“Parents are the greatest stakeholders in any school”

An early finding of our ‘Areas of Greatest Need’ research is the importance of strengthening home-school relationships.  Becky Francis’s study of ‘Satisfactory’ schools noted a “striking” tendency towards “scant parent engagement”: schools were not perceived to be listening to parents or helping them support their children’s learning.  We’ve been seeking case studies of schools which excel at this;…

Areas of Greatest Need: Blackpool

Sun, sea, sand and Strictly – Blackpool may attract fewer tourists than it did in its heyday, but it retains the image of a fun holiday destination.  Describing growing up in Blackpool, many young people emphasised this aspect of life in the town, like the Year 6 pupil who told us: “I think it’s quite…

What underpins an outlier’s success?

What does it take for a teacher to survive in a school which they themselves describe as ‘chaotic’, which may have seen numerous changes in leadership and direction, or might have suffered years of perceived failure?  This year, our team interviewed twenty-five Teach First participants (as well as their mentors and tutors), who had thrived…

New teachers in challenging environments: what support is crucial?

Understanding what support matters most for new teachers is critical for Teach First.  It formed one aspect of our ‘Outliers’ Study: interviews with twenty-five participants (and two colleagues of each teacher) who had thrived in particularly challenging schools. Every single case study highlighted the impact of practical support in aspects such as planning, assessment and…

Resilience: retaining sight of goals in the face of adversity

Our ‘Outliers’ study sought to explain the success of twenty-five Teach First participants who had thrived in the most challenging schools. Every one of them was described as ‘resilient’: this post examines teacher resilience, exploring the trainees’ underlying determination to succeed and the actions which helped them persist from day to day. Underpinning resilience: a…