Impact Journal Logo

Supporting teachers in their early careers

Written by: Nick Gibb
4 min read
Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards, UK

The last year has thrown up so many new and unexpected challenges to us all. It has been a difficult time for the whole country, not least for schools and for young people. With very little notice or time to plan, heads and teachers, alongside parents at home, have had to deliver and support teaching remotely. And, as usual, the profession has responded magnificently. This has not been a surprise to me.

We all know the difference that inspirational and excellent teaching makes and that high-quality teaching is the main way in which we can improve pupil outcomes. It is also central to closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers (Slater et al., 2011; Chetty et al., 2014). That is why we are working hard to deliver on the vison that we set out in our Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy (DfE, 2019): to create a world-class system of training and professional development for all teachers that draws on the best evidence and helps them to develop their expertise, hone their craft, build their confidence and deliver great teaching.

There is no more important area for us to get right than the support that we give to new teachers. While we continue to attract record numbers of teachers to the profession, and the pandemic has seen a positive increase in applications to become a teacher, we have struggled to keep enough early career teachers in the profession. We cannot rely on recruitment alone to ensure that we have a great teacher in every classroom.

While many schools provide excellent support and development, too many new teachers feel unsupported and insufficiently equipped to make the difference to their pupils’ lives that inspired them to come into the profession. As a consequence, over 20 per cent of new teachers leave the profession within the first two years and a third leave within the first five years (DfE, 2019). The government is determined to stem this waste of talent and ambition by transforming the experience of new teachers in the first years of their career. The new Early Career Framework (DfE, 2021) is designed to transform the experience of new teachers at the start of their careers and it is being rolled out across the country from this September.

The Early Career Framework reforms will double the statutory induction period to two years and give all new teachers an entitlement to funded, structured support and professional development, rooted in evidence-based approaches to teaching practice verified by the Education Endowment Foundation.

The longer induction period means that teachers will have more time to benefit from structured support and to develop their expertise and confidence. This is underpinned by a five per cent timetable reduction in their second year of teaching, funded by the Department for Education, in addition to the 10 per cent timetable reduction that they already get in their first year.

Just as in other professions, such as medicine and law, teachers in the early stages of their career need structured support to begin the journey to building expertise. We want the Early Career Framework to be an extension of initial teacher training, so that all new teachers receive three years of high-quality training at the start of their careers.

A key aspect of the most effective teacher induction around the world is mentoring; indeed, it is a compulsory element of induction programmes in almost all education systems where induction is regulated (Eurydice, 2018). Early career teachers themselves recognise the ‘invaluable’ role that mentors play (Ginnis et al., 2018). And so high-quality mentoring is a critical element of the Early Career Framework, ensuring that there is a dedicated mentor for every new teacher entering the classroom.

Research has shown that a lack of protected time for mentors to spend with their mentees and low-quality mentoring can pose a challenge for schools trying to successfully offer consistent advice for new teachers (Walker et al., 2018). These reforms directly address this by increasing funding for mentors to spend time with their mentees.

It is clear from global best practice that the most effective induction programmes for early career teachers are made up of multiple training and professional development activities. Evidence also shows that new teachers who receive a comprehensive package of support are more likely to stay in the profession than those who don’t (Smith and Ingersoll, 2004).

We have appointed six experienced and highly effective training providers who will play a pivotal role in delivering these induction programmes from this September: Ambition Institute; Best Practice Network; Capita, with lead academic partner the University of Birmingham; Education Development Trust; the Institute of Education; and Teach First. They will work with the new network of 87 Teaching School Hubs to ensure that the professional development offered to new teachers is well structured and evidence based. The programmes will be comprehensive and include training in pupil behaviour management, teaching pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and professional ethics.

Schools can, if they wish, deliver early career teacher and mentor training themselves. In order to support this, the Department for Education has accredited freely available materials that outline exactly what the induction programmes should cover.

We are determined to use the challenges of the past year to build back better and to make sure that England is the best place in the world to become a great teacher.


Chetty R, Friedman JN and Rockoff JE (2014) Measuring the impacts of teachers II: Teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood. American Economic Review 104(9): 2633–2679.

Department for Education (DfE) (2019) Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy. Available at: (accessed 6 April 2021).

Department for Education (DfE) (2021) Early career framework reforms: Overview. Available at: (accessed 6 April 2021).

Eurydice (2018) Teaching careers in Europe: Access, progression and support. Available at: (accessed 6 April 2021).

Ginnis S, Pestell G, Mason E et al. (2018) Newly qualified teachers: Annual survey 2017: Research report. DfE and GSR. Available at: (accessed 6 April 2021).

Slater H, Davies NM and Burgess S (2011) Do teachers matter? Measuring the variation in teacher effectiveness in England. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 74(5): 629–645.

Smith TM and Ingersoll R (2004) What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover? American Educational Research Journal 41(3): 681–714.

Walker M, Straw S, Worth J et al. (2018) Early career CPD: Exploratory research. Available at: (accessed 15 April 2021).


      0 0 votes
      Please Rate this content
      Notify of
      Inline Feedbacks
      View all comments

      From this issue

      Impact Articles on the same themes

      Author(s): Bill Lucas