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Our impact

Our impact

Studies have shown that teacher effectiveness is a critical driver of students’ educational success. Educational achievement in turn is one of the most effective ways to achieve social mobility, improving social and economic outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Impact 2013-2016

View our Impact infographic here.

Teach First NZ's first cohort began work in schools in 2013 (as part of the initial pilot phase). In the years since, the programme has achieved the following outcomes. 

1. Recruiting top talent for low-decile schools

  • - We have recruited 4 highly-qualified and diverse cohorts (74 participants)
  • - Highly selective – just 7% of all applicants are selected for the programme
  • - Participants represent diverse and under-represented backgrounds – overall, 16% are Māori and 11% are Pasifika; 39% are male
  • - 42% of participants teach STEM (Maths or Chemistry or Physics or Science), and 15% teach Te Reo Māori
  • - 100% of participants choose to teach in low-decile schools as a first choice
  • - Many participants had not previously considered teaching as a career

2. Meeting high demand from schools for the programme

  • - We have developed a strong network of approximately 40 host and supporting affiliate schools in Auckland and Northland, improving collaboration and providing mentoring opportunities.
  • - All participants teach in decile 1-5 schools, with well over 90% of placements in decile 1-3 schools. 
  • - According to our independent NZCER evaluation, all principals of partner schools want to employ more Teach First NZ participants in future years.
  • - According to the evaluation, principals have “unanimously” judged Teach First NZ participants to be “performing extremely well in the classroom”.
  • - Other staff in schools frequently describe Teach First NZ participants as “high calibre”, “hard working”, “friendly”, “resilient” and “well liked”.

3. Retaining committed alumni in teaching and in addressing educational inequalities

  • - Of the 15 alumni from the 2013 cohort, 14 (93%) will still be teaching in 2016 (their fourth year of teaching).
  • - Of the 18 alumni from the 2014 cohort, at least 16/18 (89%) will still be teaching in 2016 (their third year of teaching). 13/18 (73%) will be teaching in low-decile schools, with 9/18 (50%) remaining in their original host school.

4. Raising achievement and building 21st century learners

  • - The programme directly serves 5,200 New Zealand students, including 4,000 Māori and Pasifika students
  • - NZCER evaluators wrote in the concluding section of their report that: “One of the things that became clearer to us this year is the extent to which participants are being prepared as 21st century future-focussed teachers: they are confident about opening up their classrooms and their practice to ongoing scrutiny; they are fluent users of digital technology in teaching and learning; they are skilled at critical reflection; they collect and use assessment data confidently and competently to improve learning; and, as one LAS (learning area specialist) said, they are ‘proactive in their approach to implementing research driven learning programmes’”.
  • - NZCER evaluators also found that "In most departments staff reported that they noticed comparable, if not improved, levels of student achievement for participants’ classes. They were able to justify this by standardised literacy test results, NCEA moderated internal assessments, completion rates for achievement and unit standards, as well as informal judgements about student engagement".

5. Improving the status of teaching

  • - NZ Association of Graduate Employers award recognition in 2014 and 2015 (Teach First NZ is the first and only teaching programme to be recognised in this forum).
  • - NZCER evaluators found that participants are “very strong ambassadors” for secondary teaching in New Zealand...“Three quarters of Cohort 13 participants thought Teach First NZ had a positive impact on the perceived status of teaching as a competitive profession”.

What the research says

We are committed to ongoing evaluation of the programme, and support all efforts to rigorously measure the impact of Teach First NZ. The programme is currently the subject of an ongoing independent evaluation by NZCER, which has demonstrated that the Teach First NZ approach is making a positive difference and helping to address educational inequalities in New Zealand.

In addition, similar programmes overseas have proven the power of our collective approach and the way we work with partners. Teach First in the UK, for example, has been independently evaluated and shown to produce highly effective teachers who achieve significant gains in student achievement, and positively impact their students and communities over the long-term.




NZCER evaluation


In April 2013 the Ministry of Education selected the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) to conduct a four-year independent evaluation (2013-2016) of the Teach First NZ programme. NZCER is New Zealand’s only national, independent educational research organisation.

