Modern slavery statement

Our modern slavery statement.


Teach First’s mission is to build a fair education for all. We seek to develop and support teachers and leaders who are determined to make a difference where it is needed the most. Teach First is committed to continuously improving our practices to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking are not present within our own organisation or our supply chains. We strive to act ethically and with integrity in all our activities.

This statement is made pursuant to section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes Teach First’s modern slavery and human trafficking transparency statement as at February 2021.
This statement explains the steps that have been taken by Teach First to date and how we plan to continue developing and implementing a proactive approach to the prevention of modern slavery.

Organisational Structure

Teach First operates in the education sector, recruiting, training and developing teachers in some of the most disadvantaged schools across England and Wales. Teach First works collaboratively with universities from across England and Wales to deliver initial teacher training and Masters programmes. In addition to these programmes we run a number of professional development opportunities for teachers and school leaders. Contractual governance and operational delivery of all of our programmes is maintained through teams based at our headquarters in London and in regional teams across England and Wales where the programmes operate. All teams report ultimately into the charity’s Executive Committee, headed by the CEO, which has oversight of compliance with all relevant legislation including the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the Act). The CEO and Executive Committee report to the trustees of the charity who bear ultimate legal responsibility for the charity’s activity.

Teach First uses a number of suppliers to support our operations and activities. Our suppliers are predominantly UK based and are therefore required to be compliant with UK legislation. These suppliers mostly provide services relating to marketing, recruitment, venues and events, IT delivery and support, offices, agency workers, consultants, training, travel and professional services. We also procure a limited amount of goods in the form of office supplies, furniture, IT hardware and other materials used in our day to day operations.

The coronavirus pandemic in 2020/21 has presented an increased health and safety risk for all employees and those of the suppliers we work with.  In response to this, we have temporarily changed the way we deliver our core operations meaning that much of the work we do with teachers and school leaders has moved online.  This has had a direct impact on the types of suppliers we work with; during 2020 there has been a significant increase in our reliance on IT and new technology tools and we have seen a substantial reduction in our use of  travel, venues and events and hospitality suppliers. Wherever possible our employees are currently working from home. To ensure that colleagues are able to work from home safely, we have purchased additional office equipment from suppliers with whom we already had an established contractual relationship in place.

Our Supply Chains

Due to the nature of our business, we are predominantly a consumer of services, and not products or raw materials. Compared with other industry sectors the risks associated with modern slavery in  our supply chain are low. Nonetheless, the charity is committed to proactively monitoring and managing any risks to ensure that our supply chains remain free of slavery and we have implemented a number of measures to help achieve this, including:

  • Our standard form contracts (which we use where possible with our key suppliers) include an anti-slavery clause; this requires our suppliers to ensure that they are complying with the Act and associated legislation.
  • Contracts also include a right to audit suppliers annually on their compliance with the Act.
  • Awareness raising with senior employees who procure goods.
  • The procurement team continues to drive the use of best practice in procurement and supply chain management.
  • The Procurement Manager has completed the CIPS Ethical Procurement and Supply Chain Training and acts as the modern slavery ‘champion’ across the charity.
  • Utilising an external Internal Audit provider to evaluate and make recommendations to improve the overall effectiveness of risk management, control and processes across the charity.

Teach First is an accredited Living Wage provider.  As part of this pledge we have committed to paying the current living wage to all directly employed staff, including employees, campus representatives, agency/temporary workers, and casual workers. We have also committed to paying the living wage to all regular third party contracted staff which includes staff employed via our key sub-contracts (such as University tutors). The living wage requirement is now included in our mandatory requirements for all large scale procurements.

When recruiting temporary workers, we utilise the services of one main recruitment supplier in London and a small number of other ad hoc suppliers both in London and regionally, all of whom are reputable agencies and with whom we have agreed Terms and Conditions for each appointment. These suppliers and terms are reviewed annually. To minimise any risk, we have taken the following steps to ensure that such recruitment complies with the Act:

  • We are a Real Living Wage employer and have reviewed the pay structure for all temporary agency staff to ensure conformity with the national Real Living Wage.
  • Our agreements ensure that suppliers provide the necessary ‘right to work’ checks for all temporary staff.
  • Our agreements ensure that we are fully compliant with agency worker regulations including that, after 12 weeks in an assignment, charge rates are automatically raised in line with the regulations.

Policies and Processes

Teach First is committed to continued policy development to ensure that we keep up to date with all changes in legislation, including full compliance with the Modern Slavery Act.

