Race Equality Awards - Future Workforce - Teach First

Teach First’s Undergraduate Programmes

Teach First is working to end inequality in education by building a community of exceptional leaders who create change within classrooms, schools and across society. The Leadership Development Programme (LDP) offers graduates the opportunity to become part of a social movement for change to inspire young people and students and develop themselves as leaders.  

At the heart of all activity is a commitment to boosting the number of participants from all diverse backgrounds, including black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), male, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) backgrounds, to become role models that reflect society.

Currently, black males only account for 1.4% of secondary school head teachers and more than half of science and maths departments in schools in the UK experience significant shortages of specialist teaching staff. 

In light of this problem, recruiting a diverse intake of students to Teach First’s Undergraduate Programmes (UP) is imperative as these individuals feed the pipeline for the LDP. 

One of the Undergraduate Programmes offered is the Brand Manager Programme, which employs undergraduates as Brand Managers on campus to raise awareness of Teach First and the LDP. This programme includes diversity training for all recruits, both at induction and then during mid-year training. This ensures that the Brand Managers learn not only about the importance of a diverse population of teachers, but also how to best reach a more diverse audience on campus. They are encouraged to collaborate with a number of university societies - from sports teams and Afro-Caribbean societies, to debating groups.

Teach First has a live-data Diversity Tracker and reporting tool that enables identification of important trends across its programmes. When this data revealed that BAME candidates performed better at the Insight assessment centres than BAME candidates at the LDP assessment centre, it was able to re-evaluate and adapt LDP recruitment processes to address this discrepancy.


  • 33% of BAME UP participants in 2014/15 went on to engage in further opportunities with Teach First afterwards. This is compared to 15% of non-BAME UP participants engaging further with Teach First.
  • Teach First has already exceeded one of its UP recruitment targets of 17% of participants being from a BAME background - it currently stands at 25%.