The problem

Teachers are not staying in the classroom long enough to make the difference they need to for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Evidence shows that the quality of teaching has the biggest impact on raising the educational attainment, employability and the aspirations of young people growing up in areas of disadvantage.

In England, however, poor educator development results in too few teachers improving to become the expert teachers the children and system needs.

  • 40% of new teachers leave the profession within 5 years of qualifying.
  • More than a quarter of teachers are turning to medication to cope with the stress of their work, citing high workload and unhappiness with the quality of leadership & management as the top reasons
  • Schools spend more than £1 billion every year on teacher development, little of which has created demonstrable progress.

The solution

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds start school already behind their more affluent peers. These pupils take longer to make the necessary gains they need to match the learning levels of their peers, leaving their educational disadvantage to grow.

High-quality teachers and leaders can change this; in an expert teacher’s classroom, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds make 14 months progress for every 9-month school year.

Ambition Institute is a graduate school for teachers, school leaders and system leaders. Their programmes help educators serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds to keep getting better. They support educators at every stage – from new teachers through to leaders of groups of schools.

Ambition Institute’s vision is for an education system where every child can thrive, no matter what their background. Its mission is to help educators serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds to keep getting better.

40% of new teachers leave the profession within 5 years of qualifying

Work in action

To ensure teachers can thrive in the classroom, Ambition Institute has created a training programme that supports teachers in developing the skills and knowledge required to improve their wellbeing.

The curriculum shares an evidence base from psychology, and other fields, and matches this with practical approaches for teachers to embed wellbeing learning into their day-to-day practice. This is supported by Ambition Institute’s codified approach to habit formation, ensuring participants are able to embed the healthy habits they need for positive wellbeing.

Alongside this programme, Ambition Institute recognises the key role school leaders have to play in creating the conditions teachers need to thrive in their work. With this in mind, they are capturing key research to share more widely with the sector. This learning will also be worked into the leadership programmes the organisation runs for school leaders all over the country, ensuring wellbeing becomes a core part of leadership development training.

The Big Changers

Ambition Institute was formed following the merger between the Institute for Teaching and Ambition School Leadership.

Ambition Institute’s unique, graduate school approach combines the mission-focus of a charity, the academic rigour of a traditional university and the essential classroom-connection of a teaching schools. Every programme is designed to deliver impact on pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, ensuring they have the same opportunities to succeed as their classmates.

Ambition Institute prides itself on the outstanding quality of its people and programmes, all of which are informed by the latest research, its experience and the work of great teachers and leaders.

Matt Hood – Chief Education Officer (Former found of Institute for teaching)

Matt leads all programmes at Ambition Institute. He is a former teacher, school leader, government policy advisor and the founder and CEO at the Institute for Teaching. Matt is also a trustee at The Brilliant Club, a school governor and a member of the DfE’s expert advisory group for teacher recruitment and retention.

Melanie Renowden, Interim CEO

Melanie has worked for nearly 25 years in education in the public and voluntary sectors. Before joining Ambition in 2011, she was Education Director at Business in the Community and Head of ‘Science Year’, a DfE STEM programme for schools. She is a former trustee of Teach First and is currently trustee of a primary multi academy trust.


Middle leadership impact

The Teaching Leaders programme gives high-potential middle leaders the skills to drive school-wide improvement. Ambition Institute are proud of the proven impact this has achieved, compared with similar schools.

  • Disadvantaged primary children make significantly better progress in reading with a Teaching Leader*
  • More children get a higher grade at GCSE with a Teaching Leader*
  • Teaching Leaders is the only middle leadership development programme in England that has been independently shown to have impact on pupil outcomes

Headteacher impact

Ambition Institute’s Future Leaders programme prepares senior leaders to become headteachers of schools in challenging contexts. We measure the impact of the programme after alumni have been headteachers for three or more years.

  • Over 25% more disadvantaged primary children reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths with a Future Leader headteacher*
  • Over 20% more secondary children get a standard pass in English and maths GCSEs with a Future Leader*
  • Our programmes have helped almost 400 participants achieve headship

“If you feel like you’re getting better at your job, you’ll feel like you have a purpose. If you feel like you’re in an environment where you can be successful, you’re likely to be happier and to keep getting better, so you’ll stay doing that thing for a longer period of time. This is just basic human nature. But when you combine teachers not feeling like they’re getting better – they’ve plateaued – and you combine incredibly stressful, difficult working environments, what you’ll see is huge numbers of teachers leaving the profession.”

Matt Hood
Chief Education Officer, Ambition Institute