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key facts for governors about the early career framework

Key Facts for Governors About the Early Career Framework and Early Career Teachers

25th June 2021 – Tags: Early Career Framework

The introduction of the Early Career Framework (ECF) is the most significant reform to teaching in a generation and forms part of the government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy. From September 2021 it will be a statutory requirement that all early career teachers (formerly known as newly qualified teachers) in a state funded school in England complete a two-year induction based on the Early Career Framework.

Funding will be provided for a structured 2-year package of high-quality professional development that will supplement your school’s existing programme of staff support and development. The framework is an evidence-based approach and is designed to make sure early career teachers focus on learning the things that make the most difference in the classroom and their professional practice.

As part of the ECF roll-out, we are proud to be partnering with Capita and the University of Birmingham to deliver a first-class induction programme for early career teachers across England.

What is the Early Career Framework?

The Early Career Framework (ECF) builds on initial teaching training and sets out what ECTs should learn about and learn how to do. It's designed to support development in 5 core areas:

  • Behaviour management
  • Pedagogy
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment
  • Professional behaviours

The framework is presented in 8 sections, to align with the Teachers’ Standards, which remain the standards against which ECTs are formally assessed – the ECF is not an assessment tool. Within each section, there are:

  • Key evidence statements (starting with ‘Learn that…’), and
  • Practice statements (starting with ‘Learn how to…’)

The Teacher Standards are:

  • Standard 1 – Set high expectations
  • Standard 2 – Promote good progress
  • Standard 3 – Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Standard 4 – Plan and teach well-structured lessons
  • Standard 5 – Adapt teaching
  • Standard 6 – Make accurate and productive use of assessment
  • Standard 7 – Manage behaviour effectively
  • Standard 8 – Fulfil wider professional responsibility

What are the main changes for my school?

  • The term early career teacher (ECT) will replace newly qualified teacher (NQT)
  • Induction for ECTs will last for 2 years (it's currently 1 year)
  • ECTs will get a 5% timetable reduction in their second year of induction (they'll still get a 10% reduction in the first year, as they do now)
  • Your school will be expected to deliver an induction programme that's underpinned by the Early Career Framework (ECF)
  • There's a new induction-linked role: induction mentors will support ECTs through induction (this is separate from the existing requirement to have an induction tutor)
  • Your school will receive additional funding to help cover the costs of the ECT's Year 2 timetable reduction and time spent with their mentor.

NB. In addition to the ECF, schools will also need to register with an Appropriate Body Service  (as they do currently) for which there will only be 2 formal assessment points - one at the end of each year (current arrangements require 3 formal assessments, usually one per term).

Your school’s responsibility

Under the new statutory guidance, headteachers are expected to make sure that ECTs receive a programme of training that helps them understand and apply the Early Career Framework (ECF)’s evidence and practice statements (there's more on this in the final section below).

ECF-based training should be a central aspect of induction and not an additional training programme. Your school leaders will need to update your school's induction policy to reflect the new requirements.

There are 3 approaches your school leaders can choose from to deliver ECF-based training:

  • Funded, provider-led programme – the DfE has accredited external providers to design and deliver training for ECTs and their mentors. This will be funded by the DfE. Your school can apply for this support via the DfE's online service.
  • DfE-based, school-delivered programme –your school can use freely available DfE-accredited materials for new teachers and mentors to deliver its own ECT and mentor support. Your school must register to access these materials via the DfE's online service.
  • School-designed and delivered programme  your school can design its own induction programme, based on the ECF. However, your school will need to demonstrate fidelity to the Early Career Framework and this provision will need to be verified by your Appropriate Body. Funding for the programme will not be provided by the DFE if this option is taken.

ECTs should have both an induction tutor and an induction mentor

As part of the new induction programme, your headteacher should identify 2 separate staff members to act as the ECT’s tutor and mentor (the roles have distinct functions so should only be held by a single individual in exceptional circumstances). Both induction tutor and mentor should hold qualified teacher status (QTS).

The induction tutor’s responsibilities include assessing the ECT’s progress against the Teachers' Standards through regular progress reviews, undertaking formal assessments, and providing or coordinating guidance for the ECT’s professional development. It’s possible for the headteacher to take on the role of induction tutor themselves.

The mentor (the new role introduced by the guidance) is expected to:

  • regularly meet with the ECT for structured mentoring sessions to provide targeted feedback
  • work with the ECT and colleagues to make sure the ECT receives a high-quality ECF-based induction programme
  • provide, or broker, effective support, including subject- or phase-specific coaching
  • take prompt action if the ECT is having difficulties.

Next steps

Right now, your school leaders will be busy figuring out which option will work best for your school. Sign up for your selected provider is via the DfE portal. Over the coming term governors will be involved in:

  • Asking school leaders questions during your board meetings, to find out more about how the ECF will implemented in your school
  • Reviewing your school's updated induction policy, to make sure it takes into account the changes from 1 September

DfE requires your school to nominate an induction tutor to manage the statutory inductions at your school. Your school must complete these steps before your early career teachers (ECTs) start their statutory induction programme. For example, if your ECTs are starting in September, you need to complete these steps before then.