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What is the Early Career Framework?


The Early Career Framework (ECF) sets out what all new teachers need to know and be able to do as they begin their careers. Rolled out nationally by the government in 2021, it is one of the most significant reforms to the teaching profession in a generation.

Through the framework, early career teachers are entitled to:

  • Two years of evidence-based development for teachers at the start of their career. 
  • Additional support and training through one-to-one mentoring from an experienced colleague. Mentors are similarly offered support and guidance on how to get the most from their role and their early career teachers.

At Ambition Institute, we have delivered the Early Career Framework to around 30,000 new teachers and their mentors on our Early Career Teachers programme.

Benefits of engaging with the Early Career Framework 

The Early Career Framework aims to support the retention of teachers at the beginning of their careers by improving well-being and job satisfaction through developing their practice, knowledge and working habits.

The Department for Education’s evaluation of the framework has already seen improvements in the confidence of early career teachers. In a 2022 survey, more than 80% of teachers said they felt confident in delivering high quality lessons, managing behaviour, and supporting pupils to progress.

Four in five early career teachers surveyed by the Department for Education in 2022 also said that they were likely to be in teaching in five years’ time.

Implementing the ECF: our approach

We’ve been perfecting our programme for early career teachers since our early pilot in 2019, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.

Our curriculum for teachers and mentors focuses on how teachers learn, as well as what they learn. We use instructional coaching, one of the best-evidenced forms of professional development, meaning our early career teachers benefit from bite-sized content and tailored, observational feedback to help them to keep getting better over time.

Early career teachers also benefit from the accessible online learning platform, Steplab. Through the platform, teachers and mentors can access scheduled content and precise teaching targets. They benefit from a variety of tools such as 10-minute videos of effective practice, concise evidence summaries, and quizzes and reflection prompts to deepen learning.

How can you get started on the Early Career Framework? 

All schools must deliver the Early Career Framework to their early career teachers. Our Early Career Teachers programme is underpinned by the Early Career Framework and is helping teachers to feel confident in the classroom and supported to remain in the profession.

To learn how you can sign up your school for our Early Career Teachers programme, visit our programme page.

Learn more about Early Career Teachers with Ambition: 

Early Career Teachers programme: Your questions answered: Our programme experts answer the most common questions from our teachers and mentors on the Early Career Teachers programme, including 'How flexible is the programme?’ and ‘How much time does it take?’.

ECF and professional development: Expert insights

Expert Edit in Early Career Development: This publication, written by experts, contains handpicked articles on early career development and is filled with reflective prompts to help teachers and school leaders get the most from their early career teachers.

Early Career Framework in action: Success stories

“We get it”: How one early career teacher and their mentor are learning together: What does a supportive mentoring relationship look like? In this case study, mentor Jay Brown and early career teacher Alisha Ibitoye lift the lid on their experience of working together through the Early Career Framework.

How are schools and their staff supported to deliver the Early Career Teachers programme? In this case study, ECT Lead Mehreen Ali shares how she supports schools on the Early Career Framework, and her tips for participating on the programme.

What's it like being a mentor on the Early Career Framework? Vice Principal Maria Hawkes discusses the early career framework, instructional coaching and deliberate practice, and shares some top tips.

How two teachers built their confidence with the Early Career Framework. Two early career teachers share how they have developed on the framework alongside their mentors.

“We’re not born knowing all the answers”: how new and experienced teachers are growing together with the Early Career Framework. A mentor on the Early Career Teachers programme shares how he has developed his teaching practice through the framework.

Go further: find out more about the Early Career Teachers programme on our programme page.