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Webinar: Q&A with the DfE: Early Career Framework (ECF)

A presentation and Q&A on the Early Career Framework

In this webinar chaired by Professor Dame Alison Peacock (Chief Executive, Chartered College of Teaching), we heard from Gareth Conyard (Deputy Director, Department for Education) and Frances Blurton (Assistant Director, Department for Education) who provided information regarding the roll out of the Early Career Framework.

Suggested resources:

Questions from the event:

Q1: Guidance says automatic extension if absence goes beyond 30 days each year. How does that work? If they have 31 days off in year one does it get added at the end of year one before they can start year two or to the end? If added to the end it affects them differently due to the 10% or 5% off timetable and access to CPD in year one. Or are the days over two years added together and if over 60 added on the end? E.g. Can an ECT have 50 days off in year one and none in year two and still not get an extension.

A: 30+ days of absences in either year of induction would trigger an automatic extension. The extensions should be added to the corresponding part of induction, e.g. if a teacher is absent for 35 days in year 1, the extension should be added to the end of year 1.

Q2: So an ECT will have a mentor tutor and also an induction tutor? What is the induction tutor’s role? You mentioned assessments, but what time will be necessary for the Induction tutor?

A: The mentor and the induction tutor are two discrete roles with differing responsibilities, and it is expected that these roles should be held by different individuals. Induction tutors will continue to have a similar role to what they do currently and should provide regular monitoring , support, and coordination of assessment. The induction tutor will need to be able to make rigorous and fair judgements about the ECT’s progress in relation to the Teachers’ Standards. They will need to be able to recognise when early action is needed in the case of an ECT who is experiencing difficulties. When appointing the induction tutor the headteacher should ensure that the induction tutor has the ability and sufficient time to carry out their role effectively.

Q3: In Progress Reviews, would it be appropriate to focus under Q2 in the template, progress with reference to the modules studied in that term?

A: Yes, this information may be included. Q2 on the progress review template should include a brief summary of the existing evidence collected and considered by the induction tutor.

Q4: I understand that an ITT student will meet the Teachers’ Standards. How is this different to the assessment points for ECTs? If they still have to meet the Teachers’ Standards – does this mean that they now have 2 years to meet the Teachers’ Standards or does that mean that the bar has increased regarding meeting the Teachers’ Standards?

A: New teachers will continue to be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards. Following a programme based on the ECF should make it easier for teachers to demonstrate they have met those standards at the end of induction.
The Teachers’ Standards set out a basic framework within which all teachers should operate from the point of initial qualification. The standards themselves do not specify any new or different elements to the expectations placed on ECTs beyond those required for the award of QTS. The decision about whether an ECT has met the standards to a satisfactory level at the end of their induction therefore needs to be made on the basis of what should reasonably be expected of an ECT working in the relevant setting and circumstances, within the framework set out by the standards. That judgement should reflect the expectation that ECT have effectively consolidated their training, and are demonstrating their ability to meet the standards consistently over a sustained period in their practice.
As their careers progress, teachers will be expected to extend the depth and breadth of knowledge, skill and understanding that they demonstrate in meeting the standards, as is judged to be appropriate to the role they are fulfilling and the context in which they are working.

Q5: Why does the funding for time off timetable only cover the 5% time in the second year?

A: Year one funding is already included in the National Funding Formula so schools will continue to receive this as normal.

Q6: Where/how is the funding for both years of the induction accessed by schools to cover the induction tutor role? Will there be additional funding for the tutor role in year 2?

A: There is no additional funding provided for the role of induction tutor. There are however two types of mentor funding available to schools for delivery of the Early Career Framework:
1. For schools who opt for the funded provider-led programme £800 – £990 is paid per mentor per year and is for 36 hours of backfill time over two years for the mentor to attend the provider-led mentor training.
2. Approximately £900 – £1,100 depending on region will be paid to state schools providing statutory induction and is funding for mentors to spend with ECTs in the second year of induction. It is available to all state schools regardless of which delivery approach they choose to provide an ECF based induction.

