Training with us

A Teach First trainee with three primary pupils, smiling to camera.

Learn to teach and lead with our salaried, on-the-job training. Gain highly-rated teaching and leadership qualifications with expert support – and no fees.

  • Tackle social inequality in schools that need you
  • Fulfil your ambition and your potential
  • Thrive with personalised support every step of the way
  • High-quality training developed by experts
  • Become part of a like-minded community
  • Earn a salary and don’t pay any fees
A Teach First trainee with three primary pupils, smiling to camera.

Together we’ll develop your talent and skills while you change lives in the classroom.

Why train with us

Tackle social inequality in schools that need you

Be part of the solution to widening inequality where you can really make a difference – in our education system. Young people from poorer backgrounds are less likely to fulfil their potential at school, go to university and get a well-paid job. It’s not for lack of talent, it’s because they have more barriers in their way – barriers that great teachers and leaders can help them overcome.

That’s why we only partner with schools in low-income areas – where schools struggle to fill teaching vacancies and where pupils, and their teachers, have less access to resources and opportunities. We put you in the classroom from the start, so you can immediately have an impact. We won’t lie, it’s not easy. But if you’re up for a challenge, one that develops your leadership skills at lightning speed and really changes lives for the long term, there is no job more rewarding.

Fulfil your ambition and your potential

We’re not looking for the finished product. You don’t need to be a polished teacher – not yet. We’re looking for people with a passion for our mission and the attributes that make a great teacher, whether you’re fresh out of university or changing career. Can you think on your feet, solve problems, show resilience and be empathetic? Do you love working with young people? These are the kind of qualities that really matter in the classroom.

We’re rigorous about selecting people for these qualities. Grades alone won’t cut it – yes, there are minimum requirements, but we know educational inequality has also affected those who want to become teachers. We recruit on ability and commitment to our Training Programme, not As and Bs.

What really motivates us is developing you. We’ll build your skills and confidence, turning your potential into performance in the classroom. We’ll also support you throughout your career to step up into leadership roles. Right up to becoming a headteacher (so far, over 50 people who’ve been on our Training Programme have become heads). If you want to make the most of your talent, there’s no better place to do it.

Thrive with personalised support every step of the way

You’re never on your own. Your progress and wellbeing are equally important to us, which is why we’ve created a system of support that covers all the bases, identifying how you need to develop and helping you do it. A team of specialists will support you right through your training, you’ll be in regular contact with them inside and outside school. Everything they do is tailored to your needs – they’ll closely monitor your progress, refining your objectives as you go.

High-quality training developed by experts

Our training is designed to get you ready for a leadership role. After all we’ve selected you because of your leadership potential.

  • By the end of year one you’ll be a qualified teacher.
  • After year two you’ll have earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
  • In the second year you’ll build your leadership experience, perhaps running a club or mentoring pupils into university.
  • You’ll be offered opportunities to intern with businesses and organisations that support us and rate your skills highly.

A Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is worth double the credits of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which means it’s easier to upgrade it to a Master’s degree. The Diploma also includes leadership training, aimed at helping you extend your impact and influence others. And because it’s internationally recognised, you’ll be able to teach almost anywhere in the world.

Become part of a like-minded community

More than 10,000 people like you have been through our teacher training – we call them ambassadors. Many still work in schools, others have gone into business, government or non-profit organisations. All of them continue to work against educational inequality through our ambassador network. Through this community, you’ll have access to leaders in all walks of life who can provide expertise, resources, experiences or simply someone who’s been where you are and is happy to listen.

Wherever you teach there’ll be groups, regular meet-ups and events. Sometimes you’ll discuss important education issues and share ideas, other times you might just form a winning pub quiz team. 

Earn a salary and don’t pay any fees

Your place on our training is fully funded, which isn’t the case with many teacher training courses. You’ll also earn a salary from day one. You start on the basic wage for an unqualified teacher, rising in the second year to the newly qualified teacher level.

We don’t want anybody to be put off teaching because they can’t afford it. The profession would miss out on a lot of talent. And once you’re training with us, we want you to fully focus on developing into a brilliant teacher, without having to worry about supporting yourself.       

A teacher smiles at his pupils as they gather around for a lesson.
A Teach First trainee looking for a workbook in a shelf in school.
A pupil shows a teacher a craft item that they made in class.
A Teach First trainee smiling while reading through an exercise book.

Support for you

We want you to get the most out of our programme and your talent. That’s why we give you as much support as possible, including coaching from specialists who’ll guide you all the way through.


A dedicated recruitment officer will support you throughout the selection process over the phone and online.

Before applying

They’ll help you decide if the programme is right for you. They’ll tell you what the selection process involves, give you a clear idea of the programme’s challenges and talk you through how we decide what subject and where you might teach (this is based on the needs of schools and pupils, so being flexible is important).

Writing your application

If you decide to apply we’ll coach you on how best to fill in the form. We won’t tell you what to write but we will tell you what our assessors are looking for in your answers.      

Our selection day

Before the day we’ll call you to chat about ways you can prepare and hopefully calm any nerves. This is also a chance to ask us any questions, although you can call or email at any time.

During the day you’ll get feedback from our assessors on your strengths and areas to work on. You can also have a 15 minute phone call after the selection day to discuss your performance. So whether you get a place on the programme or not it’s a real boost to your career development.

