Early Career Framework reforms: providing solid foundations

Last month the Department for Education announced Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms to transform support for newly qualified teachers. On our blog Hanna Bottomley, Head of Funding Policy and Strategy at the Department for Education, deconstructs the Early Career Framework reforms, detailing the key changes and they mean for schools.

As they do every year, this September schools will welcome new and existing pupils back into the classroom after the Summer holidays.

Many schools will also be welcoming new teachers with an induction programme that has been designed to give them the best possible start to their teaching careers.

From September 2021 every early career teacher undergoing statutory induction will be entitled to a two-year programme of high-quality professional development support, based on the very best evidence as set out in the Early Career Framework (ECF).

Early Career Framework

The Early Career Framework was created in collaboration with experts from the profession to provide an evidence-based programme of extended support in the first few years of a teacher’s carer to attract and retain great people into the teaching profession.

The ECF sets out clearly what anyone starting their teaching careers should be entitled to learn about and learn how to do, focusing on five key areas – behaviour management, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, and professional behaviours.

Teachers in these first two years will have dedicated time set aside, and the support of a mentor, to focus on developing knowledge, practices and working habits. Specifically, early career teachers will get:

  • 10% funded time off timetable in their first year of teaching
  • 5% funded time off timetable in their second year of teaching
  • A dedicated mentor, with DfE support for these mentors including funded time to spend with their mentees in the second year of induction.

The power of mentoring is a huge part of these reforms. We want to ensure new teachers can learn from more experienced teachers and feel they have protected time to focus on getting support. This is why all new teachers will be required to have a dedicated mentor, whose role is separate to that of the induction tutor.

Of course, the ECF was developed before the pandemic hit, but I think high-quality support is now more important than ever. This year’s trainees have had a year like no other. They have shown immense resilience and versatility, developing skills they should be incredibly proud of. The ECF will build on their Initial Teacher Training, and ensure they have the confidence and support they need to thrive.

What will national roll-out mean for your school?

From this September all schools offering statutory induction will be expected to offer a two-year ECF-based induction to their early career teachers.

Schools can choose to use a DfE funded provider who will design and deliver a programme of face to face and online training to both early career teachers and their mentors. Lead providers will be held to account for the quality of their training so schools can be assured that this training will remain high quality, and the support will be fully funded so there are no costs for schools.

Schools may also choose to develop their own inductions based on high quality materials accredited by the DfE or design a programme from scratch based on the ECF itself.

We know schools need support to make this a success, which is why all state-funded schools offering statutory induction will receive additional funding to deliver the ECF reforms. This will cover the additional time off timetable in the second year, as well as funding for mentors to spend with early career teachers in the second year of induction.

There are no great schools without great teachers. It’s essential that teachers are provided with a solid foundation on which they can build a long and fulfilling career in the teaching profession. As DfE we are determined to provide schools with the support the need to make the ECF a success.

For more information go to GOV.UK.

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