Posted: 20 Aug. 2020 5 min. read

Russell’s Story

In 2016 we set out to make an impact that matters to one million people. We’ve worked alongside charity, school and social enterprise partners, supporting access to education and employment opportunities. Today, we've reached this milestone. If you haven’t yet, be sure to watch the video series in which we hear directly from a few of those who have been impacted.  

Up next, is Russell’s story.

The need to ensure every child receives a fair education is greater than ever. By empowering the CEO of Teach First to be as impactful as possible in his role, we are supporting Teach First and the students and teachers they work with to build a fair education for all.

It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top

In 2017, Russell Hobby took on the role of CEO at Teach First, a charity that is working to tackle inequality in education, committed to ensuring no child’s success is limited by their background. Teach First is the largest graduate recruitment scheme in the country, recruiting and training inspiring teachers and then placing them in schools in lower socio-economic areas, supporting every child’s right to a quality education and putting an end to wasted potential.

Russell was passionate about the mission, bringing several new ideas to the role, including building the organisation’s recruitment strategy and expanding their national presence. But taking on this enormous responsibility came with huge challenges. Simply put, for all newly appointed CEOs it can be lonely at the top. Most will step into a new role with a heavy expectation that they will have all the answers without much support. Russell points out the irony in this; ‘I think we should remember that although senior managers and executives bring a lot to bear on [the role], they’re stepping into the unknown too and they should be given substantial levels of support because they will have a greater impact on others.’

To help him in his journey to success, Deloitte sponsored Russell through the Deloitte Transition Lab. The Transition Lab supports leaders to be as impactful as possible in their roles through a confidential and supportive, yet challenging, environment. Participants are guided through a variety of scenarios, presenting challenging questions, to help them gain clarity in key leadership areas. Carefully selected leaders and subject matter experts facilitate, while also creating a supportive and trusted environment. Deloitte recently conducted its 1000th transition lab – virtually.

Russell also encourages jumping in and learning from mistakes – even when it comes to teaching.

‘I think it is important that we don’t keep people back from the real work. This is very much part of Teach First’s philosophy – you will be doing real work from day one, you will be teaching in a classroom after our summer institute, and you will learn from doing. But you don’t walk off and leave them, they need someone with them around them to share those experiences help counsel and coach them.’

Under Russell’s leadership, Teach First has recruited record numbers of new teachers to its Training Programme, introduced brand new opportunities for teachers stepping into leadership and successfully influenced policymakers to make sure that every child receives a fair education. In addition, Russell has been leading the charity through the uncertainty of COVID-19, which has included fully delivering Summer Institute – Teach First’s initial teacher training programme – online for the very first time. 

COVID-19 has increased the number of families seeking support and widened social inequality. These negative effects on the education sector and impacted children could last a lifetime. To mitigate the impact, Deloitte is not only continuing its work to support Russell, but also supporting teachers through their training and volunteering in schools to conduct career workshops, real world conversations, and broaden students’ understanding of opportunities available to them outside of the classroom.

Since 2006 we have worked together to provide invaluable support to schools and pupils through the One Million Futures programme. Through our partnership, we’re aiming to develop more great teachers into leaders and unlock the potential in all children, not just some .

One Million Futures (and beyond)

We know our professionals make the greatest societal impact when they use their skills and expertise to help people. So that’s what we do. Part of our Global WorldClass commitment to empower 50 million people by 2030, our mission is to help people get to where they want to be through access to education and employment. One Million Futures is proud to have amplified the impact of inspiring organisations who share this mission.

This is our purpose in action: making an impact that matters in society.

Hear more stories here.

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Key contact

Kate Condon

Kate Condon


Kate is a Manager in the Responsible Business team working with our charities, schools and social enterprises as part of One Million Futures. Kate drives communications and marketing initiatives to build the profile of One Million Futures both internally and externally.