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
  • Outstanding training that shapes outstanding teachers
  • Comprehensive support for your trainee and school
  • Nominate support staff who will thrive in the classroom
  • QTS in one year, while training on-the-job
Duration
Two years (optional third to complete a masters) 
Applications are now open

Nominate your TA to become a qualified teacher in your school.

School benefits

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.

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

TA benefits

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.

Receive a fast-tracked 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 a fast-tracked place on our employment-based teacher training course so long as both you and your school are eligible.  

You’ll need to register with us and do a CKA test to check your subject knowledge. But that’s all. We’ll sort out all the rest with your school.

Smiling female teacher looking directly at camera
Male teacher teaching a class

Programme

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 reduced timetable (60% for Primary and Early Years, 80% for Secondary). Plus, they’ll earn at least the basic salary for an unqualified teacher.

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
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

Eligibility

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

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.

Qualifying schools

We only recruit trainees for schools in England and Wales that teach a high number of pupils from low-income backgrounds.

Our criteria are agreed with the Department for Education (DfE) and used to identify schools that will benefit most from working with us. We use the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Achieving Excellence Areas (AEA), a measure that recognises parts of the country where children consistently underperform.

This focuses on schools that have either:

  • an IDACI of 40 or greater (40% of pupils live in the three most deprived deciles)
  • an IDACI of 35 to 40 and an AEA score of 4 to 6
  • an IDACI of 30 to 35 and an AEA score of 5 or 6
  • an IDACI of 25 to 30 and an AEA score of 6

We’re flexible, so if you think your school would benefit from our support but isn’t eligible, get in touch for a chat about your situation. You may also be able to access our range of continuing professional development (CPD) programmes to help teachers move into leadership positions. 

What next?

If you’re a TA and think this sounds like just the opportunity you’ve been looking for, send this webpage on to your headteacher so they can put you forward for it. 

If you’re a headteacher, take a look at our 'Nominate' tab to see how you can nominate a TA.

Adults laughing together
female teacher sitting with young female student

Nominate

Nomination process

Nominating your talented support staff is easy. Only headteachers 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.

Get in touch with your local school partnerships team who’ll be able to chat through the process with you.

Once you're ready to nominate, get started below:

Register your interest

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

Once your nominee receives an offer, they’ll have a Teach First recruitment contact who’ll be able to take them through the next steps in the process, including:

  • a full check of their qualifications to confirm their eligibility
  • 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

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

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