Q7: Hi, thanks for the presentation this evening! Is there an expectation from September that mentors as part of Yr1 support are given time to support ECTs?

A: Mentors are expected to regularly meet with ECTs for structured mentor sessions to provide effective targeted feedback over the course of a two-year induction. When selecting the mentor, the headteacher should ensure that the mentor has the ability and sufficient time to carry out their role effectively.
All state funded schools will receive funding for mentors to spend with early career teachers in the second year of induction – this is based on 20 hours of mentoring across the academic year. For those on the Full Induction Programme, there will be a payment to schools for the time that mentors of early career teachers spend on Department-funded mentor training, which will consist of 36 hours of backfill time over two years per mentor.

Q8: Sorry…continued…does funding cover weekly mentor sessions in Y1 and Y2?

A: There are two types of mentor funding available to schools for delivery of the Early Career Framework:
1. For schools who opt for the funded provider-led programme £800 – £990 is paid per mentor per year and is for 36 hours of backfill time over two years for the mentor to attend the provider-led mentor training.
2. Approximately £900 – £1,100 depending on region will be paid to state schools providing statutory induction and is funding for mentors to spend with ECTs in the second year of induction. It is available to all state schools regardless of which delivery approach they choose to provide an ECF based induction.

Q9: Do you expect and fund each ECT to have their own separate mentor or do you expect one mentor to have several mentees – thinking of large secondaries with 10 plus ECTs

A: It is at each school’s discretion as to who should mentor each early career teacher–there is no requirement that there be one mentor for all ECTs within a school – see the statutory induction guidance for further information. The DfE has committed to funding up to a 1:1 ratio. This means there is one funded mentor place for each ECT registered.

Q10: Can mentors train even if you have no ECTs? If a school has no ECTs next year but a Yr2 ECT joins the school the year after, how do mentors keep up to date?

A: Mentoring is a very important element of the induction process and it is the school’s responsibility to ensure an appropriate mentor is in place to provide support to effectively meet the needs of every early career teacher.

High quality support will be available to mentors, and funding will be provided to cover mentors’ time with the mentee in the second year of teaching.

It is not compulsory under the ECF for mentors to receive provider-led training. However, in recognition of the importance of the mentor role for a successful induction, for those schools taking up the opportunity of provider-led training, we have offered the ECT and mentor training as a ‘bundle’ to support mentor familiarity with both the ECF and mentoring techniques which will complement the ECT programme. This funding will only be available when the ECT is undertaking provider-led training, so mentors are not able to access the funded training prior to a school taking on an ECT.

Schools and Trusts are welcome to communicate directly with the provider if they would like to fund additional mentor placements as part of the provider-led training, subject to provider capacity.

If mentors do complete provider-led training, we do not expect that they will need to undertake this again to work with ECTs under the current framework.

Q11: I understand that there is funding for ECT mentors and the entitlement for ECTs. There does not appear to be anything for ITT, specifically for school based mentors? I wonder if there is a disconnect here?

A: Since September 2020, new trainee teachers benefit from the mandatory ambitious minimum entitlement set out in the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework (2019), describing the fundamental knowledge and skills that all new entrants to the profession need to effectively teach and support all children. The ITT Core Content Framework will work coherently with the Early Career Framework to ensure all new teachers entitled to at least 3 years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into induction.

While we do not provide specific funding for ITT mentors, it is instead up to providers to decide how they allocate funding in their courses, which may include funding for mentor training, there is a strong emphasis on trainees receiving clear, consistent and effective mentoring throughout the framework. We expect providers and their partnerships to use the revised ITT Core Content Framework to craft a coherent and well-sequenced curriculum that meet the particular needs of their trainees and the context in which they are training to teach.

Q12: Will funding payments be made directly to schools – or will it go to local authorities?

A: All state funded schools offering statutory induction will receive additional funding to deliver the ECF reforms. The funding will cover:
• 5% off timetable in the second year of induction for all early career teachers to undertake induction activities including training and mentoring
• funding for mentors to spend with early career teachers in the second year of induction – this is based on 20 hours of mentoring across the academic year
State schools undertaking statutory induction will receive a single payment for their early career teachers and mentors in the summer of the second year of induction.

