A study of mentoring in the Teach First programme

Cameron, D. (2014) A study of mentoring in the Teach First programme. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


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Policy trends in initial teacher training (ITT) in England have increasingly located training in schools, where trainee teachers are supported by practicing teachers designated as ‘mentors’. The nature of the mentoring that trainee teachers experience has been shown to be of critical importance, both to outcomes in the initial training period and also in terms of teachers’ professional identity construction and retention within the profession. School-based mentoring has been typically characterised, however, as of variable or inconsistent quality.

Teach First is a teacher training programme with a number of features which set it apart from other routes into teaching. Teach First grows from and sits within the contemporary policy landscape of teacher training; the programme has a distinctive identity and is the focus of significant interest in the education sector in England and beyond. Teach First is an employment-based training programme and Teach First trainees are mentored by teachers as they work and train in schools; trainees also receive periodic support from tutors based in higher education training providers.

This study takes Teach First as a case study and adopts a mixed-methods approach, including both quantitative and qualitative analysis where appropriate. Empirical data is drawn from a multi-layered programme of surveys, focus group discussions and interviews. The study explores how those involved in Teach First mentoring conceptualize the process and how they perceive their role in supporting it. In addition, the study considers the extent to which Teach First mentoring can be considered distinctive.

The thesis presents a framework for understanding the mentoring process which is based on an extension of relevant theories of learning and models of mentoring. Empirical findings from the data lead to two propositions: firstly, that the mentoring process in initial teacher training is based on a triadic relationship, in which the relationship between supporters of mentoring is particularly important to its efficacy; secondly, that there is no programme-wide model for Teach First mentoring and, as a consequence, the distinctiveness of the Teach First programme is attenuated by the school-based mentoring process. This latter point has implications for both the nascent identity construction of Teach First teachers and also for how Teach First is perceived in relation to more mainstream teacher training programmes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Education
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2014 15:42
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2016 21:40
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12799

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00