Working at Teach First

A seated schoolgirl peeks at the camera from behind an open exercise book.

Not only are we working to help every child fulfil their potential, we also want to help our employees to fulfil theirs.

Giving young people across the country the futures they deserve is a big challenge – we need your help to take it on.

We're looking for people ready to:

  • connect - we’ll work together to take us closer to a better future
  • grow - unlock your potential
  • perform - we focus on outcomes and how you contribute to our vision
A seated schoolgirl peeks at the camera from behind an open exercise book.

Helping every child to fulfil their potential.

Our culture

Our work takes us where the challenge is greatest, and so does our culture.  

That’s where our principles come in. They underpin our culture and identify and inform everything we do as we fight to make our education system work for every child. Our six principles are as follows:

1. We speak up

We’re open, honest and transparent. We speak our mind and expect the same from others.

2. We take ownership

We don’t wait for permission, we get things done. We move quickly and learn as we go.

3. We trust each other

We trust and enable each other to make good decisions through simplicity and clarity.

4. We are focused

We concentrate on where we make the most difference.

5. We are present

We seek to understand the experience of those we work with and for and we amplify their voices.

6. We succeed together

We are one charity. We help each other succeed.

Spotted the tensions between some of our principles?  

Yes, sometimes we’ll need to talk these tensions through, to find the right balance between challenge, freedom and responsibility.  

We’re working together to create an environment where we feel safe and able to do this. 

Principle awards

We recognise each other for living and breathing our principles. And run a monthly award to celebrate those who’ve brought our culture to life throughout the charity.  

Have your say 

Your contribution matters and makes a real difference to how we work and what we do. That’s why our employee survey is always on. That way, we can continually hear how we are doing, what’s working, what’s not and get it sorted. 

You can contribute ideas to improving your experience at work through our elected employee forum. Each of our directorates is represented and meets regularly throughout the year to talk about what matters to you.

Teach First is a part of The Prince's Responsible Business Network
The work culture is like no other. I feel safe to make my own decisions and know that I am trusted to do so.
Teach First employee
From our employee survey
Social Mobility Foundation Employer Index 2023: top 75 employer

Pay and benefits

Live and work well

Pay

Transparency is important to us so we’re clear about the salary offered for each job when you apply. And because we know just as well as you do that the world is constantly changing around us, we review salaries regularly to make sure they’re competitive with charity jobs elsewhere. 

Find out more about Our level structure and pay scales (PDF).

Benefits

Our vision is critical and the work’s important, but so’s your life. We’ve put together a benefits package that means you can live and work well. Let’s start with the basics we all get.

Holiday

We give you 27 days (plus bank holidays) a year. And that annual leave increases the longer you’re with us (up to a maximum of 31 days after 10 years’ service). Because it’s important for all of us to rest, pause and reflect, three of these days are taken during our two week winter shutdown at Christmas. Bank holidays can be taken flexibly so fancy working them and taking a day off elsewhere? No problem. We want you to rest and recharge when works for you. Find out more in our Annual Leave Policy (PDF).

Pension

We’ve all got to think ahead so we’ll match up to 6% with employer contributions.

Private healthcare

We can’t fight education inequality if we aren’t feeling our best, so we provide Vitality Health Insurance for all of our colleagues. Through Vitality not only do all our people get private healthcare, but access to all sorts of incentives to live a healthy and balanced life. This includes discounts from your favourite brands and health clubs to help you thrive, no matter your goals.

Agile working

We know work is just one part of your life, that’s why we give you control over how and where you work. You’ll work with your manager on what the best set up is for you, your role and your team. This is done using our Agile Working Policy (PDF).

Flexible working

If you need a more guaranteed working pattern, let’s talk. Over a hundred of us already have flexible working agreements in place and we’re making over 70 different patterns work. So why not join us and push those numbers even higher?

Find out more about Flexible Working at Teach First (PDF).

Life assurance and income protection

Because sometimes life happens. If it does, we’ll have you and your loved ones’ backs.

