“Fifty percent of newly qualified teachers leave within the first five years” is the statistic that opens the BBC 3 documentary Tough Young Teachers.
It’s a problem that the programme never properly investigates. Instead, it focuses on the fortunes of six “top” graduates who have enrolled in the Teach First programme—six weeks’ training and they “give teaching a go”.
They face familiar challenges—large classes, gargantuan workloads, stretched resources and inconsistent support.
But with little preparation under their belts, this group seems to struggle more than most.
Watching Tough Young Teachers reinforces a feeling that Teach First is no replacement for proper teacher training.