What is the Early Career Framework?
The Early Career Framework (ECF) sets out what Early Career Teachers are entitled to learn about and learn how to do when they start their careers. It underpins a new entitlement for 2 years of professional development designed to help early career teachers develop their practice, knowledge and working habits.
The Early Career Framework applies to all teachers who are embarking upon their first year of teaching after their Initial Teacher Training in September 2021 – primary, secondary, SEND, state and independent schools are all required to follow the ECF.
The Early Career Framework provides a syllabus of sorts that outlines the ongoing professional development of Early Career Teachers. It groups together “Learn that…” and “Learn how to…” statements under the following headings:
High Expectations (Standard 1 – Set high expectations)
How Pupils Learn (Standard 2 – Promote good progress)
Subject and Curriculum (Standard 3 – Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge)
Classroom Practice (Standard 4 – Plan and teach well-structured lessons)
Adaptive Teaching (Standard 5 – Adapt teaching)
Assessment (Standard 6 – Make accurate and productive use of assessment)
Managing Behaviour (Standard 7 – Manage behaviour effectively)
Professional Behaviours (Standard 8 – Fulfil wider professional responsibilities)
While the Early Career Framework is presented around the Teachers’ Standards for clarity, the Early Career Framework is not, and should not be used, as an assessment framework. Early career teachers will not be expected to collect evidence against the Early Career Framework, and they will continue to be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards only. The Early Career Framework will underpin an entitlement to training and support for early career teachers and should not be seen as an additional assessment tool. (Department for Education, 2019)
Why was it introduced?
Following successful completion of an Initial Teacher Training year, newly qualified teachers have always had to “complete” and induction period, demonstrating that they are continuing to meet the teacher standards across their practice. This generally involved termly observations from an Induction Lead and an evaluation of evidence that the teacher in question was meeting the standards effectively.
This process however, was not always consistent and the experience of new colleagues in their NQT year varied widely from region to region, local authority to local authority and even school to school. The DfE identified that too often, new teachers have not enjoyed the support they need to thrive, nor have they had adequate time to devote to their professional development. It was suggested that this contributed to the poor retention rates of teachers within England.
What does it mean for Early Career Teachers?
You will have a formal, structured induction period of two-years. Think of it as almost an extension to your training where you are now continuing to develop. In your first year of teaching, you are entitled to a reduced timetable of 80% of that of a standard classroom teacher. In your second year, you are also entitled to a reduced timetable of 85% of that of a standard classroom teacher. It is very important that you check your timetables (when you receive them) and make sure that you are receiving your entitlement. Your induction period will also have more structured, guided meetings with your mentor. You can find out what will be involved in these by looking through the resources from the accredited providers via the Core Induction Programme site. Depending on the approach your school takes, you may also receive training from one of these providers.
You will have two formal assessment periods – one at the end of Year One and one at the end of Year two. Formal assessment meetings should be informed by evidence gathered during progress reviews and assessment periods leading up to the formal assessment. This will consist of existing documents and working documents. There is no need for the ECT to create anything new for the formal assessment, they should draw from their work as a teacher and from their induction programme.
Evidencing your Progress
During your ECT year, you will need to track your evidence against the teacher standards the same way that you did in your training year - NOT THE ECF. This will not only help you to develop, but it will help inform your mentor meetings and also enable your ECT mentor to write your ECT report.
Some local authorities and schools have their own specific way of doing things so always check there first on how they want to see your standards evidenced, but there are some great resources out there that I have adapted for the ECTsI work with to demonstrate our evidence towards the standards.
You won't be able to utilise evidence from your PGCE/training year for your ECT year, it all has to be freshly collected evidence.
This bundle from msaghjohnson on TES: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/new-teachers-standards-evidence-tracker-template-6260122 is a great little package to get you started on evidencing what you have got.
Another example tracker is available from Twinkl https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/t-c-1586-evidencing-nqt-standards (but this may be more suited for mentor use rather than your own.) They also have a great set of resource packs for ECTs on how to structure your folders which contains some really useful bits and pieces, some of which you could make a start on now ready for September - these do tend to be aimed more at Primary teachers though, so secondary teachers may need to adapt them if using them https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/slt-secondary/teaching-learning-slt-secondary/nqt-standards-folder-teaching-learning-slt-secondary
There are also a number of local authorities who publish lists of the types of evidence that you can use to evidence your teacher standards. Some of the better ones are:
I created this guide for the trainees and ECTs I will be working with to help them evidence how they're meeting the teacher standards
You will need to be organised! Your mentor should be an experienced colleague who will have done the job for several years. They should be able to quickly point out to you where you have met a particular standard and which substandard it relates to. However, this may not always be the case so keep your PGCE/SCITT hat on when putting your standards folder together. Take photographs of student work, feedback, student feedback, classroom displays, report cards you've filled in - anything that shows evidence towards a substandard. It's a case of "more is more" and so the more you have to choose from, the better the quality of evidence you will have.