And even more options…

There's a lot more exciting Benefits (PDF) to choose from.

Family life and work

If you have a family, caring responsibilities or are thinking about starting a family, it’s important that work works for you. Agile and flexible working is a huge part of that, but so are some of the basics like leave and support. 

As you might have gathered, benefits and family are important to us, so we give you more than the statutory requirements. 

We’ve also been named a Top 30 Working Families Employer for the fourth year in a row.

Find out more about our:

Wellbeing

Joining us means fighting to make our education system work for every child. It’s important work and we want you to feel your best, have an amazing experience and thrive! That’s why your wellbeing is so important to us. 

Here’s some of what we’re doing to make this happen: 

  • Wellbeing Days: Whether full or part time, you can take up to four Wellbeing Days each leave year to recharge. No explanation or justification needed.  

  • Employee Assistance Programme: Free, independent and confidential support 24/7, 365 days a year. 

  • Mental Health First Aiders: Our mental health first aiders are on hand for an informal, confidential chat if you need to speak to someone.  

  • Vitality: Our Private Medical Insurance provider offers lots of tips to stay well.  

  • Headspace: Mindfulness and meditation are a hot topic for a reason and we want you to know about it. So much so, you can use it for free!

We are a Living Wage Employer
Winner of the Working Families Best Practice Awards 2021
Part of the Top 30 Employer for Working Families in 2022
Winner of the WorkingMums Top Employer Awards 2021
It makes such a massive difference to be able to work where and when suits you, around business needs.
Teach First employee
From our employee survey
Teach First employee
Teach First employees in discussion

Diversity and inclusion

Bring your whole self to work 

Our challenge is to help every child fulfil their potential, not just some. To rise to it, together we’re creating a culture where everyone, from any background, can do their best work.  

Having a diverse team means we get a variety of views and make better decisions. his connects us to the communities we serve and that’s how we’ll transform education to give more children the opportunities they deserve.

Read more about diversity and inclusion at Teach First.

What you’ll notice when you apply with us

Application 

We ask you to remove all identifying from your cover letter and CV. 

Why? We want to assess your application based on what you’ve told us, your experience and potential.   

Shortlisting 

We insist on diverse interview shortlists so we can build a workplace that reflects the community we live in.  For Level 3, 4 and 5 vacancies, at least 25% of candidates must be from historically under-represented groups. 

We know we need more diversity at our most senior levels. That’s why for Level 6 vacancies, we insist on at least 50% of candidates being from historically under-represented groups. 

We are a Disability Confident employer, which means if you declare that you have a disability, so as long as you meet the required criteria on the job description, you will be guaranteed an interview.

Interview 

We’ll send you the interview questions in advance so you can prepare and perform at your best.  

Our interview panels are diverse in gender identify and ethnicity. Everyone who interviews has completed our Inclusive Hiring training to ensure we hire the best and most diverse talent. 

Find out more from our Director of People and Culture, Jay Nash.

Affinity groups

We believe in the power of networks to improve outcomes for individuals and drive change.  

Our affinity groups are made up of colleagues connected by similar interests, backgrounds and experiences with a focus on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Groups hold regular events, safe spaces and talks to create community and connection. 

Current affinity groups:

  • LGBTQ+ Network
  • BAME Network
  • Working Families Network
  • Women’s Network 
  • Neurodiversity and Disability Network
  • Socio-economic Class Network

We’re always up for creating new ones too so if you’ve got an idea, get in touch! 

Awarded with the Inclusive Employers Gold Standard in 2021
Teach First is officially a Disability Confident employer
The best thing about working at Teach First is the culture of high expectations. You can trust you’ll be held accountable to doing good work and it is okay to hold others accountable as well.
Teach First employee
From our employee survey

Growth

If we’re going to rise to the challenge ahead of us, we need to unlock the potential of everyone that works at Teach First. While you’re with us we want you to grow and develop.

Performance feedback

We all want to know how we are doing and that’s why we don’t wait for an annual cycle to have those conversations.  

