Press release

Teach First to recruit more top graduates

Education Secretary Michael Gove announced plans to support the expansion of Teach First.

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

Education Secretary Michael Gove has today (26 November 2012) announced plans to support the expansion of Teach First - the successful charity that works to make sure every child in the country has access to an excellent education.

Teach First will aim to train 2,000 exceptional graduates with high academic ability as teachers by 2015 to 2016 - four times the number who took part in 2010 when the coalition government came to power.

From next year it will also expand into new parts of the country for the first time - the south coast in 2013 and east in 2014 including Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

This is another important step in the government’s ambition to get the best and brightest in our schools, teaching our children so we prepare them for the world and make sure Britain succeeds in the global race.

Today’s announcement (26 November 2012) builds on the coalition government’s expansion of the programme since 2010/11:

  • in July 2010, the charity received government support to expand the programme into primary schools and to double its intake to 1,000 for 2012/13
  • in June 2012, the government pledged further cash so the programme could triple in size - 1,500 graduates from 2014/15

Tens of thousands of children across England will benefit from this as it will mean the charity will reach over 80% of eligible schools by 2014. Teach First works in primary and secondary schools where at least half of pupils come from the poorest 30% of families in the UK.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

The quality of teachers has a greater influence on children’s achievement than any other aspect of their education. Every pupil, regardless of their background, deserves high-quality teaching in order to succeed in life.

Teach First helps get some of our brightest graduates into some of our most challenging classrooms. We are committed to supporting the charity in their efforts to reach more schools.

The government is already providing £33.4 million funding for the programme to recruit and train 1,250 top graduates as teachers next year. The majority of this funding goes directly to Teach First’s 14 university training partners. The graduates from 90 different universities will go on to work in some of the country most challenging schools.

These expansion plans will also make Teach First the largest graduate recruiter in the country next year. The charity recruits exceptional graduates with 2:1 or above and key personal skills. They go through a thorough assessment process and intensive two-year training programme.

The announcement comes as part of the coalition government’s drive to raise standards in our schools by making it a highly attractive career for top graduates.

Latest figures from the Teaching Agency reveal that more than seven out of 10 graduates choosing to train for a career in the classroom have a 2:1 or higher - the highest proportion ever recorded. It also shows that the quality of trainee teachers has improved in all the key English Baccalaureate subjects - including maths, physics, chemistry and modern foreign languages, which have been traditionally hard to recruit to.

Welcoming the additional government support, Brett Wigdortz, CEO and Founder of Teach First, said:

I’m delighted that the coalition government has confirmed this further support for the growth of Teach First.

We have always been extremely grateful for the cross party support Teach First has received from governments over the past decade, as well as the support of our other partners, including schools, universities and businesses, who collectively ensure that we can achieve our goals.

This support is vital to help us achieve our ambitious aim to ensure that no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background.

Notes for editors

  1. This press notice relates to England only.

  2. Further details of Teach First’s government funding and expansion including future plans:

Financial year  Government funding  Training places
2010-11 £16.5m 500
2011-12 £17.5m 772
2012-13 £26.8 1,000
2013-14 £33.4m 1,250
2014-15 TBC 1,500
2015-16 TBC 2,000

Please note: These figures include all the funding provided directly to universities as well as funding which goes directly to Teach First. The majority of this funding goes to Teach First’s 14 university training partners. Whilst the government has committed to supporting Teach First expansion for 2014-15 and 2015-16, as this falls into the next comprehensive spending review (CSR) period, the Department is not able to formally agree funding until it has the next CSR settlement. The funding will also help support the growth of the charity’s Teach On programme, which accelerates Teach First teachers to become senior leaders and head teachers.

  1. Since launching in 2002, Teach First has developed an ambassador community of nearly 1,600, working to change educational, and life, outcomes for hundreds of thousands of children today. Further details about the charity can be found online at

  2. The Teaching Agency 2012 census and accompanying analysis report can be found online.

  3. The government set out its reforms in the ‘Training our next generation of outstanding teachers’ strategy plans to raise the quality of teachers in England to match the best-performing countries in the world. This includes:

  • offering graduates particularly those with first-class degrees in physics, chemistry, maths and modern foreign languages significantly better financial incentives to train as teachers - up to £20,000
  • extra financial incentives for trainee primary maths teachers and trainee teachers who work in the most challenging schools
  • encouraging more primary specialist teachers to be trained through specialist training programmes
  • the new School Direct programme allowing schools to lead their own high-quality teacher training
  • giving schools a stronger influence over the content of initial teacher training, as well as the recruitment and selection of trainees
  • weeding out poor quality initial teacher training providers

The strategy and implementation plan is available.

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Published 26 November 2012