The Department for Education’s (DfE) Early Career Framework entitles teachers in the first two years of their career to thorough support and mentoring during their induction, but there’s much more to the ECF than that.
What is the Early Career Framework?
The Early Career Framework sets out what all new teachers need to know and be able to do as they begin their careers. It is one of the most significant reforms to the teaching profession in a generation, aimed at providing extended, evidence-based development that will produce better-trained teachers who are more likely to stay in the profession. At Ambition Institute, we are experienced in delivering the Early Career Framework to around 30,000 new teachers and their mentors on our Early Career Teachers programme.
This six-point article will give you the essential information on the framework. If you have the time, you can also enjoy a deeper dive with our webinar which answers all the frequently asked questions about the framework, and finishes with 20 minutes of Q&A:
Six things for ECTs and mentors to celebrate about the Early Career Framework
1 . Two years of quality training
Teaching is as complex as many jobs that have a much longer training period. The framework provides two years of support to newly qualified teachers in recognition of this complexity. By providing early career teachers with an extra 5% non-teaching time in their second year, schools can ensure that time is protected for ECTs to continue receiving the training and support they deserve.
2 . Funded support for mentors
Mentoring an early career teacher is crucial to their development, which is why the framework prioritises protecting the space and time mentors need to reflect on their own practise.
Schools receive funding for mentors’ time in the second year of the programme. Mentors receive high-quality training to support them in their role in the form of three sessions (two in the first year and one in the second) with experienced coaches.
"The quality of early support can make or break a teaching career"
3 . Clear direction for training
Teachers at this stage of their development face a huge challenge of learning a lot in a relatively short space of time. To make the most of the hours set by the Department for Education, the Early Career Framework prescribes a balance of face-to-face training, online training, self-study and 1:1 mentoring and coaching to bring consistency to training between schools. This will reduce the risk of teachers in different places receiving uneven training.
4 . Keeping more teachers in the profession
Around 40% of teachers leave education within the first five years of their career, but evidence from the Education Policy Institute and Ambition Institute shows that high-quality professional development helps to improve retention – especially amongst teachers early in their careers.
When teachers develop their practice and gain demonstrable expertise, job satisfaction and overall wellbeing can improve. The same report from the Education Policy Institute showed that high-quality professional development can have a significant effect on pupils’ learning. The framework is therefore a vital plank in the government’s plans to slow exit rates from the profession.
Early evaluation data of the Early Career Framework suggests that it is supporting early career teachers to feel empowered to remain in the classroom. In fact, four in five early career teachers surveyed by the Department for Education in 2022 said that they were likely to be in teaching in five years’ time.
"The Early Career Framework plays a powerful role in setting a standard for the profession"- ARK
5 . National training underpinned by evidence
The Early Career Framework was developed using robust evidence to provide a national standard for early career teacher training. The national framework aims to ensure a common induction for all teachers and provide a common language and research base for the sector. The Early Career Framework standardises training to ensure it is high-quality and accessible to all early career teachers.
Early career teachers are feeling confident in their practice on the Early Career Framework. 87% of respondents to the Department for Education’s 2022 evaluation survey felt confident in planning and delivering high quality lessons, and 85% felt confident in supporting their pupils to progress.
6 . Picking up the ‘golden thread’ of continuing professional development
The Early Career Framework feeds directly into the career-long CPD programme of national professional qualifications (NPQ). This means that early career teachers will be able to develop their practice throughout their career – within the classroom and at different levels of leadership – via programmes that build on what has gone before.