We believe feedback is critical to high performance, so you’ll regularly receive feedback on how you’re getting on. We commit to making feedback as specific as possible and will always focus on the impact of your actions (rather than the hours you work). This way we believe you’ll build on your strengths and perform in new situations.

Professional qualification support

Your development is important – it helps you and us achieve our aims. That’s why we have a fund to support with funding courses and qualifications that help your professional development.

Apprenticeship options

Apprenticeships aren’t just for those new to the workplace. We’re using our apprenticeship levy to make sure our people have the skills and knowledge needed to grow in their roles. We offer apprenticeship options in management, project management and many more. We’re open to discussing converting many roles into apprenticeships where a government approved scheme exists.

Management development

We’ve all experienced good and bad management. And we all know which we’d like more of. That’s why we provide specific development opportunities so our managers and teams can excel.

Career break

Sometimes getting experience outside of Teach First or having a bit of a break from the norm will help you grow. And we know that you’ll bring what you learn back with you, so we can grow too. We offer career break options for all our employees with two or more years’ service.

Volunteer days 

For up to three working days a year, you can get involved in a project outside of your day-to-day role to connect to the Teach First vision. You could fundraise for the charity, provide coaching to pupils, run a reading group, creative workshop and much more.

I feel very lucky to work somewhere that has supported me to carve out a successful career, allowing me to move roles and develop skills in new areas while making me feel valued.
Teach First employee
From our employee survey
Employee sitting at desk, smiling

Apply

So you’ve found out why Teach First is a great place to work. Now’s the time to apply.

Your journey to day one:

  • Create an account: You’ll only need to do this once, no matter how many vacancies you apply for.
  • Submit a CV and cover letter: Let us know why you’re fired up about working for us and how you meet the essentials, plus “nice to haves” from the job description. 
  • Application Review: Your application will be reviewed by our Talent Acquisition team. To be longlisted, you’ll need to demonstrate how you meet the essential criteria. The next stage is shortlisting. Here, the hiring manager will ensure you meet the essential criteria and if we have a high volume of applications, the “nice to haves”.
  • If you are shortlisted, you’ll be invited to interview within 10 working days of the vacancy closing. If not, we’ll let you know via email. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide feedback at the application stage due to the number of applications we receive. As a Disability Confident employer, we are committed to inviting all candidates who meet the essential criteria and declare they have a disability to interview.
  • Assessment: This depends on the role you’ve applied for. It could be a one or two stage interview and could include a task. We provide interview questions and task details in advance to ensure you can be as prepared as possible. These will be based on the job description and will be a range of competency and scenario questions. 
  • Outcome: If you’re successful following your interview, the hiring manager will get in touch to give you the good news and you’ll move to the offer stage. If not, we’ll let you know via email, and you’ll have the opportunity to request feedback to help further applications. 
  • Offer: You’ll hear from us swiftly after the assessment stage. If you get an offer this will include the key details like your salary, hours, and location. After that it’s on to the paperwork. 
  • Onboarding: This will include us getting in touch with two professional references that cover the last three years, checking you have the right to work in the UK and a DBS check. 
  • Start: Your new line manager will get in touch to let you know the plan for your first day. You’ll receive IT equipment the working day before your first day so you’re ready to get started! We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Teach First! 

Top tips:

We know a lot of time and effort goes into applying for charity jobs. So, we want you to make the best use of that time to create an application that makes you stand out. Here are some top tips: 

