Education charity Teach First marked its fifth anniversary in the North East last week with a call for more residents to make a step into the classroom.
It comes as new analysis highlights the educational inequality experienced by poorer pupils in the region.
Just 7.5 per cent of pupils on free school meals in the North East achieve the Government’s new English Baccalaureate – five good GCSEs in specific subjects –compared to 24.9 per cent of their better-off peers.
This gap of 17.4 per cent is one of the biggest in the country and greater than the national average.
In Northumberland, the gap is 16.5 per cent with just 4.3 per cent – the second lowest in the region after Middlesbrough – of pupils on free school meals achieving the Baccalaureate compared to 20.8 of other students.
Teach First recruits, trains and places teachers specifically in schools serving disadvantaged areas.
The charity is highlighting how great teachers can make a real difference to children’s lives and encouraging anyone in the North East looking for their next challenge to apply to its two-year, salaried Leadership Development Programme for September this year.
While traditionally known as a graduate recruiter, last year saw a record number of career-changers joining Teach First – with 26 per cent of its entire cohort coming from previous roles.
Since expanding into the region in 2011/12, Teach First has placed more than 350 teachers in 46 primary and secondary schools across all 12 local authority areas. The programme combines on-the-job training and support with leadership development and a fully-funded academic qualification.