Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Teach First Easing Workload to Reduce Drop-Out Rates

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Teach First Easing Workload to Reduce Drop-Out Rates

Article excerpt

Graduate programme takes steps to try and reduce the number leaving before the end of the two-year course

Teach First is making radical changes to its teacher-training programme in a bid to cut workload and reduce the number of dropouts.

The charity is introducing a new Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) which will spread out assessments for Teach First trainees over two years rather than one.

Sam Freedman, Teach First's executive director of programmes, said that the change would also help to provide participants with more consistent support.

"The first couple of terms are when it's toughest to keep them engaged and to keep them on the programme," he told TES. "We want to reduce the number leaving during the two-year course."

Significant alterations

Currently, one in 10 Teach First participants drop out of the programme before the end, despite the risk of dropouts having to pay back up to £4,000 to cover some training costs.

Some have left the course - which is part of the charity's work to tackle educational inequality - early to work in a private school.

But Mr Freedman hopes that changes to the programme - the most significant alterations since its foundation in 2003 - will address factors that may have driven new starters away.

Trainees will still work towards Qualified Teacher Status at the end of year one, but assessments will be spread out evenly over two years to avoid "cramming".

"When you are trying to get to grips with the basic skills, having to do essay writing wasn't hugely helpful," Mr Freedman said. …

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