Press releases and latest news

Teach First expands into Kent and Medway in partnership with Christ Church

29 June 2012

Teach First has chosen Canterbury Christ Church University to help deliver its unique initial teacher training programme, as it expands into the Kent and Medway region.

In its 10th anniversary year, charity Teach First is expanding into its seventh region. In partnership with the University’s Faculty of Education it will train more than 40 inspirational teachers for Kent and Medway schools in challenging circumstances, where at least half the pupils come from the poorest homes.

From September 2012, the new recruits will teach maths, science and English in secondary schools and the full curriculum in primary schools. They will begin their teaching careers in 19 schools across Chatham, Strood, Gillingham, Folkestone, Maidstone, Ramsgate, Canterbury, Ashford, Gravesend, the Isle of Sheppey and Tunbridge Wells.

Christ Church will also be hosting the charity’s Summer Institute, where the new recruits will begin their training on the two-year Leadership Development Programme.

Dr John Moss, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “Teach First was launched at Canterbury Christ Church University ten years ago, when we began the training of 185 trainee teachers for London. The six week summer institute was then based mainly in Canterbury, following a programme staff at the University wrote with colleagues from the charity. Christ Church has played a major role in Teach First ever since.

“The University has now won the contract to provide Teach First training in the new Kent and Medway region and we believe the initiative will make a major contribution to education in the area. We are very pleased to be welcoming Teach First back to our campus this summer.”

Teach First works to ensure that all children, regardless of their family income, receive a first class education. Research shows that nationally only 16% of pupils who receive Free School Meals progress to university, compared with 96% of independent school pupils.

Children receiving Free School Meals in Kent are at a significant disadvantage educationally, with the likelihood of them achieving 5 A*- C GCSEs, including English and maths less than half that (29%) of other children, among whom 62.5% achieve the grade benchmark.

In Medway the picture is much the same, with 25.2% of pupils on Free Schools Meals achieving the 5 A* - C benchmark compared with more than double (59%) that of their wealthier peers, an attainment gap of approximately 34 percentage points. Across Kent and Medway the attainment gap is over 33 percentage points which is above the national average (27 percentage points).

Brett Wigdortz, Founder and CEO of Teach First, said: “Since we launched in 2002 Teach First has been working to address educational disadvantage wherever it arises. This is why I’m delighted that, in our 10th anniversary year, we will be expanding into Kent and Medway – a region that has some of the wealthiest areas in the country, but is also home to some of the most deprived.

“We believe passionately that every child should have access to the best possible education, not just those from wealthy backgrounds, and aim to expand into all of the areas of the country where we are needed the most.”

Carrie Beech, Brooke Alliance Teaching School and Former Head of Workforce and Professional Development at Sessions House, Maidstone, said: “In Kent we have been working in partnership with Teach First for the last two years with a small pilot linked to the London programme in the North of the county. This has already been hugely successful with some amazing young leaders and teachers working and supporting schools in some of our more challenging communities. We are really looking forward to this exciting development and driving this work forward with the launch of the new region, which is greatly needed.”

Tara Deevoy, School Challenge and Improvement Lead at Medway Local Authority, said: “Medway Local Authority has worked with Teach First on its pilot programme ahead of the charity’s expansion into the Primary sector last year, which has given us the opportunity to witness first-hand the positive impact of the programme on raising the aspiration and achievement of pupils and staff in schools in challenging circumstances. Having been campaigning on behalf of our schools for an expansion of this successful programme for some time, we welcome the launch of the new region and are fully committed to developing our partnership with Teach First.”

A ceremony to mark the move into the region was held at Canterbury Christ Church University on Monday 25 June.

An audience of Headteachers from local schools, their pupils, local business people and politicians, representatives from the Kent and Medway local authorities, third sector organisations and the new teachers themselves, heard from Brett Wigdortz, Founder and CEO of Teach First and Sian Carr, Headteacher at Skinners’ Kent Academy, who has witnessed the positive impact of Teach First in her school. Also Taiwo Owetemi, a former pupil from The Business Academy Bexley, alumna of Teach First’s Higher Education Access Programme for Schools and current undergraduate in Kent, motivated and encouraged the participants to make a difference to pupils’ futures as she explained the impact of Teach First on her life.

/Ends

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students, and five campuses across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).
  • Christ Church has one of the best teacher training records in the country, with both its Initial Teacher Training and Teach First programmes recently awarded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, and being in the Complete University Guide’s UK top 10 for three consecutive years.
  • Over 90% of our newly qualified teachers are in teaching jobs six months after finishing their course.
  • Founded in 1962 as a teacher training college, 2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee this year, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

For media enquiries:

Jeanette Earl
01227 782391