Teaching Assistant Fast Track

A teaching assistant smiling to the camera.

Fast entry to teacher training for Teaching Assistants. Get paid as you train and take your career to the next level without leaving your current school.

  • High-quality, on the job teacher training in your school
  • Get paid a teaching salary from day one
  • Receive an automatic offer for our Training Programme
  • Close, expert support from your school and from us
  • Your headteacher nominates you. so you work in a school you know
  • Gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Education
Two years (optional third to complete a master’s) 
June 2020 for five weeks of intensive training.  September 2020 start in the classroom. 

With a nomination from your headteacher you could join our fully-funded, salaried Training Programme and progress from teaching assistant to qualified teacher in your own school. 


Benefits for you

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.

Benefits for your school

Retaining talented colleagues

Your school won’t lose a valued team member. You’ll be placed in your own school and will develop leadership skills that’ll make the team even stronger.

Staying on top of recruitment

Schools know their Teaching Assistants (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 them to nominate staff who have what it takes for TA Fast Track.

Hit the ground running

Because you work there, you already know the ropes. Your school’s policies, pupils and local community are already second nature. And on-the-job training means that you’ll 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 you to qualify as a teacher – it allows you to qualify with world-class teacher training and support.

Funded training and financial security

Your school only pays a small portion of the training costs in addition to your salary when you get a place on our Training Programme. You will, on the other hand, earn from day one so you can focus fully on the job.

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


This is where your teaching career launches. You’ve got an exciting, and busy, couple of years ahead on the Training Programme, and the TA Fast Track programme is your ticket into that. The TA Fast Track is a route onto our Training Programme that gives talented support staff an automatic offer to begin the programme. Once your Head Teacher has nominated you and you’ve registered, you’ll receive an offer and become a member of the next Teach First Cohort. You’ll then complete your training in the school you currently work in. 
Here’s an overview of how our Training Programme works: 

Summer Institute

Your journey starts here. Summer Institute is an intensive five-week course the summer before you start leading a class full of expectant pupils. The first four weeks will be spent at your assigned university and in local schools. In week five you’ll get together with all the other trainees.  

  • Learn the theory and practice of education and how to manage a classroom.  
  • Beef up your 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.  

Your first year

From day one you’ll be in the classroom, starting with a 60% full timetable of lessons before moving up to 80%. Plus, you’ll be earning a salary of at least £19,210.   
Alongside working in school you’ll attend teacher training days and conferences run by us and our partner universities. You’ll build your knowledge of teaching theory, get more practical training and, no doubt, swap lots of stories with other trainees. Throughout the programme you’ll be supported, trained and assessed by a Teach First expert, a mentor at your school and a university tutor.    
All being well, by the end of the year you’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 you 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 you broaden your experience and develop skills that will prove useful in the classroom.

Your second year

Now a newly qualified teacher (NQT), your salary will go up to between £23,720 and £29,664 depending where your school is. You’ll also be teaching a full timetable and starting to build your 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 you’ll complete the final two modules of your PGDE. And we’ll still be there supporting you alongside your school and university, through training days, conferences and one-to-one support.   

After the training programme

Once you’ve completed the training programme, you can continue progressing at your school. With your PGDE though you can work anywhere, at home or abroad, as a teacher. You’ll also be part-way to a fully-funded master’s degree, which you can complete how and where you choose. 
On top of that, you’ll be a Teach First ambassador and part of our ambassador network. That means there are thousands of people just like you 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


Once they’ve confirmed that you’re eligible for the TA Fast Track, it all starts with a nomination from your school’s headteacher. You’ll then register your information and you’ll be offered a place on our Training Programme. Your training begins at Summer Institute in June.


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 you could still be eligible or other ways to join the programme  
  • committed to offering you employment as a teacher for two years 
  • prepared to give you 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. Get all the details on what qualifications you’ll need.
  • 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 you’ve worked there for a shorter amount of time you 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

It’s really simple. Headteachers just need to fill out this online nomination form and include information on why they they’re nominating you.
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 
  • taking the government’s professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy which all trainee teachers must pass
  • completing an assessment of your subject knowledge and putting together a plan of how to get it up to speed 

Once the offer is confirmed, you will be a Teach First trainee, with access to all the support, guidance and connections we offer.  
If you or your headteacher 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
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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
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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
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After Summer Institute

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

Pupils in playground
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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
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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
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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
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Start of year two

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

Teachers outside laughing together
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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
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Year three

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

Teach First Ambassadors
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