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Changes to Induction – Early Career Framework 2021 Updates

The Early Career Framework (ECF) 2021 update ensures early career teachers (ECTs) focus on learning the most important things to benefit their work in the classroom in the 2021/22 academic year. But what exactly does it entail?

If things stayed the same things would be boring, wouldn’t they? We know that education doesn’t stand still, and there is always a need to realign important areas across school settings.

However, sometimes this can be annoying. As teachers, we get accustomed to a system and can’t see a reason for the change.

Fortunately, the latest change in early-career teacher induction has not been introduced just for the sake of having a shakeup. It serves a greater purpose which can make a big difference in your school. Let’s explore.

What is the Early Career Framework?

From 1st September 2021, newly qualified teachers (NQTs) become known as early career teachers (ECTs) and induction now becomes a two-year process built around the Early Career Framework.

The new reforms are designed to have a positive impact on early career teachers, helping them focus on learning the things that can make a significant difference in their work in the classroom.

The Reasons for the Changes

We all know the trials and tribulations of recruitment and retention within the education arena. The Early Career Framework 2021 has been introduced to ensure that new teachers are given the foundations they need to support them through the first few years of their careers.

ECTs will have the support, skills and resilience required to help them continue honing their craft and desire to stay within the profession.

The ECF induction has been trialled during the last 18 months when we know the majority of teaching and training went a little differently due to Covid-19. The Education Endowment Foundation undertook an evaluation of the pilot rollout and published its report at the end of last year.

What’s New?

Just to be clear, the Early Career Framework induction sits alongside the statutory induction process. So, let’s have a reminder of this first:

Statutory Elements

  • Induction is now two years long – longer if your ECT is part-time. Teachers may still only serve one induction period.
  • The Early Career Framework is NOT an assessment tool.
  • Schools must provide support from both an induction tutor and a mentor who will support the ECT on a day-to-day level.
  • It’s still the case that as with NQTs, ECTs need a reduced timetable. In the first year of induction, the reduction is 10% off a ‘normal timetable’, and in the second year, it is 5%.

As part of the induction, colleagues will observe the ECT, and assessment reports are built in to guide the programme of support.

In the summer term at the end of each year, an assessment is submitted. In the autumn and spring terms of induction years, when an assessment report is not needed, the school will submit a Progress Review to update the Appropriate Body (AB) as to how the induction is progressing.

These are a lighter touch than the full assessment reports we come to expect, but still give an update as to whether the ECT is on track or not.

And as was the case before, it is the responsibility of the headteacher to recommend to the AB whether an ECT has satisfactorily met the Teachers’ Standards or not at the end of the induction period.

Early Career Framework Based Provision

In terms of the ECF based induction, ECTs will have access to a structured programme of training and development based around the Early Career Framework. This programme includes self-directed study material, mentor meetings and training sessions.

There are a variety of providers who have developed programmes to support early career induction. You will be familiar with many of them. They include Teach First, the Ambition Institute, University College London and the Education Development Trust.

Schools may have chosen one of these to roll out a Full Induction Programme.

A good way to understand this is to use a holiday booking as an example. The Full Induction Programme would be the equivalent of an all-inclusive dream trip in a 5-star penthouse suite. Food, accommodation and pre-planned day trips are all included.

Another route schools may offer is an ECF based induction. This option uses the materials and scripts to deliver the training from a provider and follows a ‘Core Based’ route. In a nutshell, an ECF based induction is like a self-catering holiday. You have a lovely hotel, but you’ve got to organise the day trips yourself, and you’ve got the guidebook.

Alternatively, schools can develop their own induction, based on the Early Career Framework. Following the same model, this would be the ‘staycation’ holiday option. You have access to the ECF and need to make it your own.

Whatever route you do choose to explore, it’s worth noting that induction must now be based around the Early Career Framework.

You must think about the subtle differences a mentor and an induction tutor play in the induction too.

The induction tutor has that ‘bigger picture’ view on the whole of someone’s induction. They undertake reviews and assessments, ensure statutory duties are adhered to, make provision for the training and contribute to the decision of what level of opt-in (or holiday) the school uses. An induction tutor doesn’t get involved with the day to day stuff, but they are there to offer support and guidance.

The other main player is the mentor. This person provides regular one to one feedback, one side coaching, observes the ECT and signposts high-level practitioners in school for the ECT to observe.​ It’s important to notice the slight differences between the mentor and the induction tutor roles and remember that the ECT is entitled to both.

Finally, there are also changes to what the Appropriate Body (AB) will be doing. The AB liaises between schools and the Teacher Regulation Authority (TRA) to ensure that inductions are recorded correctly.

They are another source of support to check that ECTs are receiving both an Early Career Framework induction and the statutory elements of induction. As per usual, Appropriate Body reads all assessment forms and will now do so for the Progress Reviews. This year, ABs will need to carry out additional quality assurance procedures, known as ‘fidelity checks’, for those schools undertaking the ‘self-catering’ and ‘staycation’ models.

Get Further Support with the Early Career Framework 2021

So, there it is, a quick overview of the main changes to the induction for ECTs happening right now. As I stated at the start, education does not stand still, and sometimes we need to change to keep up with the times.

