What is the Early Career Framework (ECF)?

From Autumn 2021 all early career teachers in England will receive professional development and support for the first two years in the classroom, rather than the one at present.

Why is the ECF being introduced?

There are a number of reasons given for the introduction of the ECF. These include:

  • The pressing need to retain early career teachers. In 2019, at the time the ECF was being planned, more than one in six (15.3%) of teachers in England were leaving the profession after just one year of teaching[1]
  • The need to open up career development. The ECF will link to future development opportunities for teachers outside of pastoral or academic leadership including the reformed National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)[2]
  • New research into what works in the classroom. There is clear evidence that reflective coaching as well as sharing best practice can help early career teachers if delivered in a structured way

When will the Early Career Framework be introduced nationally?

The ECF will launch nationally in September 2021. Pilot programmes are currently being run with 5,000 teachers in North East England, Greater Manchester, Bradford and Doncaster.

What will the ECF offer teachers and schools?

The ECF includes £130 million of funding per year for teachers and schools, working out at between £2,100 and £2,600 per student[3]. This will cover the costs of mentoring and training programmes, curriculum and training materials and an 5% reduction in teaching time for second-year teachers.  Each teacher will have a mentor for both ECF years.

What areas does the framework cover?

The framework covers eight areas that match the existing eight Teachers’ Standards that NQTs are currently assessed against.  These are to:

  • Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils
  • Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
  • Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Plan and teach well-structured lessons
  • Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils
  • Make accurate and productive use of assessment
  • Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment
  • Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

Does this mean it will take longer for teachers to pass induction?

Yes, the NQT period will be increased to two years and teachers will be formally assessed against the Teachers’ Standards at the end of each year, with progress reviews in each term. The framework itself is not a new assessment.

How will schools deliver the ECF?

Schools must deliver the ECF but can choose from three options…

  1. Use a nationally-funded training provider to design and deliver the ECF – these are Ambition Institute, Best Practice Network, Capita (with the University of Birmingham), the Education Development Trust, Teach First and the UCL Institute of Education.
  2. Use free, accredited materials provided by the Department of Education to deliver their own Early Career Framework.
  3. Design and deliver their own programme based on the Early Career Framework.

What are the benefits for teachers and schools?

Early career teachers often leave (or consider leaving) the profession due to the demands of moving from a supportive training environment into an almost full-time teaching job. The early career framework reduces the number of lessons taught, provides research-based practical ideas to help with issues such as behaviour and lesson structure, and provides supportive low-stakes mentoring.  It also reduces the pressure on the first year in school by creating a two-year pathway.

Schools often also find it difficult to fully support early career teachers, either due to lack of experienced mentors, lack of time, or a lack of understanding of the role of mentors. The ECF provides all this.

How will ONVU Learning help schools deliver the ECF?

Discreet, 360-degree video lesson observation is a powerful tool for capturing and sharing real classroom information with mentors without the ‘Hawthorne Effect’ caused when the presence of an observer affects a lesson. It also allows trainees and mentors to focus on different aspects of the same lesson – for example how well a teacher delivered new information as well as behaviour management.

Where can I go to find more information?

You can find the latest Government documents at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-career-framework


  1. https://www.tes.com/news/one-three-teachers-leaves-within-five-years
  2. https://schoolsweek.co.uk/dfe-names-providers-for-new-school-leader-npqs/
  3. https://schoolsweek.co.uk/dfe-cuts-early-career-framework-funding-rates/
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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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