Skip to Content

Teach First – Supporting Education in the UK

By October 28, 2014

Teach First UK

By: Martyn Caddick, Senior Corporate Partnerships Officer, Teach First

In the UK, the link between low socio-economic background and poor educational attainment is greater than in almost any other developed country.

Educational inequality starts early, before a child even starts school. Figures show a one year gap in ‘school readiness’ between 3-year-olds, and a 15 month gap in vocabulary development in 5-year-olds, between the richest and poorest families.

Teach First seeks to match inspiring classroom leaders with pupils in the areas of greatest need, and nurtures leaders across education, business and society to ensure no child’s education is limited by their background. Our mission is to end inequality in education by building a community of exceptional leaders who create change within classrooms, schools and across society.

From Idea to Reality

Teach First’s CEO, Brett Wigdortz was part of a McKinsey team that was looking into how businesses could help improve secondary education in London. They found that great teachers could raise pupils’ results by at least 40%.

After this came to light, Brett left the corporate world to set up a charity with the goal of improving education in the UK. In July 2002, Teach First officially launched in Canary Wharf with a team of 11 committed employees led by Brett Wigdortz as CEO and Stephen O’Brien CBE & George Iacobescu CBE as co-chairs of the Board of Trustees.

Since launching in 2002 over 5,000 dedicated teachers have worked with more than 1 million young people from low-income communities in the UK, supporting them to build the future they want for themselves.

Teach First UK

Support Community

However, we didn’t achieve this alone. Teach First launched with the support of a community of Founding Supporters and Regional Founding Supporters including Salesforce led by Dr Steve Garnett. Steve, through his personal Philanthropy, supported Teach First’s expansion into Liverpool in 2006.

In 2012 Salesforce hosted Teach First’s 10th Anniversary Founding Supporters Reception – an evening held to celebrate Teach First’s achievements in its first 10 years and to thank those supporters who enabled our launch. supports Teach First across a number of areas including the provision of 190 Salesforce user licenses. This support has allowed Teach First to build its infrastructure and CRM capabilities and put Salesforce at the centre of our organization. We are now using the Salesforce platform for everything from attracting and recruiting our teachers, to training them, managing our school relationships, our fundraising and our operations management.

We have also benefitted from the Salesforce employee volunteer scheme. Over the last few years, 15 Salesforce volunteers have supported our organization, lending over 300 volunteer hours as Leadership Coaches. We offer our teachers the chance to be coached throughout their second year by experienced professionals from outside the school context. Coaches help our teachers to develop their professional goals both inside and outside the classroom, from managing difficult conversations to leadership challenges.


For more information about Teach First UK, please see: