Stephen Twigg and Teach First

Stephen Twigg is quoted here in the Guardian as saying that:

‘While in government, Labour made huge efforts to raise the status and quality of teaching; introducing programmes like Teach First to attract bright graduates, linking performance to pay and giving heads greater freedom to remove under-performing teachers.’ (my emphasis)

Is this the case about Teach First? I did Teach First and my understanding is that it is an independent charity that is supported by the three main political parties, and that this has been the case from its beginning. Of course it is true that Labour were in power when it was founded, and that they supported it and helped it get established. But the word ‘introducing’ makes it sound like Labour had a far more active role than that – indeed it makes it sound like Teach First is a government quango created by Labour.

I may be wrong though. Can anyone else shed any light on this?

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4 thoughts on “Stephen Twigg and Teach First

  1. Kristopher Boulton

    I’ve heard people speak like this about Teach First. At Oxford I heard someone say that they used to work with the founder of Teach First, or so they thought. “At McKinsey?”, I asked “No, in a government office…” It feels as though there is a movement within the government which tries takes credit for the establishment of Teach First.

    As far as I’m aware, my version of its history matches yours.

    Reply
    1. The Wing to Heaven Post author

      It’s like Al Gore inventing the Internet isn’t it? Success has a thousand parents, etc. It’s good for Teach First that politicians want to take credit for it, but what does it say about New Labour? After 13 years in power with hefty majorities, an economic boom and education as a top priority, you would like to think they would have enough achievements of their own to boast about without having to pinch other people’s.

      Reply
  2. teachingbattleground

    Did either the law or the rules have to change to allow Teach First to operate? That would make the most sense as an explanation of what he meant, particularly the reference to “programmes *like* Teach First”.

    Reply
    1. The Wing to Heaven Post author

      You make a good point about the laws/rules changing. It would be interesting to know what had to change to allow Teach First to operate.

      I felt the ‘like’ was one of the most misleading aspects. It suggests that Teach First is just one of many other similar programmes introduced by Labour. In actual fact even if we accept that Labour did have a crucial role in its start, it is still sufficiently independent of government to not be lumped in with other programmes in this way.

      Reply

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