Tutorial lessons

December 23, 2010

I would like to correct the inaccurate assertion in the letter "Theory first, teaching later" (9 December) that Teach First features minimal university involvement.

The Teach First initial teacher training programme for schools in challenging circumstances leads to the award of postgraduate certificates in education. The programme is delivered over 13 months by the National Initial Teacher Training Partnership, a collaboration between Teach First, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and 13 universities.

At every stage of participants' involvement in the programme, experienced university partners are involved. For example, even during the recruitment process, university tutors assess candidates' subject knowledge and understanding of pedagogy.

After being recruited, candidates attend our six-week Summer Institute, designed to develop participants' understanding of educational theory and practice. Those who pass this stage are accepted by Teach First and registered by a regional university, whose tutors work closely with them in their first year.

At the end of that year, participants engage in a final assignment that is assessed by a panel of university tutors.

The full PGCE programme is moderated by university quality departments and externally evaluated by Ofsted. Participants are also supported by university-trained school mentors and Teach First alumni.

The majority of participants stay in teaching, with many continuing to study part-time to gain master's qualifications.

Sonia Blandford, Adviser to Brett Wigdortz, Chief executive officer, Teach First.

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