Application:
  • Start by letting us know why you want to work with us to achieve our goal.  
  • Read the job description and tailor your CV and covering letter. Tell us how you meet our criteria. The easier you make it for us to see how you meet the essentials and any nice to haves, the more likely you are to make it through to the next stage of assessment. Why not use headings for each essential criteria to make your application stand out?
  • We’re fired up about our work and helping every child fulfil their potential. Tell us how you’re fired up about our purpose and the role you’re applying for. Find out more about our vision.
  • How we work is as important as what we do. We’re focusing on our culture and doing the best work we can – together. Read our principles. How will you add to our culture and us succeeding together? 
  • Keep it focused. Ideally no more than two pages for a CV and one page for a cover letter. 
  • Use plain English. We’re on a mission to ditch the jargon and acronyms. Join us.
Interview: 
  • All our interviews take place online via Microsoft Teams. We know tech can be challenging at times, so we’d recommend you test your tech before the interview. If your connection drops out during the call, don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Just log back in as soon as you’re able to or if needed, we can reschedule.
  • There isn’t a dress code for the interview so wear something you feel comfortable in. Make sure you’re in a quiet place, have a drink and we’d suggest blurring your background. 
  • We share interview questions in advance so you can feel as prepared as possible on the day. We’d recommend you make some notes for each question, using the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method where possible. You’ll be able to refer back to your notes during your interview too. The questions and task will be based on the job description so do review this when you’re planning your responses.

FAQs:

We know starting a new job can bring up lots of questions. That’s why we’ve noted down some FAQs we hope will help - scroll down below to see these. If anything hasn’t been covered, please do get in touch with the Talent Acquisition team at careers@teachfirst.org.uk. Role specific questions will be passed to the hiring manager and answered wherever possible.

We are committed to Flexible Working for all employees
Teach First is a Stonewall Gold Employer 2022
Teach First is a Stonewall Top 100 Employer 2022
Man smiling
Woman smiling

Policies

I've worked at Teach First for nearly 8 years and there's a reason I'm still here - I've been valued, challenged and rewarded and I think it's a great place to work.
Teach First employee
From our employee survey
Two women at a table

Frequently asked questions

My application
Do I have to have been a teacher to work at Teach First?

You don’t. Some of our colleagues are former teachers, but we think we can better achieve our vision with colleagues who have varied experience.

Are all your staff alumni from your programmes?

They aren’t – whilst we welcome applications from our ambassador community (alumni), our colleagues have experience in a variety of sectors. 

I did not remove my personal details from my CV and cover letter. What should I do?

Send a 'blind copy' of your documents to careers@teachfirst.org.uk. We can upload these on your behalf. 

I accidentally withdrew my application and now I can’t reapply. What should I do?

Contact careers@teachfirst.org.uk and we can sort this for you.

I missed the application deadline. Can I still apply?

Unfortunately we don’t accept applications after the deadline, as hiring managers begin shortlisting straight away. 

There aren’t any vacancies being advertised that meet my skill set. Can you keep my CV on file?

As we blind screen applications, we will not be able to keep your CV on file. However, once you’ve created an account, you won’t need to start again for each vacancy. 

Keep an eye on our vacancies page for new opportunities. 

Will you contact my references before I have spoken to my employer?

We won’t contact your referees until you have completed a form and given your consent for us to reach out to them. 

I don’t have the Right to Work in the UK. Can I still apply?

All colleagues must be able to evidence their Right to Work in the UK before they commence employment with us.

Where appropriate, we will act as a sponsor under the point-based system of immigration. 

 

Working at Teach First
I have a holiday booked. Can I still take it after my start date?

If you have holiday booked before you apply, please let us know when you accept the offer as we will honour this. If your leave is longer than your accrual for the year, this will be unpaid.

Learn more by reading our Annual Leave policy (PDF).

I want to work part-time. Will this be permitted?

We are happy to talk Flexible Working and are open to discussing this with all successful applicants. Over 100 of us have a flexible working agreement with over 70 working patterns in place so we’re ready to hear your request.

Learn more by reading our Flexible Working policy (PDF)

How much do I have to be in the office?

We have an Agile Working policy (PDF) which you can read to learn more.

For some roles, there is an expectation that you’ll visit schools, universities and other places to support our vision and work. There will also be team days and training where you will need to travel to the office. It’s a great way to get to know your colleagues!  

What career development options are there?

Your development is important to us, as it helps both you and us achieve our aims.

Check out our Growing at Work handbook to learn more.

Browse our vacancies

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