It is the teacher training programme placing high-flying graduates in disadvantaged secondary schools. Now an education charity is to branch out into the region’s primary schools, writes Kat Keogh
An inner-city school classroom is a far cry from the hallowed halls of Oxbridge, but for Lindsey Mannion, there’s nowhere else she would rather be.
While her peers contemplated careers in law and medicine in London, Cambridge history graduate Lindsay upped sticks and moved to Birmingham after winning a place on the Teach First leadership development programme.
The charity targets high-achieving graduates who wouldn’t normally consider a career in teaching to become “inspirational teachers” and leaders.
According to regional director Jo Graham, the programme aims to give children the best education available, regardless of their family income or education background.
The two-year school places graduates in secondary schools deemed to be in challenging circumstances – where more than half of their pupils are in the lowest family income bands – and has been credited with boosting exam results.
A study by the University of Manchester found secondary schools with Teach First teachers see pupils improve their grades by an average of a third of a GCSE in every subject they study.
More than 180 graduates are working in 49 schools across authorities including Birmingham, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Warwickshire and Worcester.
The programme, which is funded by schools, sponsors and the Government has now teamed up with the University of Warwick to train 15 new primary school teachers to work in the region.
One of those selected to work in primary schools was Lindsey, who has been teaching a class of six and seven-year-olds at Tindal Primary School in Balsall Heath since September.