Early Career Framework

What is the Early Career Framework?

Who said being a teacher was easy? The new Early Career Framework (ECF) is changing the teaching landscape, with mentoring and focused support for new teachers. Now the teaching profession is getting the attention it deserves.

The Early Career Framework (ECF) is a new two-year support package for new teachers. When you earn Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), you are now classed as an Early Career Teacher (ECT).

In the first two years of your teaching career, you will be required to continue professional development with the support of a mentor within the school that employs you.

If you have obtained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and work in a maintained school or academy then you are required to work within the Early Career Framework for the first two years of your employment. If you work part-time, or go on maternity leave, you’ll work within the Early Career Framework for an extended time, until you have worked the equivalent of two years.

The Early Career Framework replaces Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) status. That was a one-year programme, it had no core content but came with the added pressure in that teachers had to ‘pass’. The Early Career Framework was announced as part of the government’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in 2019 and came into force from September 2021. Early career teachers will continue to be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards.

Over the two years, a teacher will have professional development linked to these five areas, delivered by a combination of mentoring, school based training and external courses:

  • Behaviour Management: Routines, relationships, observations, the teacher’s role in promoting positive behaviour, the importance of expectations and developing the student’s intrinsic motivation.
  • Pedagogy: Adaptive teaching, explanations and modelling, promoting deep learning and using groups to support different needs.
  • Curriculum: Exploring the purpose of a curriculum? Helping pupils master important concepts, learning about literacy and understanding the evidence of what works.
  • Assessment: Fundamental principles of effective assessment, planning effective marking and giving high quality feedback.
  • Professional behaviours: Effective professional relationships, working effectively with teaching assistants, working with the SENCO, reflecting on learning.

Why is the Early Career Framework being introduced?

In England, as in other countries, there are concerns about the shortage of teachers in schools. These concerns are justified. Recent data shows that the overall number of teachers has not kept pace with increasing pupil numbers, with around 42,000 full-time equivalent qualified teachers leaving the state-funded sector in the 12 months to November 2018, an attrition of 9.8 per cent.

15% of teachers will leave the profession within the first two years of employment, with a third leaving within five years. Reasons given are a lack of support and training coupled with a sudden rise in responsibility and workload as they transition into their new careers.

New teachers may experience ‘reality shock’ due to unexpected personal and professional demands, and the unpredictability and complexity of their role. This may impact their confidence to do their role. With more training opportunities and better support, the Early Career Framework hopes to empower teachers to do the job they trained for and develop their careers further.

How will the Early Career Framework work in practice?

In their first year of teaching, early career teachers will have 10% remission to engage in professional development; this is on top of the 10% remission all teachers have for preparation, planning and marking time. In the second year of teaching, early career teachers get 5% remission to engage in professional development activities, as well as the 10% remission of all teachers.

This allows you to develop strategies to develop sustainable working practices as you progress through your career; gradually building up capacity and teaching time.