The Herald is today [Sat 28 October] running two exclusive stories about Teach First, the fast-track teaching organisation expected to bid for a Scottish Government tender to deliver a ‘new route into teaching’.

The first of these articles – on the front page – concerns a highly critical report by Glasgow University which was produced “at the invitation of the General Teaching Council of Scotland and the Scottish Government”. You can read the story here.

The second article reveals that the Scottish universities currently involved in ITE (Initial Teacher Education or teacher training) have unanimously agreed not to work with Teach First. This comes despite repeated attempts by Teach First to establish a relationship with these institutions. You can read the story here.


The document in question was written by Dr Stephen Parker and Prof Trevor Gale, both of the University of Glasgow, in April 2016 (which is prior to Teach First’s meetings with both Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney).

I am making a full, unredacted copy of the report available here: Glasgow University report – Teach First.

A summary of the key introductory points is provided here:

Image 1Image 2Image 3



Teach First has been attempted to establish a link with a Scottish university for some time. A previous investigation – which led to stories about a detailed Teach First proposal for Scotland and secret lobbying on behalf of the organisation by Prince Charles – revealed that the organisation asked Scottish Government officials to contact Morag Redford (chair of the Scottish Council of Deans of Education) on their behalf.

Email 1 – sent from James Westhead (Teach First) to Stuart Robb (Scottish Government) on 17 March, 2017:

Image 5 TF to SG

Email 2 – sent from James Westhead to Stuart Robb on 4 April, 2017:

Image 6 TF to SG

In recent weeks, Teach First stepped up its attempts to secure a partnership with a Scottish university. I submitted FOI requests to all eight universities involved in teacher education, allowing me to confirm the following:

  • Education departments at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Stirling and UHI have had no contact with Teach First other than that regarding the recruitment of students into the programme
  • Dundee, Glasgow and UWS were contacted by Teach First but declined their requests for meetings (in the case of Glasgow, Teach First wrote directly to the author of the report covered above)
  • Strathclyde was contacted by CBI Scotland, who unsuccessfully attempted to arrange a meeting including Teach First

Email exchange – Teach First & University of Dundee

Email exchange – Teach First & University of Glasgow

Email exchange – Teach First & University of the West of Scotland

Email exchange – CBI (on behalf of Teach First) and University of Strathclyde