Services For Education Advisers, Simone Whitehouse-James and Helen Grundy provide a complete ECT induction guide for the new term, covering everything from entitlements to Early Career Framework and performance management.
With your first term of ECT (Early careers teacher) induction done, now’s a good time to pause and reflect, ready to build for the year ahead.
Here we look at the following points for evaluation and how to ensure the rest of your ECT induction stays smooth and stimulating.
ECT Self-Awareness: How Are You Feeling?
From previous experiences, you will no doubt know how tiring teaching life is. By the time you have worked for three days of half term and then collapsed in a heap and slept for another two, you soon realise that ‘all those holidays’ are not in fact holidays at all.
So, with that said, now presents the ideal time to take stock of what you can and cannot control for your well-being and to put strategies in place to help with your mental health and work-life balance.
1. Seek and Show Support
As an early career teacher, it is vital to lean on those around you and not isolate yourself. No doubt, you will hear later about the importance of joining in with the more social aspects of school life, but underpinning this success depends on your efforts to be a good colleague, as well as expect to work with and learn from those who are reliable and open.
A good way of enriching the support networks is staying organised by ensuring that planning is on time, especially if others need to adapt it for their classes.
Plus, here are some other aspects to help grow a strong ECT support network next term:
- Be present and punctual for the ‘extras’, such as additional duties or staff meetings.
- Try to make conversation in the staff room.
- If you have a problem, raise it professionally through the proper channels.
The more your peers see that you are working hard and trying to be diligent, the more they will learn to respect and trust you as a colleague.
Remember, you are not a student anymore and are paid as a professional. So, don’t be afraid to own it!
Once these foundations of trust and respect are in place, you will find it easier to ask for help and enjoy the lighter aspects of school life without feeling guilty that it is a one-way street.
Feeling this sense of pride and belonging will provide a wonderful boost and propel you next term.
2. Stay Healthy, Work Smart and Sleep!
In the chaos of your ECT induction, one thing we can forget is to keep your mind and body healthy. So, remember to eat regularly and include plenty of fruit and veg in your diet. I know. It may seem obvious, but when we are busy, the biscuits soon start calling instead of taking the time to eat a proper lunch.
Secondly, with so many snivelling noses in the classroom and hallways, you will battle a million new bugs throughout the term. Give yourself the best chance to fight and walk into each class physically and mentally prepared for the hour ahead.
Outside of what you eat, please remember to sleep. Don’t be a martyr to the planning. The best-planned lesson will fall flat if you do not have the energy to carry it out.
Lastly, think on your toes, listen to your students, and react to their curve balls. If you find you are regularly working into the early hours, speak with your mentor and experienced teachers. They will have hints and tips for working smart as well as hard.
3. Be Good to Yourself
During your ECT induction, take time to utilise your family and friends. Beyond being the best professional possible at work, it is vital to find sufficient balance in life and spend time with those you love and who love and know you best. Believe me, when I say they can provide a safety net for your mental well-being.
Obviously, we are not saying to go out every night, but you do need to prioritise some time for yourself. In your new role as an ECT, it helps to make sure that you don’t forget yourself and spend time doing the things you love with people whose company you enjoy.
You deserve it.
The Two Aspects of Your ECT Induction
As you have gathered so far during your ECT induction, there are two aspects to consider. One very visible, the other perhaps not so. Let us begin with the former:
1. Early Career Framework (ECF)
Since September 2021, all ECTs must have access to training through the Early Career Framework (ECF). ECF is a structured programme of development which may be developed by your school using pre-written materials or by an outsider ‘partner’ delivering these sessions to you.
Included will be a mixture of online and face-to-face sessions, unpacking action research and unpicking aspects of the Teachers’ Standards. All programmes contain subjects to talk with your mentor, self-directed study materials and opportunities to trial research-led practice in your classroom.
It should be clear by now if you were not part of one of these programmes. If that is the case, talk to your mentor or induction tutor at your next opportunity.
It is important to note that you will not be expected to produce a folder of evidence for this aspect of your induction. Your self-study log and additional work around this part of your ECT induction enable you to develop skills that impact your classroom practice.
You may have read the latest report on questioning. Now what? Well, it is no good if you have not tried out the implications with your class(es).
Crucially, this part of your ECT induction is about getting your teaching foundations firm for the rest of your career. You do not need to document it in triplet, colour code it and put it in a folder of poly pockets (We know teachers love a bit of stationery!).
2. The Statutory Induction
The second aspect of induction is the statutory part, which you might not have been aware of yet. Running alongside the newer ECF induction is the statutory induction which has been in place for many years.
However, recently the Department for Education (DfE) rolled out changes to improve training and development as part of a government incentive for better recruitment and retention.
As part of the ECT induction, you should receive regular progress reviews with two formal assessments against the Teachers’ Standards. Although with the ECF changes, this is now a two-year process rather than the previous year. All ECTs should expect to receive these certain entitlements in the statutory induction across the two years.
Your ECT Entitlements
Now, let us check to see whether you are receiving the correct entitlements as part of your ECT induction.
How Many Hours Should an ECT Be Teaching Per Week?
Firstly, you are not expected to match equivalent teaching times to your peers who have already passed their ECT induction. As an ECT, you should receive 10% less on your teaching timetable in year one and 5% in year two.
For example, if you were scheduled for 20 hours per week, at least 2 hours should be dedicated to PPA.
