Teach First's new partner will have to learn fast

The Mind Lab founder Frances Valintine. Photo: supplied

A new partner for teacher trainee programme Teach First has been revealed, but the announcement has done little to quell concern in the industry.

Newsroom revealed earlier this week that the organisation, which places graduates in low decile schools after eight weeks of training, had parted ways with partner the University of Auckland.

This had Labour and the PPTA concerned that any replacement training partner may not have the same credibility and skillset.

Teach First has revealed that The Mind Lab, a public-private partnership with Unitec that provides digital-centric courses for children and teachers, will provide the new course.

Founded by Frances Valintine, The Mind Lab has grown rapidly since 2013 and has centres across New Zealand.

It has, however, never provided initial teacher education, instead providing courses for teachers who are already qualified.

Both Teach First and Mind Lab are confident they can develop a robust programme, but the PPTA remains concerned at the loss of a tertiary partner.

The new course is yet to be approved by the Education Council and others and faces a tight timetable to be ready for next year's intake of trainees. Outgoing Education Minister Hekia Parata is a big supporter of the programme and will not want to see it fail.