Sometimes I feel like the only person who is prepared to stand up and criticise Teach First. However, since my name appeared in a recent Guardian article, several colleagues at universities across the UK have got in touch and told me about their concerns. All of them are unwilling to go public about these given that their employers all have contracts in place with Teach First and they ‘don’t want to rock the boat’ (in one source’s words).
So, it was encouraging to read this letter in the TES today from Professor Bill Boyle, University of Manchester (which is deemed worthy of collaboration with Teach First):
I did not know whether to be amused, appalled or amazed at the letter in defence of Teach First and its claim to have a training programme based on research findings, relevant theory and “wealth of expertise in pedagogy” (“First and foremost”, 16 November). As professor of educational assessment at a Russell Group university, neither I nor the three other professors with relevant expertise have been consulted about or involved in our university’s version of the programme. Probably for the simple reason that any worthwhile immersion in research and theory of pedagogy takes longer than the quick scamper through sound bites that the Teach First programme allocates for trainees.
Well said Bill.