Q13: How will an Independent School be able to access the ECF training? What will the cost be to them?

A: The statutory induction guidance sets out the three approaches schools can choose from to deliver an ECF-based induction. It is up to the headteacher to choose the approach that best meets the needs of their early career teacher(s) and mentor(s).
Institutions which are eligible to offer statutory induction, are not state funded (for example, independent schools) and want to offer their ECTs the provider-led programme may enter into arrangements with lead providers directly to access the Full Induction Programme. This is subject solely to the agreement of the lead provider and the institution.
Where agreement cannot be reached these institutions will be able to deliver their own training using the freely available DfE accredited materials and resources or design and deliver their own programmes. In such instances the appropriate body will be responsible for ensuring the ECT receives a programme of training and support based on the ECF.

Q14: Please can you explain more about how the provider-led training will work

A: For the provider-led option Schools can choose to work with a provider accredited by the DfE who will design and deliver a programme of face-to-face and online training to early career teachers and their mentors. In September 2020 DfE ran a competitive procurement and awarded contracts to six successful Lead Providers:
• Ambition Institute
• Best Practice Network (home of Outstanding Leaders Partnership)
• Capita with lead academic partner the University of Birmingham
• Education Development Trust
• Teach First
• UCL Institute of Education

Their programmes will cover all elements of the Early Career Framework, utilising their expertise to design self-directed study materials, mentor session materials and training for both ECTs and their mentors. In addition, all lead providers will be subject to a quality assurance mechanism through Ofsted inspection to ensure the best support for schools and teachers. There may be variation in the order that topics are covered but each programme will take approximately the same number of hours.
This programme is funded by DfE. Providers will be paid directly so schools will not face any payment burdens. There will be additional funding for schools using a provider-led programme for the time mentors of early career teachers will spend on the provider-led mentor training. This will consist of 36 hours of backfill time over two years per mentor.
You can review the core induction content which underpins all lead provider programmes here.
Further information on each lead provider’s offer is available via

Q15: If schools choose the core induction programme, do schools choose the provider and use materials from there or is there a set of accredited materials that are for ‘core’ use?

A: If a school decides to choose the core induction programme, they will be able to use freely available DfE accredited materials, which includes ready to use materials and resources for new teachers and mentors, to deliver their own ECT and mentor support. These materials have been accredited by the Department for Education and quality assured by the Education Endowment Foundation.
The Department for Education has selected four expert teacher training providers who have each developed their own core induction programme based on the ECF:
• Ambition Institute
• Education Development Trust
• Teach First
• UCL Early Career Teacher Consortium
Although structured differently, each programme contains approximately the same amount of self-study material in terms of hours covered. Schools can use or draw upon any of four core induction programmes in whichever way is most beneficial to them and their early career teachers.

Q16: What happens to ECT who begin teaching late eg; Spring Term starters. Do they miss out on term one training?

A: Headteachers should ensure that ECTs can access an ECF based induction regardless of what point in the year they start their teaching post.
For those on a provider-led programme, every lead provider will have a policy on how to support ECTs who join their school during the academic year. It is the responsibility of the provider and its delivery partners to support mentors and ECTs in this circumstance by providing training. This means that ECTs should be able to start their induction outside of the September window.

Q17: In our LA we also had a holistic programme of support for our NQTs such as information on financing, pensions, unions and supported NQT with their health and wellbeing. In the past we have supported NQT who were sofa surfing at the beginning of the term who hadn’t been paid yet etc – where is the place for this in the programme?

A: The ECF reforms do not restrict a school’s or LA’s ability to provide additional CPD to their teachers. Schools and LAs can continue to provide additional holistic support and CPD to ECTs separate to their statutory induction requirements.

Q18: Have you any sense of how those ECT teaching in schools for pupils with learning difficulties will be able to network with others in similar settings as this is often missing for these teachers both in ITT and in the current induction period.

