Teacher training and qualifications – Teach First

Teach First offers a paid route into teaching, and a PGCE, for those who believe in making a real difference and subscribe to the charity’s social change ethos. All Teach First teachers work in challenging schools – to change the educational opportunities and circumstances of those who need it most.

Teach First currently operates in Wales and in the East Midlands, Greater London, the North East, the North West, the South Coast, the South East, the South West, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Leadership development programme

The Teach First leadership development programme (LDP) is an integral part of the experience. Over the two years, there are courses designed to help Teach First teachers develop their leadership skills – in the classroom and elsewhere.

The LDP has three tiers: leading learning, leading people and leading self.

  • Leading learning – the central element of the programme incorporating six weeks’ initial intensive training at the Summer Institute, two years’ classroom experience, the PGCE, classes on teaching practice, and work with a leadership development officer and classroom mentors.
  • Leading people – workshops on managing teams, stakeholders and your own personal performance as well as working with a professional coach on overcoming challenges.
  • Leading self – becoming a more efficient leader by having a better understanding of your values, motivations and emotions and the choices you make.

Teach First as a development platform

If you decide not to stay in teaching after the two years of the Teach First programme, the skills that teachers use every day to motivate and lead groups are just as applicable in business and industry.

Recognising those transferable skills, the potential talent pool after the initial two year commitment and the benefit of future influential ambassadors in industry, Teach First has a number of partners including: Accenture, Goldman Sachs, the Civil Service, PwC, and Proctor & Gamble.

Meet the entry requirements and all these partners (except Goldman Sachs) offer deferred entry for Teach First participants who finish their leadership development programme.

Qualification requirements

  • A UK degree (or recognised equivalent) at 2.1 or above
  • 300 UCAS points (or equivalent) – excluding general studies
  • A degree or A levels in subjects specified by Teach First
  • GCSEs at grade C or above in English and maths (or recognised equivalents)
  • GCSE at grade C or above in science to teach 7 ̶ 14 year olds
  • The right to work in the UK for the duration of your training and tenure.

Professional skills test

Candidates need to pass the literacy and numeracy QTS professional skills tests.

Selection competencies

  • Interaction
  • Knowledge and resilience
  • Self-evaluation
  • Planning and organisation
  • Humility, respect and empathy
  • Leadership and problem-solving.


Teach First currently operates in ten regions across England and Wales. You’ll be able to nominate a preference, but a reasonable amount of flexibility is needed because you’ll be allocated to the area with the greatest need for your skills during your training.

1.   Six-week residential Summer Institute at the start of the programme.

2.   Year one of teaching: in a primary or secondary school while working towards the PGCE.

3.   A summer project during year one and two – in previous years these internships have included placements at Google, HSBC, charities and the Civil Service.

4.   Year two of teaching: as a newly qualified teacher, building on the skills from your first year. At this stage you can also opt to extend your LDP work and study for a masters as part of the scheme.

Fees and funding

Teach First participants do not pay tuition fees. Food, transport and accommodation costs are covered during the Summer Institute at the beginning of the course (and other financial support may be available).

You’ll be paid as an unqualified teacher as you work towards a PGCE throughout the first year. This scale varies from £16,626 to £30,573 depending on where in the country the school is.

During the second year, you’ll be paid as a newly qualified teacher (NQT), earning a minimum of £22,467. Visit www.education.gov.uk for more details on teaching pay scales.

Adding a masters

There is also the option to study for a masters at a reduced cost. Study begins at the end of the first year and utilises the PGCE and the LDP work you’re already doing with Teach First.
The masters degree is taken with either the Institute of Education, the University of Manchester, the University of Warwick or Canterbury Christ Church University depending on your placement.

How to apply

Candidates begin by registering their interest with the programme online at www.teachfirst.org.uk and then submitting an application form. It’s a rolling recruitment process, and some subjects fill up early.

An assessment centre day is then followed by an offer for successful candidates. Conditions of the offer will include passing the QTS professional skills tests, your references and completing a subject knowledge audit for the subject you’d like to teach.

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