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The Early Career Framework: Useful links, resources and guidance

Written By: Cat Scutt
15 min read
Links to policy documents and articles about the Early Career Framework

The Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms set out a new requirement for a two-year programme of support and development for new teachers after they complete initial teacher training.

The ECF was released in January 2019, and became available to new teachers in early roll-out regions and to a select number of other schools from September 2020. It will be compulsory for all schools to provide a two-year, ECF-based programme of support for their newly qualified teachers from September 2021, either by engaging with government-funded training or through one of two approaches to delivering the ECF themselves – further details on this are provided below.

Schools will therefore need to be thinking about their approach over the coming months, and to support this, this page contains links to everything you need to know about the ECF, including information and resources around it, and blogs, articles and research presenting different views on it. This page has been updated with the latest information on 17th March 2021.

Some articles linked to may present opposing views, and should not be considered to be the view of the Chartered College; neither are we responsible for the accuracy of any resources linked to. The Department for Education (DfE)’s website is the best and most up-to-date source of official materials and guidance.

DfE policy, guidance and materials

The DfE’s official documents, resources and guidance can be found in a collection on their website. These include the Early Career Framework itself, an overview of the reforms around the Early Career Framework, and, crucially, details of changes to statutory induction that will apply from September 2021.

A brief summary of the reforms

The changes to statutory induction include the extension of the induction period to two years and the requirement for schools to provide a package of training and support covering the Early Career Framework. Appropriate Bodies’ role will be extended to also include checking the provision offered by schools to ensure that early career teachers are receiving support based on the Early Career Framework.

Schools have three options for how they deliver ECF support and training to Early Career Teachers. They can choose to take up a DfE-funded programme, knows as the ‘Full Induction Programme’, from one of 6 accredited providers, which includes training for both early career teachers and their mentors; they can choose to deliver their own training for Early Career Teachers and mentors, but using free, DfE-accredited materials and resources known as the ‘Core Induction Programme’; or they can choose to design and deliver their own two-year programme based on the Early Career Framework.

The first option is likely to be most appealing for most schools, as the training is fully funded by the DfE, and schools taking up this option also receive some additional funding for mentor time spent on the training that is not available to schools who choose to deliver their own ECF programme.


The DfE are providing funding to enable schools to successfully support Early Career Teachers through delivery of the Early Career Framework.

As induction will now last for two years, the DfE is providing funding for the new requirement of 5% off-timetable for early career teachers for the second year of induction, and for 20 hours of time for the mentor of each early career teacher for the second year of induction. The amount of funding available to schools is based on average salary costs, and is £1,200 for the Early Career Teacher’s time (£1,500 in inner London, £1,400 in outer London and £1,300 in London Fringe); and £900 for the mentor’s time (£1,100 in inner and outer London). Schools Week noted that the total funding for each school is slightly lower than was initially pledged due to the pay freeze affecting projected average salaries.

This funding is available to all state schools undertaking statutory induction and will be received as a single payment in the summer of the second year of induction, based on data provided in the School Workforce Census. Schools will continue to fund time off-timetable and mentor time for the first year, as they do currently.

Schools who choose to take up the DfE-funded, provider-led ‘Full Induction Programme’ from one of the 6 accredited providers also receive some extra funding. Firstly, the programme they take up is itself fully-funded, with the providers paid directly by the DfE. Secondly, these schools receive additional funding for the time that the mentors of early career teachers will need to spend on training with the provider; this consist of 36 hours of backfill time over two years per mentor.

Accredited ‘Full Induction Programme’ Providers

There are 6 accredited providers that schools can choose to work with if they wish to take up the option of a DfE-funded, provider-led ‘Full Induction Programme’. Four of these – Ambition Institute, Education Development Trust, Teach First and UCL Institute of Education – also offered a programme during early roll-out from September 2020, with Best Practice Network and Capita with lead academic partner the University of Birmingham beginning delivery from September 2021.

