and leadership are absolutely key.
Zara Khokhar,
2009 ambassador and Head of History
St Albans Academy


Please note that applications for this programme are currently closed.

Nominating your talented support staff is easy. Only Head Teachers are able to make the nomination, and there are criteria your support staff will need to meet to be able to get on our fast track.

How to make a nomination:

  1. Check your staff member is eligible. Use the below information to make sure your nominee has the right academics and your school qualifies as a host.
  2. Fill out a short nomination form.
  3. We’ll contact your nominee and they’ll need to fill out a registration form.

Once we have all the information we need, your support staff will be made an offer. It’s that simple. 


Before a headteacher makes a nomination, there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly, your school must be:

  • A Teach First partner. If it isn’t, talk to your local Teach First school partnerships team about whether your TA could still be eligible, or other ways to join the programme.  
  • committed to offering the staff member employment as a teacher for two years 
  • prepared to give occasional days off for training.

Secondly, the nominee must:

  • be a teaching assistant, higher-level teaching assistant, cover supervisor, lab technician or unqualified teacher 
  • have a 2.2 degree or above 
  • usually have a degree or an A-level (at grade B or higher) in the subject you want to teach.
  • have GCSE grade C or equivalent in maths and English. Grade C in one science subject is also required for primary teaching 
  • usually have worked at your school for at least 12 months. If they've worked there for a shorter amount of time they may still be eligible – we’ll consider this individually, so please get in touch
  • not have completed or started a teacher training programme before. 
  • want to teach a subject we offer in your area. Get in touch to find out what these are.

Get all the details on eligibility for our Training Programme.

Nomination process

Once you have filled out the nomination form, nominees will then be asked to complete a registration form, confirming interest in and eligibility for our training. Once this is checked and accepted, the nominee will receive an offer and information on how to complete the enrolment process. This includes:

  • receiving confirmation from the school that references and right to work have been checked
  • completing an assessment of their subject knowledge and, where applicable, putting together a plan of how to get it up to speed 
  • once the offer is confirmed, your TA will be a Teach First trainee, with access to all the support, guidance and connections we offer.

If you have any questions about the Teaching Assistant Fast Track, please get in touch with your school partnership manager.

Primary pupils in a running race
Teacher with a pupil
Male teacher teaching a class

Your journey on TA Fast Track

Summer Institute

Your journey towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE) begins with this intensive five-week course.

Trainees at Summer Institute
1 of 10

Weeks one to four

Beginning in late-June, you’ll spend four weeks in the region where you’re going to teach, at your assigned university and in local schools.

Trainees in a lecture
2 of 10

Week five

In week five you’ll get together with all the other trainees in your cohort to learn and share knowledge.

Trainees working together
3 of 10

After Summer Institute

You’ll have a short break to prepare for your first classroom lessons in September.   

Pupils in playground
4 of 10

Start of year one

From your first day you’ll be in the classroom, teaching a partial timetable. This is also when you’ll start earning a salary. 

Pupils reading
5 of 10

End of year one

By the end of your first year you’ll have Qualified Teacher Status and be part-way towards your full PGDE.

Teacher with her pupils
6 of 10

Summer holidays

You can spend your summer break taking on a work placement or internship opportunities at one of our partners.

Man standing by a whiteboard
7 of 10

Start of year two

Now a Newly Qualified Teacher, you’ll earn a higher salary and teach a full timetable.

Teachers outside laughing together
8 of 10

End of year two

You’ll complete the Training Programme having earned your PGDE. You’ll also become a Teach First ambassador.

Teach First Ambassador
9 of 10

Year three

You can choose to transfer your PGDE credits towards a Master’s degree, which you can complete part-time.

Teach First Ambassadors
10 of 10

Our country needs teachers, now more than ever. Join our most important cohort for a generation. Places for our 2021 Training Programme now open.

Training Programme

Image of teacher standing with hand on chin

Get on the Teaching Assistant Fast Track

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