It is a condition of our tendering and contracting process that all key sub-contractors can demonstrate full adherence to key employment legislation. This aims to ensure that the welfare and well-being of all employees working or participating on our programmes are fully protected.

As part of our high value/risk tender processes, all major sub-contractors are required to warrant to the charity that they are fully compliant with all employment, equality and environmental legislation and that, where applicable, they are compliant with the annual reporting requirements contained within section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act.

We have a wide policy framework that supports the aims of the Modern Slavery Act:

  • Child Safeguarding training
  • All Teach First staff are required to complete annual mandatory training
  • Anti-Bribery and Fraud Policy
  • Whistleblowing Policy
  • Grievance Policy
  • Recruitment & Selection Policy
  • Pay Policy
  • Procurement and Contracting Policy
  • Discrimination, harassment and bullying policy

Due Diligence and Risk Management

As part of the procurement and contracting process with all key sub-contractors and suppliers, Teach First carries out detailed financial and legal due diligence checks for all large supply arrangements.

The charity also carries out risk assessments for programmes and projects that are managed by the charity; this includes risk management measures such as contract risk registers and cross-functional team steering groups to ensure contract and risk oversight of all the programmes. These are constantly reviewed by senior management to ensure their continued effectiveness in managing any risk. Due to the nature of the sector that Teach First operates in, and the close regulation and supervision it receives from UK Governmental departments, the likelihood of compliance risks occurring is very low. Our key subcontractors are predominantly UK universities with whom we have established, long term working relationships. Prior to contract award we have completed robust due diligence checks on all institutions and signed rigorous contracts that include sub-contractor obligations under the Act.

The procurement team completes an annual risk mapping exercise of current supply chains across all departments and where applicable they check all our main suppliers to ensure that they have a robust Modern Slavery statement in place . We have identified that activities employing staff on a temporary/casual basis could present an increased risk. These activities are carried out by a small number of suppliers for events, catering, hospitality and the production of branded goods and stationery; we believe the risk to be low. Due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 our use of suppliers in these sectors has been significantly lower than in previous years.

The procurement function continues to assess and review the areas of the organisation where the Act could be contravened on an ongoing basis and will further monitor suppliers deemed at risk whilst they remain part of our supply base. In instances where the terms and conditions in place with our suppliers do not cover compliance with the Act, we aim to write to suppliers to confirm our requirement of compliance with the Act in any future activities with Teach First.

Teach First will not accept donations from organisations or individuals whose principal business is considered to conflict with the charity’s aims and policies, including modern slavery and human trafficking.  We apply a consistent and rigorous approach to our due diligence screening for suitability when working with new corporate partners and donors.

Culture and Training

Teach First is funded from a range of public and private sources and, as a charity, is committed to ensuring that the maximum value and benefit is achieved from the funding that we receive. Value for money is seen as a key performance indicator and it is essential for the prosperity and reputation of the charity that we are able to evidence that our funding is being used in the most effective way.

The ethical and moral culture that Teach First promotes is part of every employee’s training from their initial induction until they leave the organisation. Our organisation’s principles of speaking up, remaining focused and succeeding together also reflect this.  All employees are required to complete mandatory child safeguarding and equality, diversity and inclusion training annually. All staff are also offered the opportunity to take a further module dealing with employment legislation (in addition to the mandatory training that members of the HR department undertake). As a charity working to achieve equality in the education system we require that every prospective candidate can demonstrate their belief in our values as part of our recruitment process. This culture ensures that employees feel confident in flagging any failings that they may encounter while working for the organisation, including the Modern Slavery Act.  Our Whistleblowing Policy further encourages staff to report concerns in the workplace.

Incidents in 2020

To date, there have been no reported incidents of modern slavery by Teach First or suppliers to Teach First in 2020.

Planned activities

Over the next 12 months we will continue to build on the work already done to further develop our anti-modern slavery policies and procedures. Planned activities include:

  • Revising and updating the procurement and contracting policy to provide robust guidance on the ethical and responsible practices already in place and to further develop our activities and processes within these areas.
  • Creation of a standalone responsible procurement policy and related principles; we will raise awareness across the organisation by launching this via internal communication channels and externally via our website.
  • Providing specific Modern Slavery Act training to key individuals and teams across the organisation who are responsible for managing contractual relationships.
  • Finalising and launch of a Supplier Code of Conduct for use in our tendering and contracting processes.


This statement was approved by the Chair of the Board of Trustees on 25 February 2021 and is signed by Russell Hobby, Chief Executive Officer, Teach First.



Signature of Teach First CEO Russell Hobby
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