These 6 national providers will work with local delivery partners in different areas, including with new Teaching School Hubs. The relationships between national providers and local delivery partners are currently being established, so you may wish to talk to your local Teaching School Hub after Easter about which national provider they are planning to work with. If you want to learn more about the role of Teaching School Hubs, this blog from Ambition Institute is useful.

Ambition Institute

As well as the information about the programme on their websites, they have produced a quick PDF introduction to the ECF and their programme. The teacher handbook and mentor handbook that accompany their programme are also available to buy at cost. As an early roll-out provider, their Core Induction Programme materials that schools can choose to use to deliver an ECF programme themselves, are available now free from the DfE.

Best Practice Network

Best Practice Network (and their Outstanding Leaders Partnership arm) have extensive information about their programme on their website.

Capita with lead academic partner the University of Birmingham

Capita have information about their programme on their website.

Education Development Trust

Education Development Trust are working with Sheffield Hallam Institute of Education to deliver their programme, and have provided a range of  information on their website. As an early roll-out provider, their Core Induction Programme materials that schools can choose to use to deliver an ECF programme themselves, are available now free from the DfE.

Teach First

Teach First have information about their programme on their website. As an early roll-out provider, their Core Induction Programme materials that schools can choose to use to deliver an ECF programme themselves, are available now free from the DfE.

UCL Institute of Education

UCL Institute of Education have information about their programme on their website. As an early roll-out provider, their Core Induction Programme materials that schools can choose to use to deliver an ECF programme themselves, are available now free from the DfE.

Lessons learnt from pilots and early roll-out

In 2019-20, the Education Endowment Foundation funded pilots of early career support from the Chartered College and Ambition Institute based around the Early Career Framework, to increase what we know about effective delivery of this kind of support.

The evaluation of these pilots, carried out by UCL, is now available from the EEF; a UCL blog also summarised key findings. Mark Hardman, part of the evaluation team at UCL, also wrote a blog based on the evaluation highlighting some of the things that will be important in order for the Early Career Framework to be successful.

The ECF became available to new teachers in early roll-out regions (Greater Manchester, Bradford and Doncaster, and the North East), and to a select number of other schools, from September 2020. The early roll-out will be evaluated by NFER.

Elisabeth Bowling, ECF lead at a school participating in the early roll-out, blogged about her experiences after the first term of early roll-out, and provides helpful advice for schools planning for next year.

Anna MacLeod, an early career teacher at a school participating in the early roll-out, has blogged for the DfE on her experiences.

Reuben Moore has also written for Trust Journal about what Teach First learnt from their early roll-out programme.

Preparing for the ECF

In April 2021, The Chartered College of Teaching have an online Q&A event with the DfE for members. This will also be available for members to watch afterwards. Our recent Member Update, which members can watch again now, also included a short presentation from the DfE on the Early Career Framework.

This blog by Sam Twiselton and Linda Thomson looks at how to support Early Career Teachers to thrive through the ECF.

This SchoolsWeek article by Cat Scutt highlights the importance of school culture in enabling the ECF to be effective.

This webinar recording from Zen Educate at the end of 2020 includes Sam Twiselton, Mike Tonge, Victoria Unsworth and Helen Woodward discussing how the ECF works and how schools can be ready to support early career teachers, as well as how trainee teachers have had their training affected by the pandemi. This blog summarises key points from the webinar.

Alexandra Metcalfe-Hume’s LinkedIn article on the ECF is aimed at helping new teachers understand what to expect.

Resources around the ECF

The DfE-accredited ‘Core Induction Programmes’ of resources and materials that schools can choose to use to deliver the ECF programme themselves (if they do not wish to take up the provider-led approach or to design their own programme) are already available online now. There are four different programmes available, one developed by each of the providers involved in the early roll-out. Even schools who plan to take up the provider-led approach, or who plan to design and deliver their own programme, may find these useful and / or may wish to use in other professional development offers or ahead of the ECF roll-out). These materials have been quality assured by the Education Endowment Foundation.

