Creating teachers for life with the Early Career Framework

The University of Birmingham Alliance is excited to be partnering with Capita to deliver the new early career framework’s induction programme.

Senior Leaders Information Sessions

We are hosting two ECF information sessions for Senior Leaders on 26 August and 2 September at 3.30pm, to provide important information about the ECF and how delivery and organisation will look next year. They will last for one hour and include time for questions. To register for one these sessions please sign up via the link below:

Register for these events

The University of Birmingham Alliance brings together the resources and experience of the University of Birmingham, King Edward VI Academy Trust, the Mercian Trust and the Woodrush Training Consortium.   

When we train teachers we start them on a career journey we hope will last. It's especially important to support the development of teachers when they’re just starting out. This helps them to feel confident, in control and excited about their new career. We all want teachers who can flourish and are dedicated to their profession and to their pupils.

The early career framework (ECF) was established by the Department for Education (DfE) to better support newly qualified teachers and their mentors. It aims to increase the training and development opportunities for teachers in the early stages of their careers.

This means that new teachers will now receive development support and training over two years instead of one, as well as funded time out of the classroom to receive support from mentors who will also receive funded high-quality training. Find out more about the statutory guidance.

Key facts for Governors

The introduction of the Early Career Framework (ECF) is the most significant reform to teaching in a generation and forms part of the government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy. From September 2021 it will be a statutory requirement that all early career teachers (formerly known as newly qualified teachers) in a state funded school in England complete a two-year induction based on the Early Career Framework.

Funding will be provided for a structured 2-year package of high-quality professional development that will supplement your school’s existing programme of staff support and development. The framework is an evidence-based approach and is designed to make sure early career teachers focus on learning the things that make the most difference in the classroom and their professional practice. 

As part of the ECF roll-out, the University of Birmingham is proud to be partnering with Capita to deliver a first-class induction programme for early career teachers across England.

What is the Early Career Framework? 

The Early Career Framework (ECF) builds on initial teaching training and sets out what ECTs should learn about and learn how to do. It's designed to support development in 5 core areas:

  • Behaviour management
  • Pedagogy
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment
  • Professional behaviours

The framework is presented in 8 sections, to align with the Teachers’ Standards, which remain the standards against which ECTs are formally assessed – the ECF is not an assessment tool. Within each section, there are:

  • Key evidence statements (starting with ‘Learn that…’), and
  • Practice statements (starting with ‘Learn how to…’)

The Teacher Standards are:

  • Standard 1 – Set high expectations
  • Standard 2 – Promote good progress
  • Standard 3 – Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Standard 4 – Plan and teach well-structured lessons
  • Standard 5 – Adapt teaching
  • Standard 6 – Make accurate and productive use of assessment
  • Standard 7 – Manage behaviour effectively
  • Standard 8 – Fulfil wider professional responsibility

What are the main changes for my school? 

  • The term early career teacher (ECT) will replace newly qualified teacher (NQT)
  • Induction for ECTs will last for 2 years (it's currently 1 year)
  • ECTs will get a 5% timetable reduction in their second year of induction (they'll still get a 10% reduction in the first year, as they do now)
  • Your school will be expected to deliver an induction programme that's underpinned by the Early Career Framework (ECF)
  • There's a new induction-linked role: induction mentors will support ECTs through induction (this is separate from the existing requirement to have an induction tutor)
  • Your school will receive additional funding to help cover the costs of the ECT's Year 2 timetable reduction and time spent with their mentor.

NB. In addition to the ECF, schools will also need to register with an Appropriate Body Service  (as they do currently) for which there will only be 2 formal assessment points - one at the end of each year (current arrangements require 3 formal assessments, usually one per term)

Your school’s responsibility

Under the new statutory guidance, headteachers are expected to make sure that ECTs receive a programme of training that helps them understand and apply the Early Career Framework (ECF)’s evidence and practice statements (there's more on this in the final section below).

ECF-based training should be a central aspect of induction, and not an additional training programme. Your school leaders will need to update your school's induction policy to reflect the new requirements.