A: As part of the provider-led programmes there will be an opportunity for ECTs to network with other ECTs on the programme, including those in similar settings.

Q19: Will all providers be able to support early teachers who are based in special schools?

A: The Early Career Framework underpins what all early career teachers should learn about and learn how to do based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence. It covers five core areas: behaviour management, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and professional behaviours and is designed to work for all ECTs regardless of subject, phase and / or school. The lead providers have ensured that there are materials and exemplification for primary and secondary schools and different subjects.

Q20: When will the digital platform be accessible to schools and how?

A: We are proceeding with the roll out of the online service. From the end of April, schools will begin to be contacted asking them to nominate their induction tutor on the service if they have decided to use an approved training provider (Full Induction Programme FIP) or the DfE-accredited materials (Core Induction Programme CIP).

Q21: When schools sign up for their chosen induction programme via DfE online service, will this info be fed back to Hub/delivery partner so that planning can get started with Provider?

A: Schools will confirm directly with lead providers and delivery partners that they wish to work with them. Lead providers will update the online service with details of the schools they have agreed to work with.

Q22: How long will the digital portal be open for schools to decide provider?

A: Schools won’t use the online service to decide their provider, they will instead sign up directly with providers. Once signed up, this will be reflected on the online service. In order to access your chosen provider’s training, you’ll need to complete set-up before induction begins.

Q23: Can you expand on the ‘portal” that Gareth referred to where schools can identify they have an ECT and chose their provider? How will this link with the AB registration process? And how can ABs get information to share with schools about all of these processes as this is the communication channel that schools have regarding induction. Thanks.

A: For most schools, delivery of ECF-based inductions will be facilitated by a new DfE online service. The interaction with the online service will differ depending on which delivery route a school has chosen to pursue.
Unless a school is opting to design its own ECF-based programmes, the school will need to get set up on the online service ahead of the early career teachers beginning their inductions.
If a school has decided to use an approved training provider (full induction programme) or use the DfE accredited materials (core induction programme), they can begin this process by nominating someone who manages statutory inductions at the school: Nominate an induction lead or tutor.
There are still some things that a school will need to do to prepare for induction that do not involve the online service, such as signing up directly with a training provider or finding an appropriate body for the induction. Appropriate bodies should continue to register ECTs with the Teaching Regulation Agency.
We are running a range of events and working with stakeholders, including the Teaching Schools Council and the Local Government Association, to ensure schools and appropriate bodies have the information they need to prepare for the changes.

Q24: If a school wants to use a particular lead provider but the TSH is using a different one, what are the school’s options?

A: It is up to school leaders to choose the ECF approach that best suits the needs of their early career teachers and mentors. Schools should review the support that is available and choose a provider that is within their local area that they wish to work with.

Q25: Are the geographic designations for the Teaching School Hubs ‘absolute’? i.e. If a school has an existing relationship with a Teaching School Hub that is in a neighbouring geographic area, can a school continue to work within that existing relationship or are we obliged to work with the official Hub for our area?
Our local TSH is a Primary School, and as a Secondary School we have found them unable to adequately support us in the past. Can we work with another TSH with more Secondary experience?

A: There are no plans to amend the TSH areas, however if a school wishes to work with a TSH outside of their area, that is fine as long as that TSH is content to do so. We built this flexibility into the programme to allow for the fact that some existing relationships or MAT structures may cross borders, or there may be peculiarities of local geography/transport that mean a different TSH may be more appropriate for a specific school. We do not however encourage TSH to actively advertise in other areas, and all decisions should ideally made with the mutual consent of all affected TSH.

Q26: Our LA will be charging for their service as an AB. Our local TSH is also an AB – does this sit as a separate service and therefore subject to a separate charge?

A: Schools should only select one appropriate body they wish to register with. From 1st September 2021, the organisations that can act as an appropriate body, and from which schools will be able to select from, are local authorities, TSHs, and other organisations which the Secretary of State has determined may act in this role (NTA and IStip).