The Chartered College has published an ECF Handbook with SAGE, including chapters from teachers and researchers covering a whole range of topics in the ECF. This will be useful both for Early Career Teachers and their mentors, and for those responsible for early career teacher development. Discounts are available for Chartered College members. You can find out more on the Chartered College website.

The Chartered College of Teaching’s Early Career Hub also has a wide range of resources, including article, videos and external links, organised by Early Career Framework area. These are designed specifically for Early Career Teachers but will also be useful for their mentors and for those responsible for early career teacher development, and there are some resources specifically for people in these roles.

This spreadsheet version of the Early Career Framework content may be helpful for easy copying, pasting and formatting; it was created by Hannah Tyreman at the Chartered College of Teaching. She has also created ‘Wakelet’ collections of easy links to all of the references for each section of the Early Career Framework:


Haili Hughes has published a book on mentoring with Crown House, aligned to the Early Career Framework, which may be of interest to those who will be mentoring Early Career Teachers. Chartered College members can get a 30% discount on books from Crown House, including this one.

Twinkl have produced a free resource designed to explain the ECF to governors, as well as other resources explaining the changes to induction.


ITT Core Content Resources that may also be useful:

This visual summary of advice on managing behaviour from Tom Bennett was designed to accompany the ITT Core Content framework but has crossover to the ECF.

This blog from the Bell Foundation is designed to support ITT providers in how to support quality teaching for EAL learners in their training.

Coaching, mentoring and the ECF

Jonathan Doherty’s guest blog looks at coaching and mentoring and why the are vital in the Early Career Framework.

Tracey Smith’s blog for the University of Buckingham explores why high quality training for mentors is key for both the ECF and effective ITT.

Deb King’s blog for Teach First outlines what mentors may gain from the ECF.

Haili Hughes’ blog for Iris Connect looks at why mentoring is so important within the ECF and how early career teachers can be best supported.

Reviews and research linked to the ECF

These reviews, blogs and articles look at research around early career teacher development and specifically how this relates to the ECF:

Peps McCrea at Ambition Institute has produced an ‘expert edit‘ summarising research around supporting Early Career Teachers and how this relates to the ECF.

An article by Cat Scutt for CST’s Trust Journal looks at priorities for policy and practice in early career teacher development.

An article by NfER staff for SecEd looks at how early career teachers can be retained in schools and how this might link to the ECF.

A blog by Rachel Lofthouse looks at the challenges and opportunities for mentoring through the ECF.

A SchoolsWeek article by Harry Fletcher-Wood reviews the evidence of the best ways to support early career teachers.

A SchoolsWeek article by Hannah Tyreman looks at what good online professional development looks like in relation to the ECF.

Hannah Breeze’s blog for the RSA, while not specifically around the ECF, looks at the impact of COVID-19 on new teachers and how we can best support them.

Views on the ECF

A number of people have expressed views on the Early Career Framework (including on the content of the Framework and on the reforms around it).

These blogs and articles have been written relatively recently, since the early roll-out of the Early Career Framework has begun:

A blog from Ambition highlighting six benefits to the ECF for teachers and mentors.

Julia Rodwell’s blog for the DfE explains why her school signed up for the ECF early roll-out.

Sam Twiselton’s article for FED explores the challenges in teacher retention and why the ECF and ITT core content framework could be important in tackling these.


These blogs and articles were written before the early roll-out of the Early Career Framework began:

The DfE’s Gareth Conyard wrote for the Trust Journal in 2020 explaining why the ECF is so important and how the roll-out would work.

Paul Kirschner and Mirjam Neelen’s blog reflecting on why they believe England is leading the way in some areas of teaching policy, including the Early Career Framework

John Collis’ article for SecEd looking at the way his TSA used the ECF as a starting point for a collaborative action research project.


