‘Teachers hit out at teacher training’… or do they?

An article in the Sunday Times quotes Katie Ashford and my thoughts on Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in the UK. This follows a speech that we gave at Wellington Festival of Education in June, in which we argued that it is the ideas in education that contribute to the attainment gap.

We are disappointed with the article because it fails to recognise the many positive things that Katie and I think and have said about Teach First. Both of us believe that Teach First is an excellent organisation. As I have said before, evidence suggests that Teach First is working, and that it has contributed to a shift in the perception of the teaching profession among graduates. And we are not alone in thinking that. In 2011, Ofsted rated Teach First training as outstanding in 44 categories out of 44.

Nevertheless, Katie and I think teacher training can still improve. I could do a lot improve my teaching. Katie could do a lot to improve hers. Both of us are focused on getting better. Teach First shares our desire to learn, and is always willing to listen to and act on feedback from participants and ambassadors.

One of the things that Katie and I find most refreshing about Teach First is the willingness to have a dialogue about what it could do to improve as a training provider. We, and many other Teach First ambassadors, often have the opportunity to express our opinions and offer constructive suggestions. Teach First are continually making changes to the programme, aiming to prepare participants as well as possible to start in teaching.

For our part, we will continue to work towards closing the research-practice gap in ITT.

You can read more about my thoughts on Teach First here:

What we can learn from Teach First?

and here:

Is Teach First working?

You can read more about Katie Ashford’s thoughts on Teach First here:


and here:


About Joe Kirby

School leader, education writer, Director of Education and co-founder, Athena Learning Trust, Deputy head and co-founder, Michaela Community School, English teacher
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1 Response to ‘Teachers hit out at teacher training’… or do they?

  1. Katharine Birbalsingh says:

    Good response.

    Sent from my iPhone


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