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.
Just to be clear, the Early Career Framework induction sits alongside the statutory induction process. So, let’s have a reminder of this first:
- 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. He 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 NQT@servicesforeducation.co.uk
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.