Education & Employability

Teach For All Partnership: Supporting young educators to empower the next generation

Teach For All and The Queen's Commonwealth Trust

Since 2018, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust has been proud to partner with Teach For All, a global network of 50 independent, locally led and governed partner organizations who recruit and develop promising future leaders to teach in their nations’ most under-resourced schools and communities.

Through their work, these teachers have developed a deep understanding of the causes and effects of inequality, particularly in relation to the children and families that they work with day-to-day. As such, many alumni of Teach For All network partners have been moved to develop innovative solutions to help overcome these issues, and are now working to better outcomes for many students and communities worldwide.

Currently focused on the UK, Bangladesh and Malaysia, this partnership between QCT and Teach For All provides these leaders with the additional funding needed to help bring their ideas to reality or boost existing projects and help them scale. QCT is delighted to be working alongside Teach For All, supporting these inspiring young leaders who are working hard to educate and empower the next generation.

Partnership in action: Get Further

Sarah leads Get Further, a not-for-profit that aims to transform English and maths education by building knowledge, skills and confidence among students from low-income backgrounds so that they can access a wider range of opportunities in education and work.
Sarah Get Further copy

Sarah Waite, founder of Get Further.

Tell us about your project...

Without good English and maths skills, young people risk being held back for the rest of their lives. I began my career teaching maths in Leeds, seeing first-hand the difference that gaining gateway qualifications has on the opportunities available to young people. I started to develop the idea for Get Further while working as a political advisor to the Shadow Education Secretary and as Head of Policy at the Social Mobility Commission. It was here that I saw a space for an organisation that would provide first-rate, personalised catch-up tuition to students facing challenges in further education and so Get Further was born.

How did you get started?

In March 2018, Get Further won the Teach First Innovation Award – a nationwide competition to find the next big ideas to tackle education inequality. We had a fast-paced summer, refining the programme design through focus groups with students and potential tutors. We also built the Get Further curriculum, recruited tutors and enrolled a college for our pilot. Six months after winning the Innovation Award, the first maths tuition pilot programme launched at a college in London.

What advice would you give to those starting their own projects?

1. Be ambitious but realistic. Be ambitious in your long-term plans, but realistic about what you can deliver in the short-term.

2. Play to your strengths. You will bring passion and a set of skills and experiences developed throughout your career to date, but you won’t be an expert at everything. Be open to finding others who can fill in skills gaps for you – don’t be afraid to ask for help.

What’s next for your project?

We are excited to continue to build our curriculum and resources to help us maximise the impact of the Get Further programme. The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust Award has meant that we can now double our reach next year, delivering our programme to students on both English and maths courses – providing that much needed catch-up support to a wide-range of students facing challenges in further education.

Partnership in action: Closing The Gap Malaysia

Ida Thien and Connie Foong are two of the four founders who set up Closing The Gap Malaysia, a social initiative that helps bright students from under-represented backgrounds access equal opportunities in higher education.
Teach For All Block 3 - Close The Gap image

Ida Thien and Connie Foong are two of the four co-founders for Closing The Gap Malaysia.

Tell us about your project...

Closing The Gap Malaysia is a social initiative that helps bright students from under-represented backgrounds aspire for and access quality universities. Through our programme, we support students on their journey beyond secondary education , offering personalised mentoring and guidance to help them reach their fullest potential. We launched in January 2017 with a pilot cohort of just 29 students, and now work with 105 students across 17 schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Collectively, our students have unlocked over RM1 million worth of financial aid and pre-university scholarships.

How did you get started?

Our journey began in 2016 when we met S, a Form 6 student from a small industrial town of Selangor. Despite completing his STPM examinations (A- levels equivalent) with flying colours, he faced many challenges due to his circumstances that made quality university access a distant goal. We decided to work with this bright individual over a span of a few months and today, we are incredibly proud that S is well on his way to graduating with a Bachelor’s degree. Our experience and lessons supporting S led us to start Closing The Gap.

What’s next for your project?

