Education CommitteeFurther written evidence submitted by Teach First

1. Summary

Following Teach First’s written submission, and oral evidence, to this inquiry, this paper contains supplementary information requested by the Education Select Committee. It comprises details on Teach First cost per participant, value for money and completion and retention rates. The key points are as follows:

Teach First’s training overall costs less to the government, per participant,1 than the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP).

Teach First offers significant savings to both schools and the taxpayer as a Teach First participant is filling an actual teaching vacancy in their first year.

All Teach First participants teach in schools in challenging circumstances for at least two years and the vast majority of those who stay in teaching remain in schools in challenging circumstances.

67% of graduates recruited for the 2012 cohort will be teaching priority subjects which schools find it difficult to recruit into, while 54% of the 2011 cohort are teaching particular shortage STEM subjects—science, technology and mathematics.

Teach First has a uniquely high completion rate with 95% of participants who start training with Teach First gaining QTS, compared to 86% for PGCE.

Retention among Teach First teachers is strong, increasing and comparable to the PGCE route. Currently, 67% of Teach First teachers stay in the classroom beyond the initial two years and across all cohorts of Teach First, 68% of our teachers remain employed in education.

Teach First has succeeded in making teaching a profession of choice for top graduates, recruiting from 149 universities including top selective institutions. For example, in 2010, 282 applications were received from Oxford graduates—almost 10% of the graduating class.

2. Contents

This paper is broken down as follows:

2.1Teach First cost per participant.

2.2Teach First value added.

2.3Teach First completion and retention rates.

2.4Destination data for Teach First ambassadors.2

2.1 Teach First Cost per Participant

Teach First has developed a unique approach to recruiting and training teachers distinct from traditional routes into teaching. It has a significantly different financial model to other routes which reflects the greater complexity and more systematic support offered to participants who are not just training but actually teaching classes in schools in challenging circumstances at the same time from the start of school. The high quality of the approach was recently confirmed by an Ofsted inspection which rated the training as outstanding in every category in every university rated.

The TDA has recently submitted to the Education Select Committee, as follow-up evidence, a paper outlining the funding provided by the DfE/TDA, and the relative known costs, for Teach First, GTP and PGCE routes. It highlights the fact that the total DfE/TDA funding per participant including funding to schools and universities is £23,277 for Teach First, £23,750 for the GTP and £16,470 for comparable PGCE students.

The costs for Teach First were confirmed in discussion with us and counter the perception that Teach First is more expensive than other routes. The TDA paper demonstrates that, for a school, a Teach First teacher costs £4,282 less than a trainee employed through the GTP and £1,389 less than employing a teacher trained through a standard PGCE. This does not include the additional saving for schools on recruitment costs, which can be considerable.

The key reason for the cost-effectiveness of the Teach First route is that, although trainees receive more substantial training and support, these costs are balanced by significant savings to schools and the taxpayer as, unlike other routes, the Teach First participant is filling an actual teaching vacancy in their first year.

2.2 Teach First Value Added

In addition to cost savings, Teach First provides tangible and valuable benefits that should be considered in addition to comparing simple net costs. The following list, while not exhaustive, describes some of these:

Teaching prestige—Teach First has helped make teaching attractive to a new stream of highly capable graduates who would never have considered it as a career previously.

High quality degrees—the vast majority of our recruits have a 2:1 degree or better.

Shortage subjects—A high proportion of our recruits are teaching in shortage subjects—54% of the 2011 cohort are teaching STEM subjects—science, technology and mathematics. 67% of graduates recruited for the 2012 cohort so far will be teaching priority subjects.

Training Quality—the 2011 Ofsted inspection into Teach First’s ITT provision rated it as “Outstanding” in every one of eleven categories each for four universities rated—44 outstanding ratings in total. It added; “The level and quality of support for participants’ well-being and professional development results in exceptionally high retention and attainment.”

