July 2020 edition: The Early Career Framework

The Early Career Framework

We know we need to be attracting great people into the teaching profession, and that we want to retain and develop that talent. This was true well before most of us had heard the term ‘coronavirus’. There are longer term issues around the demand for and retention of great teachers, and we have been actively seeking ways to address these, especially among those just starting their careers. We want to ensure our investment in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and other types of training is not lost. Now we are trying to tackle those issues in addition to the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, as we welcome more and more children and young people back into school so they can continue to receive the best care, education and training possible.

It’s in this context that early career teachers will be starting this year. The first few years of teaching can be tough in any "normal” year: getting to grips with the job, fielding demands from pupils, parents, and school leaders. On top of this, 2020 has been uniquely challenging, with a curtailed ITT experience for many teachers starting their careers in the classroom. What has not changed is the fundamental need to ensure that all teachers, especially new teachers, are given the skills and support they need to excel.

This is where the Early Career Framework comes in. Last year we launched the ECF, designed in close partnership with teachers, headteachers, academics, and sector organisations and experts. It 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.

Since its launch, we have been working hard to bring the ECF to life, ensuring that – from September 2021 – every single new teacher will be entitled to a two-year programme of induction, based on the very best evidence. Teachers in these two years will have dedicated time set aside, and the support of a mentor, to focus on developing the knowledge, practices and working habits that will prepare them for a successful career in teaching.

A national roll out of such an ambitious programme is a big step. That is why we are beginning – from this September – with an initial, limited roll out in selected areas: the North East, Bradford, Doncaster and Greater Manchester.  We have commissioned four providers – UCL Early Career Teacher Consortium, Teach First, Ambition Institute, and Education Development Trust – to develop an ECF programme of support. And, in recognition of the impact of coronavirus, we are expanding the reach of this early roll out to provide an additional package of ECF-based support to some schools outside of those areas, with the aim of reaching 3,000 additional early career teachers this year.

The department will also be publishing the ECF Core Induction Programme –  a set of high-quality, freely available resources and materials which all schools will be able access, so that every single school and every single teacher will be able to understand how the ECF can be translated into a practical and improved induction experience. Schools will be able to use this to develop and deliver their own ECF-based inductions, and help their early career teachers continue their development this coming academic year.

National roll-out

This early roll out helps us to build up to September 2021, when all early career teachers will take part in the two-year programme. At this point, it will become a requirement for all schools to offer a two-year ECF-based induction to their early career teachers. Schools will be able to develop their own inductions based on the Core Induction Programmes, but we will also be procuring a range of providers of full training programmes that will be free for schools to access, to ensure it is easier for all new teachers to get the programme of induction they deserve. A national network of Teaching School Hubs will play a critical role in ensuring high quality full training programmes are available across the country.

Teachers in these two years will have dedicated time set aside, and the support of a mentor, to focus on developing the knowledge, practices and working habits that will prepare them for a successful career in teaching.

These are tremendously exciting reforms, supported by people and organisations across the school system. They are the most significant changes to the initial experience of new teachers since teaching became a graduate profession in the early 1980s, and present an opportunity to help teachers establish their careers on the firmest of footings. For more information about how to access ECF-based support this year and what national roll-out will mean for you go to GOV.UK