The key evaluation questions posed by the Ministry are:
1. How well (effectively and efficiently) has the Teach First NZ programme been implemented?
2. To what extent has the Teach First NZ programme achieved its overall outcomes and objectives?

The first evaluation report was released in June 2014. Read the report here.

The second evaluation report was released in September 2015. Read the report here.

The third evaluation report was released in August 2016. Read the report here.

The fourth evalutation report was released in May 2017. Read the report here.


Recruitment results


Leadership Projects

Teach First NZ believes that great teaching requires great leadership. We also believe that our alumni will be required to exhibit leadership skills as they continue to engage, beyond the initial two-year programme, in working to close the education gap in New Zealand. That’s why we place leadership development at the heart of our programme, and require all participants to undertake a leadership project in their second year of the programme. Click here to learn about the impact some of these projects, led by second-year teachers, have had in our partner schools.


Teach First (UK) research

Since its founding in 2002, Teach First in the UK has placed over 7,000 teachers in schools in challenging circumstances to work with students to raise their achievement, access to opportunity, and aspiration. To date the programme has been the subject of two full evaluations (2008 & 2011) by the UK education inspectorate Ofsted (similar to New Zealand’s Education Review Office), a review conducted by the University of Manchester (2010) and a research study conducted by the Institute of Education, University of London (2013).

Teach First’s 2008 Ofsted review found that the programme successfully recruits ‘highly motivated graduates with outstanding personal qualities and strong subject expertise’, with around half achieving Qualified Teacher Status to an outstanding level, a third to a good level and the others to a satisfactory level. The six-week summer institute was found to be a particularly successful and innovative feature of the training, and the central subject training was also of a high quality. The report noted that ‘very few trainees withdrew from the programme’ and that ‘the outstanding level of achievement of the best Teach First trainees seen was so uniformly high that they were judged by inspectors to be amongst the most exceptional trainees produced by any teacher training route.’ The report concludes that the ‘trainees were highly committed to Teach First’s aim of countering educational disadvantage and had a markedly beneficial impact on the schools involved’.

Teach First’s 2011 Ofsted review of the programme awarded the highest possible grade of ‘Outstanding’ in all 11 areas evaluated across 4 regions. The report stated that ‘Teach First is very successful in meeting its commitment to address educational disadvantage by placing high-quality graduates into schools in challenging circumstances, and, through this, to working closely with the schools to improve student aspirations, experiences and achievement’. Ofsted found that many participants are already having an impact in their schools, even in their first year, and many are ‘well on their way to becoming inspirational teachers and some already are’. The training participants receive was found to be of ‘consistently high quality’, and the report notes that Teach First’s retention is ‘exceptionally high’ and ‘significantly above the national average’.

The 2010 study by the University of Manchester used a content analysis of interviews with principals and middle managers, and identified the following as the most common descriptors of Year 2 Teach First participants: ‘listen and learn’, ‘enthusiastic’, ‘creative’, ‘hardworking’, ‘resilient’, ‘energetic’ and ‘adaptive’. The report also found that Teach First participation by a school correlates positively with student achievement with a between-school variance in pupil performance at GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) of between 20% and 40%. In addition, the results indicated that the greater the number of Teach First teachers in the school, the better the school performed.

The most recent 2013 study by the Institute of Education: "Matched panel data estimates of the impact of Teach First on school and departmental performance", found that General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) students benefited from the presence of a Teach First teacher in their school. The research demonstrated that in years two and three after a Teach First teacher’s introduction into a school there were school-wide gains of approximately 5% of a standard deviation, or a boost of one grade in one of a pupil’s eight best subjects.


PPTA research

In May 2011 the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) commissioned Murdoch University in Perth (Australia) to conduct an extensive literature review of overseas programmes affiliated with Teach For All. Teach First NZ and The University of Auckland welcomed the completed research report, and we were pleased to be able to offer our response to what we believe is a generally well-balanced literature review, which concluded that the evidence about Teach For All teachers seems positive.

The full PPTA report can be downloaded here, as well as full comment from Teach First NZ and The University of Auckland.

A news item on the report can also be accessed here.