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 and Mentor Information Sessions

We hosted ECF information sessions on 5 and 6 July, to provide you and your colleagues with important information about the ECF and how delivery and organisation will look next year. If you missed these do not worry, the links to the recorded sessions can be found below.

View the recordings 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. 

Frequently asked questions

Here you’ll find answers to questions about our early career framework programme. If your question isn’t answered below, please get in touch with us

How do we register our interest with the UoB Alliance?

Register online to join our programme

Is there any further support for present NQTs in year one (this year) included in the ECF? 

Early Career Teachers who have begun induction before September 2021 should finish a one-year induction period, under present arrangements. Where possible, schools can extend Core Induction Programme based training to these teachers. Schools and Early Career Teachers can use, or draw upon, any of the four Core Induction Programmes. 

Will you act as an appropriate body for assessment? If not, can you please guide me to making a decision to register with an Appropriate Body? Is there a central list to choose from? 

Each school can select its own Appropriate Body and this is not tied to the choice of ECF provider. 

The following organisations can act as the appropriate body:

  • A local authority with which the school reaches agreement
  • A teaching school hub (subject to the following conditions):-
    • A teaching school hub that is an accredited ITT provider cannot be the appropriate body for an ECT for whom it recommended that the award of QTS should be made; and
    • A teaching school hub cannot be the appropriate body for an ECT whom it employs, or who has served any part of their induction at that school
  • National Teacher Accreditation (NTA)
  • The Independent Schools Teacher Induction Panel (IStip) (for their members and associate or additional members only)
  • The local authority in which the school is situated (if agreement cannot be reached between the school and one of the above)

When will training be available for mentors and induction leads? Will there be an opportunity for proposed mentors who are currently on maternity leave to attend sessions at a later date?

Details on available training for induction leads and mentors (including those returning from maternity leave) will be published on here shortly. 

In terms of logistics, at what times of the day will events and training sessions run and will they all be online or in person?

Times TBC. The year's annual conference is online and the clinics alternate between face to face and online. However, the materials are designed so that they can be used either way.

Are you able to share a timetable/calendar at this stage?

Our timetable is currently being finalised and will be published on here shortly.

If we commit to you as our provider, how long are we committed for? 

The DfE expect participants that start on a programme to finish the programme that they have started. We would, therefore, expect the minimum commitment for one cohort of Early Career Teachers to be for two academic years in line with the extended induction period. However, for new cohorts of Early Career Teachers, schools can change from their existing provider.

Can an Independent school register with the UoB Alliance? 

Independent schools are not eligible for the fully-funded programme but may pay for this option. Costs are £1,400 per Early Career Teacher and £1,400 per Mentor.

Will your ECF programme be subject to inspection by Ofsted?

All 6 lead providers will be inspected by Ofsted so schools can be assured that our training will remain high-quality

Do you have access to all Ambition resources including the digital resources on offer on the StepLab platform?

All the Ambition Core induction programme (CIP) materials are available. The Full induction programme materials will also be available and are currently awaiting sign off from the DfE.

Mentor workload and timetabling

How can I plan my timetable to allow a mentor sufficient and suitable time to conduct the weekly 15 minute observation and deliver 45 minutes of feedback?

Mentors have a one hour slot each week assigned as a mentoring period. As with NQT mentoring previously, mentors can be flexible with their time. This means that the allocated period can be used as time in lieu for mentoring that takes place at another time, whether during PPA time or after school, for example. This is similar to the NQT mentoring period and is covered by the school’s ECF budget.

If the mentor observes during the mentoring period, they will end up observing the same lesson each week. Is this okay?

The mentor should observe the ECT in a variety of different lessons. This can be done by working flexibly with PPA time, observing the ECT during the mentor’s PPA periods some weeks and using the assigned mentoring period as PPA time in lieu. If the mentor has TLR time, this can also be used in the same way. The observations should take place during different parts of lessons too and shouldn’t always be at the start of the lesson.

Our school timetable is already confirmed for 2021-2 and the mentor is only ever teaching when their ECT is teaching and free when their ECT is free. Can other members of staff help out with the observations?

The ECF model requires the mentor to do the observations as the weekly observation and feedback are part of the developing coaching relationship. It is not an option for other members of staff to deliver observations. They can support, however, in other ways. This would require a team approach within the department, team or faculty. The mentor can ask someone to cover their lesson for 15 minutes to allow them to do the observation. This could be a cover supervisor or a member of SLT.

