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Why graduates are choosing to Teach First

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This September thousands of graduates across the country will begin the training process to become a teacher and most will do this through the conventional PGCE course at a university or college; but there is an alternative and one which may prove more beneficial for both future teachers, schools and pupils.

Teach First

Teach First is a nationwide charity that aims to raise the achievements and aspirations of pupils from the most challenging schools in the UK. The programme aims to address educational disadvantage by training the best of the best to become effective teachers, leaders and role models in over 200 secondary schools in the East Midlands, London, North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire.

Participants complete the Leadership Development Programme to become a Teach First Ambassador over a two year period which involves six weeks training at the Summer Institute followed by a two year placement in a school incorporated with continuous training and support. After the first year participants achieve their NQT, and after the full two years participants achieve their full PGCE with the opportunity to complete further studies towards a Masters qualification.

Why Teach First?

There are numerous benefits of taking the Teach First route rather than the PGCE, for both participants and the pupils they encounter. Although it may seem bizarre to be put straight into a classroom after only six weeks of training you are not simply left to your own devices. Regular and consistent follow ups, training and feedback sessions take place during the placement and participants are also assigned a Leadership Development Officer for direct support.

The main advantage of completing your teacher training with Teach First is the incredible amount of hands on experience and independence you are given. During a standard PGCE course experience is obtained on short term placements and through observation; Teach First is far more employment-based and as with all employment this of course means taking home a wage! This can range depending upon what school and region you are placed in but is of course enough to live comfortably.

What is truly significant is the types of schools you’ll be working in. Schools can only qualify to employ Teach First teachers if they have at least thirty percent of students that receive free lunches and twenty-five percent or less that have achieved A* - C grades at GCSE. This means you’ll be working within some of the most testing schools in the country but if it was easy everyone would do it!

Pupils at these types of schools are often from varying ethnic backgrounds and low socio-economic families. This is your opportunity to take on teaching, not from behind a desk, but up front in order for you to make an active change to the lives and educations of the pupils you encounter.

The Details

If you’re looking to apply for 2011’s intake applications are still open for the following subjects: Design and Technology, ICT, Maths, Music and Science.

It’s worth noting that the subject you apply for doesn’t necessarily have to match up directly to the course you’re currently studying. If you have an A level at A or B grade in Science, ICT, DT or Maths you are eligible to teach your relevant subject regardless of what degree you are studying. Similarly an A level in English at the same level qualifies you to teach English Literature or Language.

If you’re looking to apply for the 2012 intake then applications open sooner than you may think. Come June of this year applications for next September will open and certain subjects get snapped up very quickly. If you’re planning on applying to teach English, History, Art, Geography, RE or Modern Foreign Languages then it is definitely worth applying quickly. 

 

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