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About Ambition Institute

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A great teacher changes the future every day. They can be the critical factor in a child’s success, especially for those who have had a tough start in life. At Ambition Institute, we support teachers and school leaders at every stage of their careers, helping them to keep getting better. We are a charity providing training and professional development based on the most rigorous research and evidence about what really works. Together, we’re shaping the future of education to give every child the best start in life.

What we do

We work with teachers – from those at the start of their career to those with many years’ experience – through to headteachers and CEOs leading multiple schools, as well as early years practitioners.

We train them so that they can make an even bigger difference to children, especially the most disadvantaged, and enjoy a long and fulfilling career.

Our programmes are designed to equip educators to tackle the challenges they face. Our approach is based on sound evidence of what really works, providing practical tools to make an even bigger impact, in the classroom and across the school.

We also work across the education sector and with policymakers to build understanding of the most effective approaches to professional development. We carry out research, collaborate with partners and share what works to amplify evidence and practice that can help everyone in the sector.

Over a third of state-funded schools have teachers and leaders who are developing with us, meaning we work with more educators than any other professional development provider. In the last year, we worked with 46,000 teachers and leaders in England; helping them shape the futures of 3.9 million children. That’s 3.9 million children who are getting better teaching, and a better chance at success, whatever their background.

Why we do it

Great teaching changes lives. The evidence is clear: the quality of teaching makes the biggest difference to what a child achieves. It has three times more impact than any other factor within a school’s control (RAND, 2019).

For children who have had a tough start in life, it’s even more important. Too many children from disadvantaged backgrounds start school behind their classmates. For many children, this gap doubles by the end of primary school, and doubles again by the end of secondary school. This means that they are, on average, three times less likely to end up in employment, education or training (Education Policy Institute, 2017).

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Education Policy Institute 2017

For a pupil, access to one of the best teachers in the system means learning in six months what it takes an average teacher a whole year to teach. With one of the weakest teachers, the same learning will take over two years (Wiliam, 2006).

For all children, a great teacher makes a huge difference to their success in school, and in later life. This is even more true for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, because effective teaching benefits them the most.

The other critical factor is leadership. In schools with effective leaders, children do better and teachers stay longer and are happier in their jobs.

The research shows that professional development is the most cost-effective and sustainable way to help teachers and school leaders develop their skills. It’s an investment for today and for the future: keeping our teachers teaching and nurturing tomorrow’s school leaders (Zuccollo & Fletcher-Wood, 2020).

Our focus at Ambition Institute is providing the highest quality professional development, based on the most rigorous evidence of what really works. Now, more than ever, we need to invest in a better future for our schools and for our children.

How to work with us

There are two ways to access our programmes:

  • You can apply to work with us directly.
  • You can work with our network of exceptional delivery partners.

To find out more about our delivery partners and where they operate, explore our partner directory.

Challenging inequality is at the core of Ambition Institute’s work. We are deeply committed to taking action that will strengthen equality, diversity and inclusion in the education workforce, for the pupils they teach, and in our own organisation. We are therefore pleased to share our first gender pay gap report, for 2023.

To find out more about partnering with us, visit our partner page.

Read more about our work in our annual report.

Access our previous annual reports for 2021/2022 and 2020/2021