Do mentors get time in lieu for the conference, as it takes place on a Saturday?

Schools receive backfill funding for all of the mentor training including the conference and it is up to each school how they want to use this funding. This will depend on how the ECF has been built into a school’s teaching and learning structure. Some examples of how you might use the funding are:

  • Mentors get a day off in lieu
  • Cover for mentors for certain periods of the school day to make up the time
  • Creation of a TLR responsibility for mentors

How do we receive the funding?

Data will be gather by the school workforce census and funding will come directly from the government to the school.

Our school already has an induction programme, can we incorporate the ECF into this programme?

The ECF is a statutory requirement and the programme must be followed from September 2021. It should be delivered as a separate programme and should not be embedded in a school induction programme. Should you wish to deliver a separate induction programme for your ECTs you can, but the ECF funding cannot be used for this, it should be done at the school’s own cost. You may wish to use allocated CPD sessions for your own induction programme.

If mentors are conducting all of the observations, how can an induction tutor sign off on an ECT’s progress?

There are two formal assessment points for ECTs, one at the end of year 1 and the other at the end of year 2. These are, however, separate from the ECF programme and should be discussed with a school’s appropriate body. The induction tutor will conduct an observation and sign off the ECT based on this, not on their progress through the ECF.

It is important to decouple the ECF from sign off through the appropriate body. The ECF is a professional development programme designed to support ECTs in their first two years in the teaching profession. There is no paperwork or reporting, the focus is purely professional development. However, because the ECF is built around the teacher standards, the ECT’s development against these standards should be evident at the formal assessment points.

The mentor and induction tutor may wish to communicate on a termly basis about progress, but this is separate from the formal assessment points.

We have an ECT on a 0.5 contract. How can they complete the ECF on a part-time basis?

To complete the ECF, part-time ECTs will need to complete the equivalent of two full-time years. If you have an ECT in this position, they will attend the conference and Clinic 1 during term 1. Once you know how many part-time ECTs you have starting in September, you should contact the University of Birmingham to discuss how they will proceed through the ECF.

What do we do if we employ an ECT for the second year of the ECF? As there is no folder or evidence for their progress, how will we know which provider they have been working with and how they have progressed through the framework?

This information should be obtained through the reference. Schools should adapt reference forms for ECTs, asking the school they are leaving to include information about the provider and progress through the ECF in the reference.


Do schools need to pay a fee to use a provider-led programme?

Provider-led programmes, available to state-funded schools only, are funded by DfE so there are no costs for schools.

Funding will cover:

  • time off timetable for early career teachers and mentors in the second year of induction paid directly to schools
  • training delivered directly to early career teachers by an external provider - providers will be paid directly so schools will not face any payment burdens
  • training delivered directly to mentors by an external provider - providers will be paid directly so schools will not face any payment burdens
  • additional funding to backfill mentor time spent undertaking training paid directly to schools

If you have an NQT (now ECT) that is taken on to cover maternity leave and will therefore only be at the school for 2 terms, can they be signed up and then bank their induction before moving on? Would the school still receive their funding for the ECT for that proportion of time?

We are still waiting for confirmation about what happens to ECTs that move around in those two years, what they can carry across, and how the funding catches up.

Can you provide a breakdown of funding for the ECF? What is the benefit of working with a lead provider such as yourselves? 

Year 1 funding is currently funded, as all schools receive funding for an Early Career Teacher’s first year as part of the National Funding Formula. 

Year 2 funding is dependent on which programme your school decides to take, and where your school is located. All programmes receive the combined ECT time-off timetable and mentoring hours which will amount to £2,100 (England excluding London).

There is additional funding for schools to backfill Mentor time spent undertaking the 36 hours of Mentor training on a provider-led programme (Full Induction Programme) such as our programme. This is in addition to the funding for Mentors to spend time with the Early Career Teacher in their second year of induction. Time-off timetable for Mentors amounts to 10% time-off timetable in year 1 and 5% time-off timetable in year 2.

Is there any direct funding in relation to the 36 hours of Mentor training? 

As detailed above, there is additional funding for schools to backfill Mentor time spent undertaking the 36 hours of Mentor training on a provider-led programme (Full Induction Programme) such as our programme. This is in addition to the funding for Mentors to spend time with the Early Career Teacher in their second year of induction. Time-off timetable for Mentors amounts to 10% time-off timetable in year 1 and 5% time-off timetable in year 2.  


Woodrush Training Consortium
King Edward VI Foundation Birmingham
The Mercian Trust


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