Our last blog talked of the importance of continual professional development for teachers. Many early career teachers in England have been benefitting from exactly this with the piloting of the Early Career Framework (ECF) in this school year.

In the run-up to the full implementation of the ECF from September 2021, we thought it would be worth looking at its impact so far.

Our first key finding was that despite pilot programmes having been in place for almost a year, awareness of the Early Career Framework is low. A survey conducted by TeacherTapp for the Chartered College of Teaching found that 75% of teachers felt that they were not ‘well informed’ about the new programme. This is perhaps unsurprising given the focus schools and teachers have needed to cope with the COVID pandemic.

So, what evidence is there that the ECF will benefit schools?

Well, before the national pilot programme took place, a number of early trials were evaluated and the results published by the Education Endowment Foundation. It found that the programmes were generally seen as useful, with the biggest challenge being the amount of time needed for mentors to effectively deliver the programme . Whether schools have the capacity to effectively deliver mentoring has also been questioned by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT).

One of the organisations that has been delivering the pilot programme across England is the UCL Institute of Education. It reports positive feedback from schools and headteachers – headteacher Joanne May said that mentees ‘really like the accessible language and that all the tasks were broken down into things that really matter in their classroom and that they show impact for children’. Deputy Head Cathy Young said, ‘I feel quite envious of Early Career Teachers and wish I’d had something like that when I started teaching’.

Two teachers with experience of the Early Career Framework have also shared their experiences online. Elisabeth Bowling blogged on Medium while Reuben Moore wrote an article for Trust Journal. Both teachers came to similar conclusions. They saw significant positive impact - praising the ambition and ideas of the programme as well as the use of low-stakes discussions over high-stakes observations - but also identified challenges for those delivering it, especially around managing their workload alongside day-to-day teaching.

We need to sell the ‘why’ first. The ECF underpins an investment in professional learning for new teachers to help them improve further. That is good for schools and the pupils they serve as well as the individual.
Reuben Moore

ONVU Learning is working with schools and trusts to support the Early Career Framework and wider training and development by introducing video-based learning – this means teachers can record, analyse and share real lessons and continually improve teaching and learning. This includes...

  • Video Lesson Observation: Sharing video footage cuts down travel time as well as making it easier for mentors to respond quickly to issues in the classroom. See how we worked with early career teacher Nathan Price in this case study
  • Self-reflection tools: Having a language to describe classroom issues is very important in a mentoring programme, as it can be too easy to talk in general terms (‘I had a bad lesson’) rather than analysing what actually happened and identifying changes that could be made. Our ONVU Learning’s self-reflection tool, Reflect, trains teachers and mentors to do this, as well as allowing easy annotation of video footage.


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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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