Thousands flock to Leeds for major teacher training event

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THE BIGGEST teacher training event in the country takes place in Leeds over the next fortnight culminating in a conference focused on tackling inequality in education.

Leeds and Leeds Beckett Universities will host 3,000 delegates for the charity Teach First’s Summer Institute.

Teach First aims to get top graduates working in schools serving low income communities.

The fortnight marks the final stage of the Teach First 2016 cohort’s initial six-week, intensive residential training programme. Since 2009 the charity has recruited more than 800 teachers to work in Yorkshire. In September Teach First will place more than 140 teachers in 66 schools in Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Grimsby, Sheffield, Rotherham, Wakefield and Doncaster. The charity’s Summer Institute culminates with Teach First’s two-day annual Impact Conference on July 25 and 26 at the First Direct Arena.

Leeds Beckett and Leeds University have worked in partnership to host the event for the past three years. It is said to have contributed £8m to the city’s economy.

Reuben Moore, director of leadership, at Teach First said: “We’re excited to be back in Leeds for the third year running for the culmination of our Summer Institute, which marks the start of our participants’ two year leadership journey with Teach First. Sadly it’s still too often the case that if you grow up in a low-income community you are less likely to do well at school, find a decent job and lead a happy, healthy life. For the thirteenth year we’ll be working in partnerships with schools across England and Wales to inspire the next generation.” Speakers at the event include Alan Milburn, the chairman of the Social Mobility Commission and Lucy Powell MP, the former shadow education secretary.

Prof Peter Slee, vice chancellor of Leeds Beckett University said: “I am delighted to welcome everyone to Leeds and the Teach First Summer Institute. The calling each trainee has chosen has never been more important. In the modern “knowledge economy” education is the key to national prosperity, and individual fulfilment. Education builds confidence, tolerance and offer young people more control over their personal and life choices. The trainees are embarking on a career which is genuinely transformational. I wish them all the greatest of success.”

Sir Alan Langlands, vice chancellor of Leeds University said: “At the University of Leeds we are committed to tackling educational inequality and disadvantage, sharing Teach First’s primary vision. We encourage our students to be the very best they can be, whether in education or gaining wider experience through study abroad, work placements or volunteering. The annual Teach First conference is eagerly anticipated each summer and is a vibrant addition to the city’s conference calendar.”

Teach First trainees commit to a minimum of two years at their partner school, where they teach a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) timetable; and around half stay on for a third year. The charity said that 56 per cent of all the teachers it has trained since 2003 are currently teaching - with a further 12 per cent working directly in education.