‘A step change for the profession’ – reflections on two years of the Early Career Framework

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Date published 11 September 2023

As the first cohort of early career teachers have completed the new two-year induction, there is a lot to celebrate.

The Early Career Framework was introduced to support teachers at the beginning of their careers, by setting out what they need to know and providing them with a clear entitlement of support. Ambition Institute’s Early Career Teacher’s programme is underpinned by the framework. Despite the inevitable scepticism which an intervention of this scale will always attract, the Early Career Framework is, arguably, a resounding success. Given that the programme mobilised during the pandemic, and rolled out during a recruitment and retention crisis, the leaders and mentors in the system who made it happen deserve our sincere thanks.

Since January, I have been present in over 50 clinics and conferences for early career teachers or mentors. I have seen first-hand the way that leaders facilitate sessions in schools all over the country, online and in person. I have spoken to countless early career teachers and mentors and have heard their views of their induction. I recall one wonderful conference for mentors where the discussion about adapting action steps for early career teachers gave me such confidence that they are getting tailored support and challenge, because their mentors know them so well. I recall a clinic where the level of expertise shown by early career teachers about literacy was so impressive. It is moments like these that make me realise the impact the early career teacher programme is having.

One of the greatest parts of my job is to quality assure. Using a robust, evidence-informed framework, I get the opportunity to observe facilitators up and down the country and give detailed feedback, something which was highlighted as a particular strength in our recent Ofsted inspection. As well as evaluating the quality, which is consistently high, I also get to chat to early career teachers and mentors, hear their experiences, share mine and have a giggle. I’m constantly blown away by the calibre of the teachers and mentors and the ways in which they engage, in such a committed way, to the training, and the evidence-base which underpins the Early Career Framework, and the enthusiasm they show.

"I’m constantly blown away by the calibre of the teachers and mentors and the ways in which they engage, in such a committed way, to the training, and the evidence-base which underpins the Early Career Framework."

And I can see why they’re enthusiastic. I get to see first-hand how carefully constructed curriculum materials support early career teachers to develop expertise of robust pedagogical approaches. I get to see how mentors are trained to contextualise knowledge for their early career teachers’ context. I get to see highly credible facilitators confidently identify the underlying features of a full range of subject specific scenarios. I get to see how this supports early career teachers to gain deep, lasting knowledge that can be transferred between contexts and will prepare them for a life-long career in teaching. I’ve been privileged to sit in on early career teachers having the kind of expert, evidence-informed dialogue that I wasn’t party to until I was at least 16 years into my career as a teacher, then as a school leader.

The introduction of the Early Career Framework means that a generation of teachers are now being inducted into the profession with research and evidence as the basis of their learning. That’s a step change for the profession. Not only will it make for better teaching, it will allow newcomers to the profession to be critical consumers, to be inherently evidence-informed, curious and discerning. In the end, we have more autonomous, better-informed teachers who act with agency, can confidently challenge all the non-evidence based distractions we know exist and can keep getting better. This is perhaps what makes me most hopeful about the long-term impact of the Early Career Teachers programme (and there are many reasons to be hopeful!).

Go further. Learn more about Early Career Teachers on our programme page here.

Carly Waterman
Director of Early Career Teachers

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