These blogs and articles were written around or soon after the initial announcements of the Early Career Framework:

Two teachers’ reflections for Tes on being part of the DfE’s advisory group for teacher career progression and the ECF, and the development of the ECF.

A SchoolsWeek article by Clare Sealy explaining why she thinks the ECF is so important.

Phil Naylor’s blog about the ECF for Teacher Toolkit looking at why he thinks it is an important paradigm-shift.

A letter to DfE from a wide group of subject associations arguing for the importance of subject-specificity in ECF delivery.

A SchoolsWeek article by UCET’s James Noble-Rogers suggesting that ITE providers are best placed to deliver the ECF.

A Tes article by Leora Cruddas giving her views on the new ECF and its value.

A report by the University of Sunderland summarising discussions with stakeholders at a consultation event they held to discuss the Early Career Framework as it was being developed.

A website post by Anne Watson, former professor of Maths education at the University of Oxford, critiquing some of the references in the ECF from the perspective of maths teaching.

A SchoolsWeek article by Karen Wespieser challenging the lack of focus on SEND in teacher CPD in general, and specifically the ECF.

A blog for Teach First by Reuben Moore explaining why he thinks the ECF will be valuable for new teachers.

A SchoolsWeek article by David Spendlove arguing that the new ECF is unambitious.

An article by Emma Hollis for Education Executive, exploring the potential of the ECF and what it means for schools. This summary by Academy Today of a talk she gave that touches on the ECF is also useful.

A blog by Nottingham Institute of Education’s Chris Rolph presenting his initial views on the ECF.

A blog by Leeds Beckett’s Jonathan Glazzard outlining his views on the ECF.

A podcast from a panel discussion at the Schools and Academies show in 2019 with Debbie Clinton, Emma Hollis and Reuben Moore discussing the ECF and early career teacher support.

Background and related policy

The ECF reforms are linked to other areas of DfE policy to create a coherent landscape for education. Some of the relationships are outlined in the resources linked below.

The development of the ECF policy:

This Tes article by journalist Helen Ward charts the path that has led to the DfE’s current focus on early career teacher support.

Cat Scutt’s article for the Chartered College of Teaching’s Early Career Hub explains how the ECF was developed, from the perspective of someone on the DfE’s advisory group around the ECF.

The 2018 DfE consultation on strengthening QTS and teacher career progression was where the idea of the ECF was first proposed. The outcomes of the consultation and the DfE’s response are also available.

The Chartered College CEO, Alison Peacock, wrote for SchoolsWeek reflecting on the government’s response to the consultation, highlighting the importance of initiatives like the ECF being properly funded and not adding to teacher workload.


The ECF and the Recruitment and Retention strategy:

The ECF forms a key part of the DfE’s recruitment and retention strategy; you can also read a summary of key points from the DfE’s Recruitment and Retention strategy from Teacher Development Trust, and look at a transcript of the House of Commons debate from January 2019 around the Recruitment and Retention strategy.

Several well-known education commentators wrote blogs and articles responding to the publication of the Recruitment and Retention strategy, including CFEY’s Loic Menzies, SSAT’s Tom Middlehurst, John Blake and Stephen Tierney.


The ECF and the ITT Core Content Framework:

The DfE’s new ITT Core Content Framework is also designed to dovetail with the ECF, and the new NPQ in Leading Teacher Development will help to develop in-school expertise in supporting early career teachers.

This Schools Week article by JL Dutaut from 2020 looks at the ITT Core Content Framework and its relationship to the ECF, while a podcast from Cornerstones Education from the same year talked to Professor Sam Twiselton about the ECF and the ITT core content framework.

A BERA blog from Keith Turvey and colleagues, criticising the narrowness of the focus of the new ITT framework; although this is not about the ECF, similar reference lists mean these criticisms have also been applied to the ECF.

Policy elsewhere:

This BERA blog looks at how policy is developing around early career teachers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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