Although it might appear tempting, this time is not for planning or marking. Neither is it time to catch up on some sleep (Sorry, we know you must be shattered!). No, this is the time to:
- Work on your ECF-based induction.
- Read information from your self-study materials.
- Watch and learn how colleagues deliver more demanding parts of the curriculum or deal with challenging pupils.
As part of the statutory requirements for your ECT induction, you should expect to correspond with a designated mentor and induction tutor. The role of your mentor is more ‘hands-on’ to support you with the “day in and day out”, rehearse an area of the Teachers’ Standards or discuss strategies regarding behaviour.
On the other hand, your induction tutor has an ‘overview’ role to complete Progress Reviews and Assessments and will be the person to liaise with the Appropriate Body.
The Appropriate Body
As an ECT, your requirements include being registered with an Appropriate Body that liaises with the Teacher Regulation Authority. In this role, we oversee your time off timetable and monitor and observe you with regular feedback on how to improve. At any stage, we can intervene when necessary to support your induction.
Although you may have drop-ins and be subject to learning walks, as part of the statutory induction, you should be officially observed once every half term.
These observations should feed into your ECF induction and form the basis of the Progress Reviews you receive at the end of the first two terms of your ECT induction. Along with completing the assessment at the end of the first year of ECT induction, you will then repeat the process for your second year.
If you do not think you have been receiving both parts of your induction, we suggest getting in touch with your Appropriate Body or your Professional Association. Now don’t panic. You are not causing a problem. After all, these are entitlements that you should be receiving.
Do ECTs Have Appraisals or Performance Management?
As an ECT, you will not be included in appraisal arrangements or performance management that your school applies to other teachers. All assessment is undertaken via your separate ECT induction.
Final Thoughts on ECT Induction
From past NQTs and ECTs, here are some useful messages they shared when asked the following questions:
- If you were to start your ECT induction again, what would you wish you had known?
- What would you do differently?
- What is next?
In your first term, you will have been very much preoccupied with what is happening in your own classroom environment. From setting up your routines to getting to know your pupils and learning about the school policies and processes.
But now is a great time to step outside your classroom door and look again with fresh eyes. For instance, attending colleagues’ lessons and watching them teach your pupils can help you learn by paying close attention to how they model standards such as behaviour management, strategies, approaches, hints and tips.
As the AB (Appropriate Body), we have found it to be even more productive when new teachers can co-observe with their mentor, especially if there is a specific teaching area that is more challenging.
Co-observing offers opportunities to discuss what you have analysed and how it could be embedded and trialled in your classroom.
Get to Know Your Pupils
There are two sides to better understanding your pupils. Firstly, comprehend their potential. It helps by developing sound AfL strategies to enable you to challenge and support everyone.
Understanding your pupils is an aspect of teaching that requires time, effort and patience. Essentially, it is not easy to do. However, once you develop this area, you will plan more effectively, with differentiation and flexibility becoming embedded.
Plus, you will begin making great strides towards meeting the first of the Teachers’ Standards too.
Get to Know Your Colleagues
Making an extra effort to get to know your colleagues can feel difficult with so much to do. You are forgiven for thinking how it might also seem like idly passing time, but it is genuinely beneficial to you in numerous ways.
So, do not shy from joining the teachers’ book club, going for that night out, and even starting a staff ‘couch to 5k’ group.
All this shows that you are invested in your colleagues and the school. Whether just taking it as a time to brain-dump for your collective well-being or even discussing an issue that one of you is having to find a new strategy to use in class.
Take a moment now to digest the key themes of this article and check in on yourself as you would with a friend. Remember, it’s vital to monitor how you are doing. And what you can put in place to make this fabulous job even better.
Need further support? At Services For Education, we’re the Appropriate Body on behalf of the Birmingham Local Authority. We offer ECT registration and professional development to help you become outstanding practitioners. Get in touch today to find out more.
Dr Simone Whitehouse-James - Adviser, Services For Education
Simone qualified with a PGCE in Religious Education following a Bachelors degree in Theology. Simone went onto lead RE in two demographically differently schools in Birmingham before working for the city’s advisory service.
Simone works in two areas: Religious Education and Early Career Teachers. Working in Religious Education Simone engages 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 Agreed Syllabus.
Simone also works with primary and secondary teachers and school governors. Working on behalf of the City Council as the Appropriate Body for ECTs Simone works with senior leaders and tutors to support their ECTs through induction.
Simone has recently been awarded her PhD – demonstrating her love of learning and Religious Education!
Helen Grundy - Adviser, Services For Education
Helen qualified with a first class honours degree in English and Education Studies in 1998. A significant amount of her degree was spent studying in Amsterdam under the Hogeschool Holland, adding a TESOL element to her degree and enabling study and understanding of international approaches to education. Helen’s teaching career then took place across Staffordshire in infant, first and primary schools, taking on various roles in subject leadership, as SENCo and SLT, and achieving the NCTL Leadership Pathways award.
Noted successful practice resulted in Helen becoming a Leading Maths Teacher, supporting colleagues across the county. This became a role that she increasingly enjoyed and led naturally to a role in consultancy and advising.
Helen joined Services For Education in 2015 as an Education Adviser. Her role was primarily as a Maths Adviser however since joining the company has also become manager of the highly successful Health for Life in Primary Schools programme, NQT Manager as part of the LA approved Appropriate Body for NQT Induction and a member of the Statutory Assessment team.