The Teach First programme, which is supported by HSBC, provides trainee teachers for UK schools and aims to improve education in deprived areas.
Since the programme began in 2003 HSBC has helped fund the recruitment, training and placement of more than 1,100 maths teachers. The recruits we have supported represent almost 20 per cent of all Teach First graduates in the UK. We will continue to back the project between 2015 and 2017 – increasing the number of teachers we support every year.
The Teach First charity offers some of the UK’s brightest graduates two-year teaching placements at challenging primary and secondary schools in London and other major cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Cardiff, as well as some rural coastal areas.
Recruiting and retaining high quality teachers in deprived areas has long been a problem and a national shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths teachers means posts in these subjects have been difficult to fill.
Teach First takes care of recruitment, meaning schools do not need to advertise for a post, and funds all training. The schools are responsible for paying the recruits’ salaries. The incentive for young would-be teachers is the challenge of the job and the excellent opportunities for promotion. According to the charity, 60 per cent of Teach First recruits stay in education after their two-year programme, with many moving into middle and senior leadership positions.
The programme has helped to change the perception of teaching in challenging schools, emphasising how providing education in low income communities can be one of the most rewarding graduate jobs. The Teach First initiative was ranked second in The Sunday Times Top 100 Graduate Employers in 2014. Teach First plans to extend its programme to struggling schools in other UK towns.
“We saw that Teach First could be a very effective way of addressing the problem of the lack of skilled maths teachers and could play a significant role in improving the opportunities open to young people,” said Simon Martin, Head of Group Corporate Sustainability, HSBC.
Research by University College London’s Institute of Education in 2013 found that a GCSE student taking eight subjects benefited by around one grade overall if there were Teach First recruits working in his or her school, compared with schools without such teachers.
In 2003 HSBC became a founding member of Teach First in the UK, but the principles of Teach First extend beyond the UK and are now incorporated in the Teach For All programme across the world. HSBC was a founding supporter of Teach for All in 2007, giving a grant of GBP1.8 million to establish the scheme and provide maths teachers.