Fancy a career in teaching where you can make a difference to someone’s education and future? Teach First will provide you with the exact training and skills you need to stand out in the classroom. To help you on this journey here is all the information you need on the application process, and some tips to give you a head start.

teach first applications
Source: Meet In Leeds

What does the application process look like?

If you’re looking to join the 2022 cohort, applications open in autumn later this year. Before you apply, make sure to double check that you meet the minimum requirements of being on track for a 2:1 (although they will still consider candidates with a 2:2), and have grade C/4 in Maths, English and Science GCSEs. If you tick all of these boxes great! Let’s move onto the process’s nitty gritty.

  1. Complete an online application form

The online application involves two parts – a questionnaire and situational judgement test. As well as having to fill in general information about yourself such as your academic qualifications and any preferences of where and what to teach, you will be asked to answer three questions in-depth. These questions are designed to test you on your competencies by requiring you to comment on past experiences. On the other hand, the situational judgement test is set up to understand how you would react to scenarios faced when teaching. You will be given a set of varied approaches to a situation, in which you will need to rate how appropriate each one would be.

  1. Your application will be screened by two trained assessors

After you have successfully completed your online application, it will be ‘marked’ by two assessors. It is estimated that you will hear back within 10 working days.

  1. Assessment day

When you are successful, you will move onto the final stage of assessments – an assessment day. This will normally take place in Teach First’s London head office, but under the current circumstances may be held virtually as they had to do with last year’s candidates.

The activities of the day will include a competency-based interview, participating in a case study exercise as part of a team, and conducting a teaching episode. These unfamiliar tasks may seem a little daunting, but there is no need to threat as once you get invited to the assessment day, you will receive a call from one of their recruitment members who will give you more detail on the various activities, giving you a chance to ask some more specific questions. You will also not be in the dark as Teach First will send you a list of lesson titles which you can choose from when completing your teaching episode on the day.

  1. Get feedback within 3 weeks

Once you have finessed your way through the assessment day, you will get your offer within three weeks. The offer will also include the curriculum area and region where you will teach. To confirm your place, you will need to make sure that you complete a few final tasks. They will ask you to send some references and complete a curriculum knowledge assessment to get you up to speed with the knowledge you will need when teaching.

What are some useful tips to make me stand out from the crowd?

teach first
Source: Eventbrite

Do your research

To make you a desirable candidate be sure to do some wider research on Teach First. Use medias such as Facebook and LinkedIn to explore what they have recently posted to get to know the company and its values more. Bringing these up in your application or interview will demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment for joining the programme.

While you’re at it, do not forget to look up and revise Teach First’s competencies as these are the specific criteria by which they will assess you, so it is essentially a cheat sheet! Here is a hint of the competencies they are looking for: humility, respect and empathy, effective interaction, understanding and motivation, leadership, planning and organising, problem solving, resilience and self-evaluation.

Do not undersell yourself

This is not the time to be modest!  When answering questions choose an example that best shows how you fit into the role. You are not restricted to referencing your professional experience and so feel free to talk about any voluntary, academic or personal stories.

When selling yourself it’s also best to use one example and go in-depth. Even better, try using the CAR structure that Teach First itself promotes. C stands for context, explaining the situation or problem. A is for action, what approach did you take and why? R stands for result, what was the impact of your action and what did you learn? Using this method is a great way to be clear to assessors whilst demonstrating your competencies.

Try not to rush

There is no denying that when under pressure we can find it hard to take a breather. After you have done any written work make sure to proof-read to spot any grammar or spelling errors. If you feel comfortable, you might find it beneficial to get someone else to read over it. When undertaking your interview or in-person tasks also make sure to take a second to plan and not rush into it.

Use the question to help you

When completing the written questions for your online application you will be instructed on your word limit. Use this to your advantage to identify how much detail they would like you to give. If there are any keywords in the question – for instance, any competencies – be sure to mention them in your answer. By clearly flagging up key points, you are making life easier for assessors who review many applications, giving you a better chance at getting great feedback.

Practice situational judgement tests

Situational judgements tests may be completely new to some of you. However, there is no need to worry as there are loads of websites available for you to really get to grips on the activity so that when you come to do the real one it will all be smooth sailing. After all, practice makes perfect.

Arrange a call with their recruitment team

Something not everyone considers doing but will be really beneficial is reaching out to the recruitment team. Just remember, their expertise is on the application process! This means that they will be able to give you detailed information and answer any questions you may have. To arrange a call just email

teach first
Source: University of Nottingham

A final quick tip which we can all sometimes forget is to remember to take the process step by step and believe in yourself – good luck!