There are 3 approaches your school leaders can choose from to deliver ECF-based training:

  • Funded, provider-led programme – the DfE has accredited external providers to design and deliver training for ECTs and their mentors. This will be funded by the DfE. Your school can apply for this support via the DfE's online service
  • DfE-based, school-delivered programme  your school can use freely available DfE-accredited materials for new teachers and mentors to deliver its own ECT and mentor support. Your school must register to access these materials via the DfE's online service
  • School-designed and delivered programme  your school can design its own induction programme, based on the ECF

ECTs should have both an induction tutor and an induction mentor

As part of the new induction programme, your headteacher should identify 2 separate staff members to act as the ECT’s tutor and mentor (the roles have distinct functions so should only be held by a single individual in exceptional circumstances). Both induction tutor and mentor should hold qualified teacher status (QTS).

The induction tutor’s responsibilities include assessing the ECT’s progress against the Teachers' Standards through regular progress reviews, undertaking formal assessments, and providing or coordinating guidance for the ECT’s professional development. It’s possible for the headteacher to take on the role of induction tutor themselves.

The mentor (the new role introduced by the guidance) is expected to:

  • Regularly meet with the ECT for structured mentoring sessions to provide targeted feedback
  • Work with the ECT and colleagues to make sure the ECT receives a high-quality ECF-based induction programme
  • Provide, or broker, effective support, including subject- or phase-specific coaching
  • Take prompt action if the ECT is having difficulties

Next steps

Right now, your school leaders will be busy figuring out which option will work best for your school. Sign up for your selected provider is via the DfE portal. Over the coming term governors will be involved in:

  • Asking school leaders questions during your board meetings, to challenge them on how they chose their approach
  • Reviewing your school's updated induction policy, to make sure it takes into account the changes from 1 September

DfE requires your school to nominate an induction tutor to manage the statutory inductions at your school. Your school must complete these steps before your early career teachers (ECTs) start their statutory induction programme. For example, if your ECTs are starting in September, you need to complete these steps before then. 

As part of the national ECF roll-out, the University of Birmingham and its partner Capita have been appointed by the DfE as one of only six national providers. In addition to developing the learning materials, the University of Birmingham will be working with King Edward VI Academy Trust, the Mercian Trust and the Woodrush Training Consortium as part of a delivery alliance. This means that you will be able to register directly with us as a delivery provider.

Register your school online now and select the Birmingham Alliance as your delivery partner. 

Why choose us for your ECF?

Capita and the University of Birmingham are co-designing the programme, with Alliance partners involved in the development of materials, to ensure that it’s relevant and tailored to the needs of early career teachers and their mentors. Our specialised team of experts will also be on hand to help with any support or guidance that schools, teachers and mentors may need to complete the statutory training.

The University of Birmingham Alliance has extensive experience in providing CPD for experienced teachers and leaders in schools and will be bringing this expertise to the development of excellent mentoring support and development.

We’ll be using Capita’s technology and education expertise to deliver the on-line learning sessions via a modern, intuitive learning platform that allows us to host a wide variety of learning experiences. We will also be able to track activities and progress, so that we can identify and address any issues as soon as they arise.

The University of Birmingham Alliance understands the needs of schools and are designing the activities to ensure they provide valuable development week on week. 

What does the programme look like?

For Early Career Teachers (previously known as NQTs) they will have access to weekly online learning, weekly mentoring and instructional coaching support in-school, half termly clinics and an annual high-quality conference* experience with fellow ECTs from across the region.  Please see the images below. This programme is all fully-funded by the DfE. 

* Our Conference for ECTs and Mentors has been confirmed to take place on Saturday 25th September 2021. This has been confirmed as an online conference due to the current uncertainties surrounding COVID and large events. 

Example of a timetable for the ECF for year one

Year 2

Example of an ECF schedule year 2 

What should you do next?

Please engage your Appropriate Body as normal, continuing to use current relationships if you wish. 

FAQs for Senior Leaders

FAQs for ECTs and Mentors


Woodrush Training Consortium
King Edward VI Foundation Birmingham
The Mercian Trust


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