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Supporting Early Career Teachers to thrive in their first year – A guide for secondary schools

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The research team behind an ESRC-funded project to support trainee and Early Career Teachers who have trained during the pandemic have produced a free Guide for Secondary Schools.

The aim of this guide is to provide evidence and guidance to assist schools’ efforts in supporting those Early Career Teachers (ECTs) who have trained during the 2019- 2020 and 2020-2021 academic years, whose training has been profoundly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These teachers are now working in secondary schools across the UK, and are therefore in need of practical, targeted advice and support to improve their classroom readiness, strengthen their practice and ultimately improve their chances of staying in the profession.

The findings and recommendations presented here are based on evidence gathered in a dedicated research project run by a research team from King’s College London, led by Dr Simon Gibbons and Dr Elizabeth Rushton. They draw on over 140 survey responses and interviews with secondary school trainee teachers, school leaders, mentors and university tutors conducted between September 2020 and July 2021.

The wider research project assesses the impact of the substantial changes caused by COVID-19 to Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and makes recommendations to mitigate the adverse effects, maintain and extend the positive developments to practice and provide ECTs with ongoing support. The focus is on teacher quality, classroom readiness and the retention of secondary school ECTs, who completed their ITE programmes during 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. The global pandemic comes at a time when, in the UK, the retention of secondary school teachers continues to be an area of concern for policy makers, school leaders and ITE providers, with persistent shortages in subjects including chemistry, computing, mathematics, modern foreign languages and physics. Despite the recent increase in applications to ITE, research suggests that teacher supply gaps are unlikely to close.

This guide for schools shares early findings from the first phase of research; subsequent recommendations will be shared in 2022.

You can download the guide below, and for more information please visit the project website: Sustaining teacher quality and retention post-pandemic.