Teacher training

Teach First loses £2m bonuses after ‘inadequate’ recruitment

DfE officials noted this year had been 'challenging', with the government missing its own targets

DfE officials noted this year had been 'challenging', with the government missing its own targets

Teach First’s flagging recruitment last year has been branded “inadequate” by the Department for Education.

The teacher training provider has also missed out on bonuses of up to £2 million after signing up its smallest cohort in four years.

Schools Week revealed in November that the government’s flagship provider for attracting high-flying graduates missed its target for 2022-23 by a fifth.

Newly published data on key performance indicators for government contracts shows this led to an ‘inadequate’ rating, a downgrade from 2021 when the government rated recruitment as ‘requires improvement’ – although it said performance had been impacted by Covid.

DfE officials noted this year had been “challenging”, with the government missing its recruitment target for secondary schools by 41 per cent.

The contractor was rated as ‘good’ against three other government targets.

This included ensuring 90 per cent of participants who started training achieved qualified teacher status (QTS) and that 94 per cent of this group then completed year 2 as teachers.

On recruitment, Teach First has since agreed to “make adjustments” to its approach and “pilot new initiatives” to boost numbers.

It told Schools Week this included rerunning its autumn institute, which allowed recruits to apply outside the usual recruitment window.

Of the 2022-23 cohort, just 122 used this route.

‘Self-led taster course’ to launch

Other new approaches include an “expansive, targeted campus recruitment campaign” in which the provider will visit 60 universities and host and attend 350 graduate events.

It will also launch a “self-led taster course” this month, focusing on STEM subjects.

Undergraduates interested in Teach First will be able to access “a bank of online, internship-style content”.

The DfE said its key performance indicator targets – such as Teach First’s recruitment target – were set to “challenge providers, in order to drive performance”.

It added that it was “working closely with Teach First to support it with adjustments to its recruitment approach”.

Public documents show that Teach First’s current four-year government contract, which covers two cohorts, is worth £113 million.

Teach First was eligible for a £1 million bonus in 2021 and 2022 if it snared 1,750 new trainees in each year.

But it enrolled 1,521 in 2021 and just 1,394 last year.

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