Receiving the QCT Award has really given the team the affirmation and acknowledgement about CTG’s work. As a small initiative with the hope of advocating for fair higher education for all students in Malaysia, we are always seeking for partnerships, particularly financial and networking support, that will help us get closer to our vision.

The QCT Award has enabled us to explore new innovations within our programme. Namely, piloting a university-style tutorial component to our Residential Camp to help raise the aspirations of our students even more significantly than before. We hope to continue building off this work, with the eventual vision of supporting more bright, underrepresented students through our programme.

What advice would you give to those starting their own projects?

1. Build Strong Relationships. When first starting out on a project, it can be daunting to think about all the resources, expertise and funding you need to make it a success. By building positive and enduring relationships with your community, partners and supporters, you will be able to mobilise their expertise and resources to plug the gaps within your projects.

2. Measure and track progress. Set clear measures for your project and make sure that you track those measures. This will not only be important in terms of your impact reporting to funders, but also to ensure that your team is held accountable to the goals you originally set out to achieve.

3. Perfect doesn’t exist. In Closing The Gap, our programme has gone through at least 3 iterations since we first started. As you start out your programme, you may worry about whether you have gotten everything ‘right’. You won’t. That said, it is far more important that you continue to assess your project critically and be open to feedback. These will prove valuable as you continue to improve your programme every step of the way.

Partnership in action: Maths For Parents

Tom Harbour is the founder and CEO of Maths with Parents, working with primary schools who serve disadvantaged catchment areas, to provide tailored maths support to parents and children in every class. In 2017, he won the Teach First Innovation Award for his work supporting disadvantaged parents.
Tom Harbour Maths With Parents copy

Tom Harbour, founder of Maths For Parents.

Tell us about your project...

I trained to teach through Teach First before completing my Masters in Education (MEd) at Warwick University, focusing on parental engagement in low-income households. During my MEd I found that effective parental engagement can have a bigger impact on a child’s outcomes than the quality of their school. However, there is a clear gap between the huge energy and resource invested into helping schools to develop, and the small amount invested in engaging parents. Maths with Parents wants to fill that void.

Parents want to support their children, but often lack the knowledge or confidence to support with maths at home effectively. Maths with Parents provides a tailored package of fun activities that both parents and children can work on together at home. Every fortnight, parents receive updates about what their child is currently learning, a short video in which kids explain how the maths is taught, and activities such as games, stories, dances or puzzles which help support their maths education.

In the last academic year alone, the 7,000 families that we work with have left more than 90,000 comments about games that they have played – showing us that they have played - and enjoyed - them! This equates to over 10,000 hours (or 2,000 school days) of extra maths games that have been played since 1st September.

What’s next for your project?

Next year we hope to support at least 500 disadvantaged families with children in year 3 (aged 7-8) across our schools. Support from QCT is helping us to develop a quality program of support for parents of these year 3 children and we expect them to spend a total of over 5,000 hours enjoying the new maths activities together.

This funding from QCT will go on to have a lasting impact beyond these in 500 families. Having learnt lessons from the initial trial, we then plan to roll the new content out across all our schools. Assuming two year 3 classes per school (a conservative estimate) and our current rate of growth, 12,000 families could be supported by this content in 2020.

What advice would you give to those starting their own projects?

1. Identify the problem. Be clear about what problem you are looking to solve. That will help set your direction and business objectives helping you to maximise your impact.

2. Be multi-fuctional. Try to find a way of supporting your target group whilst also generating revenue – this will make your organisation much more sustainable.

3. Ask for advice. Get help from lots of different people. We now have a fantastic team of volunteers and advisers because we weren’t afraid to ask for help and open to feedback from the very beginning.

4. Scale, but not too quickly. It is important that your organisation should be scalable, but in the early days it’s actually more helpful to stay small and focused, in order to gather useful information for your future. For example you could provide a few of your beneficiaries with a particularly high level of service, even if it is unrealistic to provide this for all your beneficiaries long term, as then you learn which elements of your extra support they most valued and try to find way of scaling these elements.

Teach For All

For general enquiries, questions or to learn more about this project, please get in touch.






Join the family

Sign up and stay up to date with the latest news, projects, events and more from the #TeamQCT community.

An error occurred.