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Education watchdog gives top marks to teaching charity

22 Jul 2011

First ever full inspection of Teach First praises exceptional quality of teachers working in UK’s most deprived areas.

Independent charity Teach First and its university partners -  including The University of Manchester’s School of Education - have undergone the first ever full inspection by Ofsted of the way they train teachers to work in schools in challenging circumstances.

The education watchdog awarded them the highest rating possible in every one of eleven categories in all four regions assessed.

The partnership includes lead providers The University of Manchester;  Nottingham Trent University; Canterbury Christ Church University and Sheffield Hallam University, and is supported by staff from other institutions.

The teacher training provision was rated ‘Outstanding’ in all categories assessed, including the training of inspirational teachers to work in schools in challenging circumstances.

Former Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Mike Tomlinson said: “This report is one of the very best I have seen. In my time with Ofsted I cannot remember a single report on teacher training involving a consortium of providers which was as positive as this.

“The outstanding provision made by Teach First and its partners, and the similar judgement on the capacity to improve, set this apart as a model. As such it is placing in our most disadvantaged communities teachers of the very highest quality. All concerned should be proud of what is being achieved.”

Professor Olwen McNamara, Executive Director of Teach First North West at The University of Manchester said: “We are delighted that Teach First has been rated so highly by Ofsted -  it’s a whole-hearted endorsement of the achievements of the training partnership”.

“This reflects our continuing commitment to the Teach First programme, which ensures that teachers of the very highest calibre work in areas of multiple and complex disadvantage across the region".

“Our participants provide outstanding support for pupils, many of whom face complex and deep-seated problems”

Commenting on the report, Teach First Founder and CEO Brett Wigdortz said: “The work we and our university partners do across the country to identify, train place and support our teachers in schools in challenging circumstances has rightly been recognised as Outstanding.

“These positive ratings mean that children in our partner schools are receiving high-quality education from outstandingly well-trained and highly motivated teachers who understand the crucial role they play in breaking the link between family income and educational attainment.”

Teach First works to break the link between low family income and poor educational attainment by placing top graduates to teach and lead in schools in challenging circumstances.

It is creating  a movement of leaders who are committed to raising the achievement, aspiration and access to opportunity of children from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Ofsted’s team of inspectors looked at the initial teacher training provision across four regions: London; the Midlands the North West and Yorkshire, examining its overall effectiveness and capacity to improve.

Their investigations found that Teach First participants are of exceptional quality, reaching outstanding levels of attainment and that their ‘relentless focus’ on the learning and progress of the students they teach, is supported outstandingly well by the training they receive.

They also commented on the strength and value of the mutually beneficial relationships Teach First teachers build with colleagues in the schools in which they work.