School Improvement—Teach First is the only training route where research has demonstrated a statistically significant correlation with improved results in the schools participants are placed in. The study found that GCSE results of schools which partner with Teach First are increased across the whole school.3

Targeted placement—Teach First only places participants in schools in challenging circumstances serving low-income communities which have difficulty recruiting and retaining staff otherwise. The TDA’s research shows that only one in 10 teachers through other routes would choose to work in such schools (TDA survey 2008). Furthermore, in 2009, 78% of ambassadors still in teaching were working in Teach First eligible schools.

Gender balance—Recruitment through Teach First of men is strong—38% overall—whilst into primary 29% are men compared with 16% through other teacher training routes.

In terms of diversity, 16.3% of graduates recruited for the 2011 Cohort were from BAME backgrounds compared to 9.2% through other routes.

Leadership—Teach First teachers are developing the leadership capacity of the profession. Already in 2011 we have developed 49 senior leaders including head teachers through Teach First (ahead of our target of 40 by 2013) and 238 middle leaders in the pipeline.

2.3 Teach First Completion and Retention Rates

In its submission, the TDA draws on its own data to show that, on average, between 2005 and 2009, Teach First provides the highest rates of completion and retention during training of any route. The proportion of participants who start training with Teach First, who gain QTS, is 95% compared to 86% for PGCE. This low wastage makes Teach First better value for money for the tax-payer.

While Teach First recognises the accuracy of the retention data provided by the TDA, it does not necessarily provide a fully comprehensive and up-to-date picture. For example, the long-term retention statistic quoted, of 42%, relates only to one cohort, early in our history.

Since then, retention of Teach First teachers in the profession has increased steadily so that the latest figures show that currently 66% of Teach First participants remain in teaching in the UK for at least a third year. Of the 2007 Cohort, 51% remain in teaching and of the 2008 Cohort, 60% are teaching. Across all cohorts of Teach First, 68% of ambassadors remain employed in education, while 54% remain employed specifically teaching in the UK.4

These retention rates compare well with other routes according to the DfE School Workforce Census 2010—which measures retention from the start of training rather than just after completion of QTS. The census shows the proportion of standard PGCE trainees who go on to teach in a maintained school in the year after completing QTS is 63%—a lower rate than that for Teach First.

In terms of long-term retention, the DfE workforce data shows that, for standard post-graduate training routes, 57% of those who started training are still in teaching five years later. This is comparable to Teach First’s average long-term retention in teaching of 54%.

2.4 Destination Data for Teach First Teachers

The following tables—requested by the Education Select Committee—set out the latest destination and activity data for the Ambassador Community as of 30 November 2011.

Total number of ambassadors in:

% of the 2009 Cohort

% of the current total from across all cohorts,
2003–2009 (1,575)

Teaching in the UK



Teaching overseas



Education outside of the classroom5



Non-education (civil service, professional services, industry, banking, not for profits, further study, other)




Further data on ambassadors in teaching

% of the 2009 Cohort

% drawn from across all cohorts, 2003–2009

Teaching in Teach First eligible schools in the UK6



Teaching in senior leadership positions7 (UK and Overseas)



Teaching in middle leadership positions (UK and Overseas)



Teaching in leadership positions (UK and Overseas)



April 2012

1 A Teach First “participant” is a participant of the two-year Teach First Leadership Development Programme.

2 A Teach First “ambassador” is a graduate of the two-year Teach First Leadership Development Programme.

3 University of Manchester, 2010.

4 TDA Report, November 2011.

5 “Education outside of the classroom” eg not for profit organisations that work in education, such as Teach First, CfBT Education Trust, educational social enterprises, or in non-teaching positions in schools.

6 Schools where the majority of children are from the lowest 30% IDACI (Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index) regions.

7 Eg Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher, Assistant Principal, Deputy Assistant Principal.

8 If not in middle or senior leadership positions, these individuals might be SEN or literacy coordinators for example.

Prepared 30th April 2012