Teacher training

New round of redundancies hit Teach First charity

Charity with government contract to recruit high-flying graduates is 'proposing changes' to how it operates

Charity with government contract to recruit high-flying graduates is 'proposing changes' to how it operates

New reports show Teach First has a positive impact on school outcomes, but teachers are more likely to leave profession

Teach First is consulting on a second round of redundancies, Schools Week understands.

The charity, which holds a government contract for recruiting and training high-flying graduates, said it was “proposing changes to how we operate” to “prepare for the future”.

In June, Schools Week revealed the organisation had made half of its eight-strong executive team redundant.

The charity said it attracted 1,335 recruits this year. That means it missed its target of 1,750 by more than a fifth. 

Overall recruitment figures published last year showed the government missed its total target by 38 per cent amid a wider recruitment and retention crisis.

A Teach First spokesperson said its new strategy “builds on existing work to support teachers and leaders so that more children growing up in poverty can fulfil their potential”.

“In recent years, Teach First has grown rapidly – for example, expanding to deliver the early career framework and national professional qualifications. To consolidate this growth, and prepare for the future, we are proposing changes to how we operate.”

The charity said it had “started a consultation process with our staff and, therefore, at this time it would not be appropriate for us to comment further”. It did not respond when asked to clarify what the proposed changes are to how it operates.

‘Best’ graduates

The charity has a £113 million government contract to recruit the “best and brightest” graduates and career changers who could be “highly skilled teachers and leaders”.

Its contract was extended in April by two years to run to October 2027, taking the overall grants it will have received since 2021 to £169 million.

But it must still recruit 1,750 trainees each year in 2024 and 2025 for its two-year course.

Teach First recruited 1,394 graduates in 2022, then the smallest cohort since 2018 when 1,234 were recruited, missing its target and losing £2 million in bonuses.

But it was rated as ‘good’ against three other government targets and at the time said it was “proud” of its 2022 numbers, “given the significant recruitment challenges the whole sector is facing”.

The DfE is consulting with the market on the procurement approach for the future delivery of the programme.

Teach First’s annual report and account for 2021/2022, published on Companies House in April, said it had 821 employees.

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  1. Anon Ymous

    One might ask oneself where all the money is going. Historians of economics of education will be incredulous when they discover just how much was ‘spaffed up the wall’ by ministers in comparison with previous types of teacher training, with the net effect that not enough people now want to join the profession.

  2. S. Turner

    Teach First has always been about creating a fast channel onto the SL pathway, bypassing the more experienced classroom focused teachers that spend years honing their skills and actually produce results.
    I remember one (young) graduate of this program telling an experienced HoScience with excellent results year after year in a difficult secondary school, telling them to use a toy to throw to different pupils to nominate and gain their interest to answering questions.
    Yet another reason for people not to consider going into teaching to teach.