For more guidance and support regarding the ECF framework 2021, speak to Dr Simone Whitehouse today. She works as part of the ECT Team at Services For Education, acting on behalf of Birmingham City Council as the Appropriate Body for NQTs/ECTs. Simply send an email to

Formally known as NQT (newly qualified teacher), ECT stands for ‘early career teacher’. The term ECT replaced NQT in September 2021. After completing the initial teacher training in the UK, the title of ECT is awarded to a teacher when they attain qualified teacher status (QTS).

The next step to becoming a fully qualified teacher is to take a mandatory induction programme. This induction programme is completed after fulfilling two full academic years (full-time). Two academic years is equal to six terms.

ECTs can also work part-time and still receive their full teacher’s qualification, but this will still have to amount to two academic years’ worth of classroom teaching (six terms). The part-time system works on a point proportional ratio and is calculated equally across the board.

For example, if an ECT works on a 0.5 contract (2.5 days a week), then induction would take 4 years. This level of flexibility enables more opportunities for ECTs to gain QTS, whether that means working two days or four days a week.

The induction process is crucial for the teacher to prove they can do the job in a real teaching environment. To ensure the aspiring teacher meets the acceptable standards to begin their career in teaching, they will be monitored, supported, and assessed by an induction tutor.

ECTs can undertake their induction programme at any school, including:

  • Academies
  • Secondary schools
  • Primary schools
  • Nursery schools
  • Independent schools
  • Free schools
  • Independent British schools overseas

However, if a school has an Ofsted special measure placed against it, the ECT should not be allowed to complete an induction.

Despite being placed in a real school environment, ECTs will work at 90% of what is expected of a fully qualified teacher to allow them enough time to complete other compulsory induction requirements. An ECT will not be expected to manage high-intensity situations that can occur at school, such as demanding situations for disciplining or additional non-teaching activities, unless they’re given complete support in the process.

We advise all ECTs to begin their induction as soon as possible, but there is no legal timeframe to keep up with. After receiving your ECT qualification, you can begin your induction anytime you like. However, an ECT can only undertake supply work for a maximum of five years following QTS and only on a short-term contract (under one term).

During the induction programme, you will be monitored, assessed, and supported throughout the process. A part of this process includes regular observation, progress assessments and formal assessments.

Schools want ECTs because they bring a positive atmosphere, fresh enthusiasm to learning and revitalised energy into the classroom. At Services For Education, we can support ECTs and schools during this critical part of the process.

To become an Early Career Teacher (ECT), you must gain qualified teacher status (QTS). There are two avenues you can take to achieve a QTS with various university or school-led degrees, courses, and programmes:

  • Bachelor of Education undergraduate degree (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Arts or Science degree with QTS (BA/BSc)

These degrees apply immediately as they incorporate teacher training.

  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
  • Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship
  • School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)

In these cases, undergraduates achieve QTS through teacher training within a school environment. Graduates are employed as unqualified teachers and train for their QTS.

There are other teaching programmes also available to reach a QTS level. For example, ‘Teach First’. Teach First is a charity supporting and training teachers who can help give a great education to children and young people from deprived backgrounds.

If you’re someone who’s changing careers and turning to the teaching profession later in life, ‘Now Teach’ is an organisation that helps you find the best route to achieve QTS.

Interested in becoming an early career teacher? At Services For Education, we act as the Appropriate Body (AB) on behalf of the Local Authority (LA) Birmingham City Council. Registering an ECTs with an AB is a statutory duty. To register your ECTs with us, click here.

We also provide ECT training programmes, including a digital course called ‘Working with Parents and Carers’.

As an established, award-winning educational organisation, we take pride in developing the most outstanding practitioners and provide a personal and professional support network throughout their early career teacher training.

What’s the Average NQT/ECT Salary?

The standard salary for an ECT in the UK is currently £25,714k. In London, the salary for an ECT increases slightly to £26,948k.

As an ECT, you will start at the lowest point of the Main Pay Scale for classroom teachers, classified as M1. After each year, teachers will climb the Main Pay Range from M1 up to M6 with the opportunity to enter the upper pay range.

The maximum upper pay range in the UK is currently £41,604, and £42,780 for London. The more you develop, learn, and progress in your teaching career, the more opportunity for pay rises increases.

About the Author

Simone Whitehouse – Member of Services For Education

Simone is a member of the ECF team at Services For Education – providing support to schools, tutors, mentors and ECTs in and around Birmingham. Working on behalf of the City Council as part of the Appropriate Body team, she has many years of experience in advising schools around ECT induction, and is heavily involved in the fidelity checking, and assessment process, and shaping the response of SFE to the ECF reforms.

In addition, Simone is the lead advisor for Religious Education. Working in RE, Simone works with faith groups and advises the Standing Advisory Council for RE (SACRE) on RE and Collective Worship. She has worked with others to design lesson plans for the Faith Makes a Difference website to support schools to implement the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus. She has worked on drafting the new 2019 Agreed Syllabus.

Simone qualified with a PGCE in Religious Education, following a Bachelors degree in Theology. Simone went on to lead RE in two demographically different schools in Birmingham before working for the city’s advisory service.


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