For the first time since I joined the team in late 2014, we’re recruiting.  Interested?  Read on…

My fabulous colleague is moving on to a prestigious research organisation on promotion.  That leaves space for one.  We’re called ‘Knowledge Development’, but don’t worry about the name.  We’re an independent, flexible group of three researchers within Teach First’s Research, Evaluation and Impact department.  Our main aim is to increase our teachers’ impact, by learning more about great teaching and conducting research to guide refinements and improvements to Teach First’s work.

What do we do?

A large part of our work is visiting classrooms, filming effective teaching and creating videos and blogs to share it through the Spotlight programme.  Another facet is discrete research projects, such as an investigation into the success of Teach First participants in exceptionally challenging schools (Outliers).  A third aspect is maintaining an excellent understanding of research on education, and sharing this with colleagues across Teach First.

If you’re excited about learning more about how Teach First and its teachers can do more to improve young peoples’ lives, this is the role for you.  If you’re still searching for answers about fundamental questions in education, and what time and scope to learn more, this is the role for you.  If you want what you learn to influence the training of thousands of teachers, and potentially tens of thousands of students, this role is for you.

What would I do?

There are three of us, so you’ll play a key role in everything: visiting classrooms, filming, creating blogs and videos for teacher training; designing and project managing detailed research studies; engaging with colleagues in other teams to share our findings and learn more about their needs.  And you’ll have a critical part to play in deciding how we go about this.

Don’t expect ‘ordinary’ days or weeks: some days you might be on a school visit anywhere in England or Wales; others, you might be knee deep in a knotty research problems; others you might be working to support and learn from colleagues whose focus is teacher training, recruitment or university access.

Specifically, you can expect to spend time:

  • Running research projects: designing them from beginning to end, creating surveys or interview schedules, doing the research, working out what it all means then writing it up.
  • Extracting best practice from classrooms and conveying it clearly to others: filming and then picking out the critical moment in a lesson – and writing up what makes that moment so impressive.
  • Keeping up with new research: reading the latest publications – and the classics – and passing on the best bits to your colleagues.
  • Discussing and challenging your findings and those of others.
  • Collaborating with colleagues across Teach First and beyond, learning more about their work and sharing your own.
Image: Trading Academy




Who do I have to be?

There are three absolute musts: a great understanding of teaching and learning, excellent communication, and a willingness to challenge preconceptions – yours and everyone else’s.

There are many other attributes and skills which would build your case for the job: perhaps experience in professional development, facility in qualitative research methods and excellent relationship-building.  I wouldn’t object to someone who can edit video, design research projects, and do whizzy things on Excel, nor someone with a strong research track record.

But few career paths lead directly to this job, so as long as you can do the top three – understand learning, communicate, challenge preconceptions – any combination of the rest, any combination in any breadth and depth, could set you up well.  If there are things you’ve never done, we’ll train you.  If you’re not sure, get in touch.

What’s in it for me?

It’s an ideal role in an idealistic organisation, why say more?  A recent study of healthcare workers in Malawi showed that, if you’re recruiting for a ‘pro-social’ role like this one, you’ll get plenty of idealistic (and strong) applicants.  Emphasising the career development opportunities will attract even more strong recruits.  (Embracing the evidence, even when it challenges what we might like to be true, is kind of how we roll).

Teach First is a great place to develop.  The people are brilliant, and they will inspire, support and challenge you.  You’ll spend time working independently on challenging projects and questions, but we’ll do everything possible to support you and nurture your skills in education, research and leadership.  We aim to help you produce excellent work, be effective in this role and successful in future.

Personally, you’ll be well looked after: paid well, able to work with some flexibility (with the option to work four days a week, if you’d prefer).  We do our team meetings in coffee shops, our reading days in libraries – what’s not to like?

The job description is slightly unclear, but you can work from any Teach First office across England and Wales (there are nine).

Apply here by Wednesday, 3rd February.

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