Press release

Gove: New grant to double the number of top teachers in challenging schools

Information on Michael Gove's decision to allow the expansion of Teach First into primary schools across the country.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has authorised the expansion of Teach First into secondary schools across the whole country and a new Teach First Primary programme so that children of all ages can benefit from the expertise of our best graduates.

The £4 million grant to Teach First - a highly successful charity which recruits top graduates from the best universities to work in our most challenging schools - will benefit tens of thousands of children by enabling the charity to double the number of top graduates recruited to the most challenging schools and by expanding the charity’s activities across the whole country.

The expansion will also enable Teach First to carry out research on how to attract more top maths and science graduates going into teaching. They will also pioneer innovative approaches to developing the leadership skills of undergraduates, in partnership with business, as a way to attract more badly-needed science and stem graduates to join Teach First.

Teach First plans to expand its Teach On programme to accelerate the progression of its fast growing community of teachers to become senior leaders and head teachers within challenging schools. These alumni - known as ambassadors - will work to bring about systemic change in the life chances of pupils by taking key leadership roles in challenging schools, helping turn around failing schools or starting new ones.

The Secretary of State Michael Gove said:

It is unacceptable that just 45 pupils out of 80,000 on free school meals made it into Oxbridge last year. Opportunity has to become more equal, and we are absolutely committed to spending more on the education of the poorest children.

The countries which give their children the best education in the world are those which value their teachers most highly and where the profession attracts the brightest graduates. Our priority is to deliver robust standards and high quality teaching to all, whatever their background. To do this we must attract highly talented people into education, because the quality of teachers has a greater influence on children’s achievement than any other aspect of their education.

Teach First has already been successful in attracting some of this country’s most impressive graduates into teaching. Supporting the charity to go further by recruiting even more high quality teachers, and expanding to other areas will help thousands more children across the country.

Brett Wigdortz, Teach First founder and Chief Executive said:

Over the last 8 years Teach First has worked with many partners - including schools, universities and businesses - to place more great teachers in the most challenging schools and increase their impact.

We are very excited that this new support from the government will enable us to extend our reach to every region of England over time, and to begin placing our highly-motivated and qualified teachers for the first time in those primary schools who need them most in areas of highest deprivation.

In time this investment will allow us to place teachers in 1 in 3 of the most challenging secondary schools and support those teachers towards leadership positions where they can make the most possible difference to the lives of children from poorer backgrounds.

Since launching in 2002, Teach First has placed increasing numbers of participants in schools each year - 560 entered the programme in June 2010, more than double the 265 in 2005 - and has developed an ambassador community of over 1,200, working to change educational, and life, outcomes for hundreds of thousands of children today.

Before Teach First, in 2002, only 4 graduates from Oxford University chose a career teaching in a challenging school; in the 2009 to 2010 academic year, 8% of finalists applied to teach in a challenging school through Teach First.

Notes to editors

For more information on Teach First, please contact the Department for Education press office.

DfE enquiries

Published 4 July 2010