Teach First

Prepare for the Teach First recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

Teach First Aptitude Tests

The charity Teach First is there to build a fairer world for everyone. They prepare the inspiring teachers of the future to go out and help the children who can most benefit from guidance and education.

Since 2002, more than 10,000 graduates have gone on to change the lives of over a million children from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds. Applicants should be enthusiastic, passionate and driven to change the world through teaching.

Careers At Teach First

Teach First is a social enterprise operating as a charity that aims to make education fairer for everyone. From a career perspective, it allows graduates that wish to qualify as teachers to enrol in a hybrid study/work model that gives both a teaching qualification and allows remuneration. It is an 'earn as you learn' model, taking the lead from successful American programmes.

It was specifically created by McKinsey & Co to begin to solve inequality issues in inner-London schools. Latterly Teach First has expanded into various areas across England, with a similar scheme in Wales called Teach First Cymru.

Types Of Jobs At Teach First

Originally aimed at secondary schools, the scheme now also offers primary teaching qualifications, and is seen as an attractive option for those who have industry experience and wish to seek a career change, although applications from recent graduates are also welcome.

Teach First trainees all earn a competitive salary alongside earning a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE) taken across two years' participation in the programme, with the option of completing a master's degree in an optional third year.

How To Join Teach First

All applicants require a 2.1 degree or above and must satisfy specific curriculum requirements that differ from secondary to primary teaching - e.g. your degree must be in a relevant subject or from an approved list, plus relevant A-Levels. There are no minimum UCAS points requirements but there is no flexibility with GCSE requirements as these are set out by the Department for Education, therefore all applicants require a C/ 4 or equivalent GCSE in maths and English, and for primary, an additional C/ 4 in one science subject.

Teach First Application Process

There is a set process that all applicants to Teach First must follow. The process begins with an online application, before successful applicants are invited to attend a Development Centre assessment process and workshops, after which conditional offers are made within three weeks of attending the final assessment. Each of the phases of the Teach First application process is set out further below.

Online Application

The online application form is the first opportunity to sell your skills and interests. Alongside your basic details, degree and other academic qualifications, you will give personal information about yourself, your interests and teaching preferences including location and the age group you hope to teach.

The application form also requires you to complete a Situational Judgement Test, based on workplace scenarios that you might encounter as a Teach First trainee.

Situational Judgement Test

The Teach First situational judgement test is used as part of the online application to assess candidates on how well they respond to different types of workplace situations. The multiple-choice questions will require you to analyse a situation and decide on an appropriate response.

The test is used to help shortlist candidates based on how well applicants score on the test.

No prior knowledge is required however you will want to ensure you are familiar with answering situational judgement tests and know what to expect. It is not timed but you will have to answer in one sitting.

Application Screening

The online application form is screened by two trained assessors. All personal information is redacted and your information will be assessed against a strict list of criteria and compared to other applications. The aim behind this is to remove bias, ensure compliance with entry requirements and invite the top calibre of candidates to the Development Centre for further assessment. You should expect to hear the result of your initial application within 15 working days.

Development Centre

The Development Centres are currently carrying out virtual assessments and you will have seven days in which to prepare the required information - including the preparation for your teaching episode. As the centre is currently virtual you'll receive a call beforehand to make sure you understand the structure of the day, and you'll also be invited to a workshop to ensure you're fully prepared.

All parts of the Development Centre assessment day carry equal weight so it is important to factor that into your preparation, tempting as it might be to focus fully on the parts which are most unfamiliar.

Competency-based Interview

Teach First sets out eight competencies that it considers vital for all candidates to demonstrate. These are:

  • Humility, respect and empathy
  • Interaction
  • Understanding and motivation
  • Leadership
  • Planning and organising
  • Problem-solving
  • Resilience
  • Self-evaluation

The answers that you give in your one-to-one interview should aim to demonstrate your skills and knowledge in all of these areas. Study these carefully and ensure you have examples to hand, alongside personal and well thought out responses to more generic questions as to why teaching and why the curriculum to which you have applied.

Group Case Study

This is a group exercise, assessing how you work individually as part of a wider group, your management and style of interaction with other people in the team and how you approach teamwork. You will be collectively set a task to achieve.

Conducting A Teaching Episode

Although this is perhaps the part that most people spend their preparation time on, this four-minute presentation is only worth 25% of the assessment. You will have a title given to you a week in advance and you will have time to research, plan and prepare. As with all presentations, consider the 'audience' which in this case is the pupils to whom you are giving the lesson, who will need to be engaged and inspired.

Two Self-evaluation Exercises

Both the group case study and teaching episode are followed by one-to-one discussions about your approach, performance and the outcome, which gives you a good chance to demonstrate your self-evaluation skills.

Tips To Get Hired

Do Your Homework

Preparation is key. Know what is expected at each stage of the application process and against what criteria you are being assessed. Make use of all the available information about Teach First, both online, as well as that which you are sent, and make sure that you give equal attention to all aspects of the assessment as they are all evenly weighted.

Use Your Best Examples

Take note of the key competencies and how they might relate to a teaching role as well as your own experience. Spend time analysing your examples and ensure your best examples are matched up with each competency.

Try Using The CAR Structure For Your Answers

When giving an example you should be structured with your response, ensuring the assessor is clear in what you are saying and why (and what your specific or direct contribution was if using a team example). It is recommended that you use the CAR structure (Context, Action, Result) so that each example is tied to a relevant competency and demonstrable outcome.

Don't Lie, Or Exaggerate The Truth

Remember that you are applying for a teaching qualification so that a lack of workplace experience of teaching is expected. It is better to be honest about the skills you do have and the motivation for training as a teacher than it is to pretend to have experience, for example. As with all job applications, there is a fine line between showing your skills and selling your experience in the best and most favourable light, and outwardly lying.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Is It Hard To Get Into Teach First?

Teach First receives around 8,000 applicants annually with around 60% reaching the Development Centre stage of the recruitment process, with around 20% receiving a conditional offer. The calibre of candidates applying has increased recently which has made it more competitive.

How Much Do You Get Paid At Teach First?

Salaries are competitive but depend on location. First-year Teach First trainees earn at "point two on the unqualified teacher scale (secondary), and point one for primary/ early years. This means a current minimum of £18,419 for England / Wales with a slightly higher London weighting.

Is Teach First Prestigious?

Teach First is known to be a challenge as you are both working and studying and therefore has a great reputation. The Times each year rank graduate employers and for the past decade, Teach First has been ranked in the top ten of the Top 100.

What Qualification Do You Get With Teach First?

All Teach First trainees qualify with a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE) with the option of completing a master's degree in an optional third year.


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