Hints & tips | Teach First

Hints & tips

We recommend you speak to one of our experienced recruitment team before you submit your application: they’re here to provide support and advice. Taking it on board may make all the difference.

When you submit your application, it will be objectively assessed by two independent panel members before a decision is reached. The graduate recruitment officers you speak to throughout the application process will have no influence on this process, so remember that your application form will be the first impression assessors have of you.

To ensure equal opportunities, nobody at the Assessment Centre will have read your application form. They will be assessing your performance on the quality of the answers you provide on the day only.

Here are some quick tips to help you to succeed at application and Assessment Centre.

Choose your examples carefully

Places on the LDP are limited and the competition is intense so it’s important to make your application memorable and compelling. Try to use recent examples where possible and draw on as wide a range of experiences as you can, from your professional and personal life.

Do your homework

We are looking for you to demonstrate strong enthusiasm and commitment as well as an understanding of our vision and the journey you will go on to become an effective Teach First ambassador. Read our website, search the web and make sure you fully understand what we do and why it’s important.

Double check that you've answered the question

Once you have written your answer, re-read the question to make sure you have fully answered it. The question will outline which competencies we are expecting you to demonstrate so check that you’ve addressed these in your answer.

Try using the STAR structure for your answers

We’re looking for plenty of detail in your answers. To help you cover all the necessary points, try using the following structure:

S – Clearly explain the situation 

T – Detail clearly the task(s) involved

A – Tell us about the actions you took and the skills you developed

R – What was the result of the actions you took or skills used?

Don’t lie or exaggerate the truth

Never lie on your application form. You are likely to be caught out in the interview or later in the assessment process. If you are offered the role you will have to provide references and original certificates of your qualifications.

Check, check and check again

Make sure your form is free of spelling and grammatical errors, which will undermine your application and detract from what you are saying about yourself. It’s a good idea to compose your answers in a word processing package before copying and pasting them into the form. We recommend reading it through at least twice before submitting. Reading what you have written out loud will also help to highlight any mistakes.

Make a good first impression

Although it may seem obvious, it is important to remain professional throughout the Assessment Centre. Wear smart business dress, be polite and look people in the eye when speaking. 

Plan your journey to the Assessment Centre leaving time for travel disruptions – it’s better to be early and relaxed than late and flustered. If you’re claiming travel expenses, remember to bring receipts, since we can’t process your claim without them. 

You’ll receive an email with more information about the day in advance of your Assessment Centre.

Know the competencies

Teach First runs a competency-based assessment process and you will be tested on eight different competencies throughout the day. It is essential to familiarise yourself with them so that you are prepared for all three stages of the Assessment Centre.

Interview technique

Use the interview to demonstrate that you have done your research, understood the Teach First vision and mission and have convincing reasons for joining the programme. Think carefully about the examples you give: use recent ones where possible, drawn from a range of experiences, to demonstrate the competencies. You are also welcome to use some of the examples from your application form if you feel they best represent the competency you are being asked about.

Don't be afraid to ask the interviewer for a moment to think if you need it, or to repeat the question to ensure you have understood what is required.

The case study

This exercise is about understanding how you conduct yourself in a group setting, working together to achieve a task. Listen carefully to the instructions that are given to you at the start of the exercise and read through any material carefully before starting. Although your assessors will be observing throughout, they will not be allowed to give approval or reassurance so try to fully immerse yourself in the exercise.

The sample lesson

A week before your assessment centre you will be emailed detailed information and guidance on the seven-minute sample teaching lesson you’ll teach on the day.

Once you know the ‘title’ of your lesson, give yourself time to prepare: do your research, prepare any materials and practise on friends and family to get an idea of your timings. Think about what would make an excellent lesson from a pupil’s perspective when planning your lesson content.

Remember that your self-evaluation after the lesson is also being assessed and is just as important for your final result.

Explore Teach First