Six ways NQTs and mentors will get quality support from the Early Career Framework

March 1, 2021
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Ambition Institute

The Department for Education’s (DfE) Early Career Framework (ECF) 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.

This six-point article will give you the essential information on the framework and, if you have the time, you can enjoy a deeper dive with our recent webinar. It answers all the frequently asked questions about the framework, and finishes with 20 minutes of Q&A:

Six things for NQTs 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 extends the support given to newly qualified teachers from one to two years, in recognition of this complexity. By providing NQTs with an extra 5% non-teaching time in their second year, schools can ensure that time is protected for NQTs to continue receiving the training and support they deserve.

2 . Funded support for mentors
In a major change, schools will now get funding for mentors’ time in the second year of the programme. From September, mentors will also receive high-quality training to support them in their role.

Mentoring an NQT is crucial to their development and these changes protect the space and time mentors need to reflect on their own practice – vital to helping others.

"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 DfE, 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 the 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 new framework is therefore a vital plank in the government’s plans to slow exit rates from the profession.

"The ECF 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. Endorsed by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), the national framework aims to ensure a common induction for all teachers and provide a common language and research base for the sector. As a result, the ECF will help to standardise training so that it will be high-quality and accessible to all NQTs.

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.


Go further: find out more about the Early Career Framework here.

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