High demand for Teach First

The Herald reports:

A controversial on-the-job teacher training programme has become so popular it is receiving 15 applicants for each available place.

Teach First NZ, which sees high-flying graduates placed in low-decile high schools, is hoping to increase the number of participants it can take next year, in light of the success.

The programme had about 300 applications for its 20 places for next year.

It was previously labelled a “crash course” by critics, with some saying the graduates wouldn’t stick around after course completion, but instead move on to higher things.

However, Teach First NZ chief executive Shaun Sutton says that of the 15 inaugural alumni from its 2012 class, 13 have stayed in New Zealand, and all of those are continuing to teach.

More than half remained in low-decile schools. Where they have moved out of poorer communities it was largely due to a lack of teaching positions at those schools because of falling rolls.


The overseas versions of this initiative have been very successful, so it is good to see the NZ one off to a good start.

Alfriston College principal Robert Solomone said his school was one of the first to get the programme, and was reaping the benefits.

“They have picked some very high calibre young people who would otherwise not have thought about getting into the teaching business,” Mr Solomone said.

“They are already highly qualified and are showing a real passion for the job. They want to try new things and are doing it well.”

All strength to them.

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