Teach First NZ launches second intake

Press releases - 15 November 2013

Teach First NZ next week welcomes its second intake of twenty participants, and is set to celebrate this milestone with visiting CEO and Founder of Teach First in the UK, Brett Wigdortz OBE.

Media Release: 9.30am Friday 15 November 2013

Teach First NZ launches second intake with visiting Founder and CEO of UK sister programme

Teach First NZ next week welcomes its second intake of twenty participants, and is set to celebrate this milestone with visiting CEO and Founder of Teach First in the UK, Brett Wigdortz OBE.

Teach First NZ is a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with the University of Auckland to attract highly-qualified, well-rounded university graduates and professionals to secondary schools serving lower-decile communities.

For the 2014 intake, Teach First NZ received over 270 applications for its 20 places. The Teach First NZ recruitment process remains highly competitive with fewer than 1 in 10 applicants being selected.

The 2014 intake is particularly diverse – 35% of the cohort are Māori or Pasifika participants, with half the group teaching Mathematics or Science subjects.

Teach First NZ’s inaugural cohort of 16 participants is currently teaching across 9 schools in Auckland and Northland, while in 2014 the combined 36 participants will teach across 17 schools across both regions.

Brett Wigdortz OBE, who won the UK Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year and has been named by the Evening Standard as one of London’s most influential people, is the keynote speaker at Teach First NZ’s “Ako Mātātupu: Welcoming the Class of 2014” event at the University of Auckland on Tuesday 26 November.

In 2013 Teach First in the UK was announced as 3rd in The Times newspaper’s list of the Top 100 graduate employers, having previously held 4th place in 2012 and 7th in 2011. This year the charity placed 1,261 participants in schools, making Teach First the largest graduate recruiter in the UK.

Mr Wigdortz’s visit comes one month after Teach First NZ was shortlisted for the New Zealand Association of Graduate Employers annual awards for ‘Best Innovation in the Graduate Market’, alongside Ernst & Young, and IAG.

Shaun Sutton, Chief Executive of Teach First NZ, said “New Zealand has a high-quality but low-equity education system, in which postcodes and household income correlate far too strongly with young people’s educational outcomes, and therefore life chances. Teach First NZ aims to help close this gap over the short-term through classroom teaching, and over the long-term with a network of alumni leaders”.

Professor Graeme Aitken, Dean of Education at the University of Auckland said “We have been delighted to partner with Teach First NZ in developing this alternative pathway into teaching. Inherent in this programme is the University’s respect for teacher expertise in schools.”

John Heyes, Principal of Mangere College in Auckland, said “We have enjoyed working alongside Teach First NZ and The University of Auckland, welcoming two participants who joined our staff in January. Our experiences this year have demonstrated that this initiative is a viable pathway into the teaching profession and worthy of continued support.”

The Teach First NZ programme is being independently evaluated by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, with the first phase of the evaluation set to be published in January 2014.

For more information visit https://teachfirstnz.org

ENDS

Released by Teach First NZ and the University of Auckland

shaun.sutton@teachfirstnz.org  /  021 260 6542
anna.kellett@auckland.ac.nz  /  027 838 9202

Brett Wigdortz is available for media interviews on request. 
Please also contact us for more details about the “Ako Mātātupu: Welcoming the Class of 2014” event on Tuesday 26 November.


ABOUT TEACH FIRST NZ
Teach First NZ is a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with the University of Auckland to attract highly-qualified, well-rounded university graduates and professionals to secondary schools serving lower-decile communities. Programme participants with specialist undergraduate degrees in high-priority subject areas (English, Te Reo, Mathematics, Science), are selected to enter into an intensive eight-week residential training programme. Participants are then placed in a salaried teaching position in a lower-decile secondary school for two years with on-going support, mentoring and development before graduating as fully-qualified teachers. Long-term, we aim to develop the leadership capability of participants so that they can contribute to reducing educational disparities from systemic levels – our broader goals include building a community of alumni who work together and with others to advance educational opportunity, within schools, in the wider education community, and in other sectors of influence. Examples from longer-running overseas sister programmes include alumni working as school middle/senior leaders, school trustees, in education policy and business. Overall, we also aim to work to improve the status of teaching, and to break down damaging stereotypes of ‘low-decile schools’. Teach First NZ is supported by the Ministry of Education, the Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand, and a range of corporate sponsors including ASB Bank, Chapman Tripp, and Deloitte.

ABOUT BRETT WIGDORTZ, OBE
Brett Wigdortz, OBE has led Teach First as its CEO since its launch in July 2002. Brett wrote the original business plan for the charity while working as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, and then took what was originally planned as a six-month leave of absence in February 2002 to develop and build support for the idea. Previously he has worked as a consultant, a journalist and researcher. He is originally from New Jersey and has an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Richmond and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Hawaii. He currently serves as a trustee of Future Leaders. He is also the co-founder, trustee and strategy adviser to Teach For All. In 2007 Brett was named the UK Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year and was awarded the 2010 CASE European Leadership Award. In 2011 Brett was named by the Evening Standard as one of London’s 1000 most influential people. In 2012 Brett won the Charity Times Charity principal of the Year, and the Institute of Directors London South East Director of the year in the Public/Third Sector. Brett is proud and humbled to have been awarded an OBE in the 2013 Queens New Year’s Honours list for Services to Education. Brett’s new book “Success Against The Odds”, a candid account of the first 10 years of Teach First, was published in September 2012.

ABOUT TEACH FIRST (UK)
Founded in 2002, Teach First is committed to breaking the link between family income and educational attainment in the United Kingdom. It does this by recruiting many of Britain’s top graduates to teach in schools facing challenging circumstances. In 2013 Teach First was announced as 3rd in The Times newspaper’s list of the Top 100 graduate employers, having previously held 4th place in 2012 and 7th in 2011. These rankings are based on survey results carried out by High Fliers Research. Teach First was also named Graduate Employer of Choice in the Public Sector. Since 2002, Teach First has recruited and trained increasing numbers of participants. 1,000 new participants began teaching in September 2012 and 1,261 were placed in 2013; making the charity the largest graduate recruiter in the UK. Teach First currently operates in Wales and nine regions in England, in both primary and secondary schools where more than half of pupils come from the poorest 30% of families in the UK.