Graduate Academy

The Smile Graduate Academy is designed to tackle the current teacher shortage that schools and academies across the UK face by providing schools with the opportunity to grow their own teachers by taking on a graduate teaching assistant. The scheme has already been trialled by many of our partner schools with great success.

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How does the Smile Graduate Academy work?

We recruit the best graduates from universities across the UK, including University of Birmingham, with a real interest in a longstanding career as a teacher. They are available to work for you for the academic year in the roles you require, many schools use them as teaching assistants, academic mentors, learning support mentors, science technicians, sports coaches, dance & drama coaches and 1:1 intervention support. They also work perfectly improving attainment in core subjects something which has become essential as a result of the pandemic. 

These roles give the graduate an opportunity to be an integral part of your team and get a real insight into the skills it takes to become a teacher as well as a true understanding of the ethos and values of your school or academy. 

For your school, this will provide an on the job interview which gives you the perfect opportunity to assess whether the graduate is the right fit for your team, if the answer is yes they transfer to you free of charge to begin their formal teacher training.

The Smile Graduate Academy provides schools and academy trusts with graduates who can offer classroom support

What does Smile Education commit to doing?

We will support you and our graduates by:

  • Fully vetting all graduates in line with APSCo Compliance+ guidelines
  • Providing compulsory initial training in areas such as Safeguarding, Prevent, Behaviour Management and SEN
  • Offering an online resource portal which is designed to supplement the graduates learning on the job
  • Offering training like our cover supervisor training to ensure that graduates are ready for life in the classroom and confident managing students behaviour
  • Offer excellent daily rates for graduate staff and the opportunity to waiver permanent placement fees on completion of our academy
  • Following a year at our academy and working in your school we will charge no fees if you decide to take the graduate on to a contract or training scheme
  • Work closely with a number of universities including Worcester, Newman, UCB and BCU to ensure that Smile Academy is promoted to the very best new graduate talent


The Smile Graduate Academy can be a real benefit to schools and academies looking for extra support in the classroom.

Why should your school be a part of the Smile Graduate Academy?

Graduate teaching assistants/learning support mentors are there to work alongside class teachers and add value by:

  • Working directly with pupils via 1:1 support or even in small groups to improve attainment and engagement
  • Equipping pupils with the tools to develop independent learning skills and accelerate progress
  • Offering extra-curricular activities such as football or other sporting activities 
  • Protecting your budgets by being a cost effective option for PPA cover
  • Assisting the class teacher with classroom and lesson preparation
  • Being available for any last minute cover needs
  • Continuing from their support role onto a PGCE/School Direct/SCITT programme. 

In addition you will enjoy all the other benefits of working with Smile and feel confident in the knowledge all our graduates have benefitted from our training, which includes Safeguarding, Prevent, Behaviour Management and SEN, and have passed all of our APSCo Compliance+ checks.

What do we expect from you?

As a Smile Graduate Academy school, we ask that you do the following:

  • Work in partnership with Smile Education to create meaningful training plans for each of our graduate teaching assistants
  • Provide regular feedback to both Smile Education and your graduate to ensure they are the best that they can be
  • Provide a friendly and supportive environment where they can both learn and add value to your school
  • Offer a minimum initial contract of 4 weeks to each graduate teaching assistant

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