Teach First have defended their recruitment processes after it was revealed that they placed a teacher at a London school who struggled to read and write.
A spokesperson for the teacher trainer confirmed to Tes that Faisal Ahmed, who has dyspraxia, met Teach First's recruitment criteria, which include having a degree, GCSEs in maths and English and passing a professional skills test.
Research: Gap grows between rich and poor pupils
Exclusive: Teach First turns the corner on declining recruitment
Need to know: Teach First’s new strategy
The Sun reported today that Mr Ahmed was placed at St Thomas More Catholic School in Wood Green, North London, even though he had “extreme difficulty with handwriting”, reading problems and issues understanding “written tests”.
His headmaster, Mark Rowland, reportedly summoned him to a meeting at the start of his first term and suspended him.
Mr Ahmed, who suffers from dyspraxia — a coordination condition — told Mr Rowland that he could “hardly write” for “more than a couple of minutes” as it was too painful.
The details of the case emerged after Mr Ahmed sued the school for constructive dismissal and disability discrimination. He lost his tribunal claim and an appeal.
When Tes approached Teach First about the case, the teacher trainer provided a statement that said: “We hold the highest standards for every candidate who joins our teacher training programme. Every trainee who is offered a place must have a degree, expertise in the subject they teach and GCSEs in maths and English. They also will have passed the professional skills tests for prospective teachers in numeracy and literacy – which is standard for all routes into teaching.
“Once offered a place in a school, Teach First continues to provide rigorous training and support for two years to the candidate, alongside a university tutor and school mentor. Our training programme has been rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted.”
“We have always welcomed applications from candidates with disabilities and additional needs – and work with them, the school and university partners to provide any extra training and support needed to ensure their teaching is of the highest quality.”
A spokesperson confirmed to Tes that Mr Ahmed met the criteria outlined in the statement, and said that Teach First "stands by all of those points in the statement" relating to its recruitment process.