Emily Haigh is one of our recruiters:

“I love speaking to incredibly passionate candidates who want to change careers into teaching. It's so interesting listening to their experience and discussing how their skills could be transferred into the classroom so they can become inspirational teachers in communities where they are needed the most.”

School mentor

On hand to support your training and development in school, your mentor will be an experienced teacher who knows the local community and the challenges it faces. 

You’ll have weekly meetings, but your mentor’s door will always be open whether you’re having a difficult moment, want to discuss your progress or simply bounce around ideas. The exact nature of your support will differ from school to school, guided by what you need to succeed.

Sarah Goodey is an assistant principal and mentor at Ely College:

“It’s a breath of fresh air to have people come into the school with new ideas. Especially since with Teach First those ideas are embedded in research. We work with trainees to create a sustainable plan that enables them to succeed – they have a clear strategy and know there is support for them and what they need to do by when.

“We put our trainees in stronger departments, which often means other people are popping in and out of lessons and helping support them as well as their mentor. We provide as much documentation, such as lesson planning, and facetime as we can to make the journey into teaching as easy as possible.”

Teacher development lead

Overseeing your training, your Teach First supporter is an experienced former teacher. They focus on developing your teaching methods and building your leadership skills, as well as helping you manage heavy workloads and your own wellbeing.

You’ll meet them in the summer before you start in class and they’re with you all the way to the finish line. They’ll visit you every half term in your first year – each term in your second – and are only ever a phone call away. You’ll also have access to a 24-hour helpline and wellbeing courses online.

Fiona Rutherford taught modern foreign languages and managed an education centre working with disadvantaged young people, before joining Teach First to support trainees:

“We’re an objective voice, challenging and supporting trainees. We have a range of strategies to ensure trainees have support tailored to their specific needs, whether it’s team teaching to help with behaviour management, co-planning to support lesson planning skills or scripting and role-playing difficult conversations.

“Wellbeing is hugely important too – trainees need to look after themselves before they can help their pupils. We explicitly discuss wellbeing with them so they know how to prioritise and manage it effectively, signposting them towards additional support if necessary.”

University tutor

You’ll work with a tutor at a nearby university. Alongside us they’ll oversee your progress towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), helping you get to grips with teaching theory and making sure your subject knowledge is up to scratch.

You’ll meet up regularly, including at:

  • six teaching observations each year
  • training days
  • termly reviews to discuss your progress

Such intensive support, alongside your work with your school mentor and Teach First training lead, helps you develop quickly. Areas you need to work on are identified regularly, allowing you to constantly refine and improve your teaching.

During the programme you’ll work through four modules which includes four essay assignments. Each module is based on the latest educational research so that your development is supported by the most up to date thinking.

I love speaking to incredibly passionate they can become inspirational teachers.
Emily Haigh,
Teach First
We’re an objective voice, challenging and supporting trainees.
Fiona Rutherford,
Teacher development lead
Teach First


After the programme you’ll be ready to succeed as a leader wherever you go.

In school

People who’ve been through our Training Programme really do move quickly into leadership roles – our teachers are over seven times more likely to progress into senior leadership positions early in their career than those from other courses. Not only do we recruit people with leadership talent, our training focuses on developing the skills you need to lead.

Crucially we also support you throughout your career with leadership programmes that help you progress from the classroom into middle and senior leadership right up to headship.

Laurell Milton hated English as a teenager but within ten years she became deputy head of English at a Teach First school in south London:

“I started as a trainee English teacher at Harris Academy Peckham in 2014. It’s undoubtedly the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, but I love the pace of the work. I’ve developed so many skills and I am never, ever bored.”

Across society

We’re supported by lots of organisations that both believe in our mission and know the quality of our trainees. Companies such as Accenture, Barclays, Burberry, Citi and Goldman Sachs.

Many offer internships to our trainees, giving them a taste of life in a different organisation. This’ll hone your skills, making you a better teacher when you head back to the classroom. And if they’re really impressed they might offer you a job. They and many other organisations value people who have what it takes to be leaders in school, which is why it’s such a launch pad for your career.  

Ciaran McCaughey, trained on our programme and taught in a primary school in west London. He’s now chief of staff to the director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

“I wouldn’t be an effective diplomat if I hadn’t been through Teach First. All diplomats should spend time teaching in the classroom because the core leadership skills you learn while teaching are the same core leadership skills you need as a diplomat.”

By starting your own organisation

Our trainees are great at identifying problems in schools and solving them. That’s why some go on to found their own organisations that confront specific issues affecting young people everywhere.

If your idea could have a real positive impact on educational inequality we’ll help you get it off the ground and start improving the lives of low income children. We work with all sorts of organisations, from those providing mental health support or helping disadvantaged young people into university to ones promoting educational engagement through farming.

Jamie Feilden was one of the first Teach First trainees back in 2003. From a farming background, he taught in a secondary school in Croydon and noticed the positive impact looking after animals had on his pupils. He now runs two farms that help disengaged teenagers, often at risk of expulsion, get back on track:

“We’re astounded by how these children transform. They arrive with a really tough exterior and very quickly here they manage to soften and work really hard. We see them leave two inches taller in terms of their self-esteem and their understanding of what they can achieve.”        

Portrait of Laurell Milton
I’ve developed so many skills and I am never, ever bored.
Laurell Milton,
Deputy Head of English
Portrait of Ciaran McCaughey
I wouldn’t be an effective diplomat if I hadn’t been through Teach First.
Ciaran McCaughey,
Chief of staff to the director
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
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