A new fly-on-the-wall TV series is following six young trainee teachers as they embark on their school careers.
Tough Young Teachers, which launched on BBC Three last week, filmed the teachers working in three London schools over the course of a year. It is the first time the working lives of trainee teachers have been filmed.
The teachers are all on the Teach First programme. After six weeks of intensive training the fast-track scheme sends high-achieving young graduates to teach in schools in disadvantaged areas across England and Wales for a minimum of two years.
Teach First is confident that the six-part series will highlight the way teachers support youngsters to achieve their ambitions, often in very challenging circumstances.
The six graduates – three men and three women – come from a variety of different backgrounds.
Oliver Beach, 25, who has a degree in international business management from Birmingham University and teaches business studies at Crown Woods College in Eltham, didn’t enjoy school at all but hopes that his “balance of eccentricity and professionalism” will make him a successful teacher.
Psychology graduate Claudenia Williams admits to feeling nervous about teaching a different subject – science – at Crown Woods but relishes the challenge ahead of her. She is desperate to “get it right,” she says, because “it’s not like losing a bit of money or a job or losing a contract or letting someone go. It’s about someone’s life at the end of the day so it’s not something that I can get wrong.”
Meanwhile, Charles Wallendahl, 23, who was educated at independent school Charterhouse and Oxford University, jumps at the opportunity to give something back to society and is assigned to teach religious education at the Archbishop Lanfranc School in Croydon.
“I’m definitely out of my depth,” he says at the outset. “I’m definitely going to struggle and that’s why I am doing it – for the challenge.”
The other three Teach First trainees are Chloe Shaw, a geography teacher at The Archbishop Lanfranc School, Nicholas Church, who teaches maths at The Harefield Academy, and Meryl Noronha, who teaches English at Harefield. CAPTION: Spotlight: The stars of Tough Young Teachers are (from left) Charles Wallendahl, Chloe Shaw, Claudenia Williams, Nicholas Church, Meryl Noronha, and Oliver Beach