Q27: What can the DfE do to deter TSH’s from reducing the cost of their AB service (using it as a loss-leader) in order to entice schools to sign up to their ECF? This will inevitably result in LA ABs being placed at a disadvantage.

A: Pricing is a matter for appropriate bodies to determine according to their costs and operating models. ABs can charge to cover the costs of delivering their services and their fee models may reflect different options around induction routes. Charges must not exceed the cost of supplying the service.

Q28: If an AB chooses to deliver its own ECF-based training to ECTs, to support schools unable to access the Full programme, what does it mean in the guidance ‘an AB might be required to check the ECF fidelity of their own training’ note the word ‘ might’.

A: If an AB delivers ECF-based training to the same ECTs for whom it is acting as AB, they will be expected to check that the training offers full coverage of the ECF. Appropriate bodies in this scenario are expected to have rigorous quality assurance processes to ensure they can demonstrate that the ECF underpins the training that they offer and are encouraged to use the Core Induction Programme materials as the basis for any ECF-based training.

Q29: What provision is there for appropriate bodies to navigate the ECF materials designed by the Providers so that we can make sound judgements if schools are using these materials to design their own programmes

A: We are working with stakeholders, including the Teaching Schools Council and the Local Government Association, to understand what additional support ABs need and will communicate this in due course.

Q30: What about where ECTs are not making adequate progress following a FIP, will the AB not have a role in ensuring appropriate tailored support is in place?

A: Regardless of which training route an ECT is following, the AB has a role around ensuring the school has put in place adequate support. A detailed explanation of the roles and responsibilities of ABs can be found in the updated statutory guidance and Appropriate Bodies Guidance.

Q31: In our LA we are trying to distinguish between the statutory AB role and the ECF framework and delivery of that. We have got agreement with our local teaching school hub regarding the LA having the key AB role and the TSH providing and delivering the ECF, apparently this is not allowed and TSH must deliver the AB role, is this correct?

A: All TSH will be expected to provide AB services to meet local need. The removal of Teaching Schools will see a reduction in the number of ABs in the market and we will expect TSHs to be available to fill the gap and to make it possible for school accessing training via the Hub to also have the option of accessing AB services alongside this.
Appropriate bodies cannot delegate their regulatory duties. They might choose to work in partnership or network arrangements and have partners who can support or facilitate the role, but regulations require that the designated appropriate body must retain full responsibility for regulatory duties including overseeing induction and decisions on passing induction.

Q32: Does the hub have to be an AB?

A: All Teaching School Hubs will be expected to provide AB services to meet local need. The removal of Teaching Schools will see a reduction in the number of ABs in the market and we will expect TSHs to be available to fill the gap and to make it possible for school accessing training via the Hub to also have the option of accessing AB services alongside this.

Q33: How is DfE preparing the TSHs so they provide an effective AB role – some of the TSHs are brand new in this role. How is the DfE ensuring that their work is as good as existing ABs?

A: Appropriate bodies guidance which is available to all ABs explains the roles and responsibilities of ABs from September 2021 and offers practical suggestions on how ABs might deliver their role. In addition to this, TSH are supported by the Teaching Schools Council who are working with the Department to provide training and additional support to TSH as required.

Q34: If there is a current NQT who has not finished their NQT year and will need to complete a term next academic year but are with an Appropriate Body who will no longer be able to be an AB next year as they are not a Teaching Hub for example, would they be able to continue with that AB as they have paid for their year or would they have to transfer to another AB from September?

A: Teaching schools can only act as appropriate bodies until 31 August 2021. After this time, appropriate body services can only be delivered by local authorities, teaching school hubs and those organisations determined by the Secretary of State who can act in this role (NTA and IStip).
NQTs who are registered with a teaching school appropriate body and have not completed their induction period by 31st August 2021, including those who require an extension, must be transferred to an appropriate body chosen by the headteacher. The Teaching Regulation Agency has arranged for information regarding ECT transitional arrangements to be communicated in due course.

Q35: Will ABs need to do a return to TRA each term still so that you can keep a log of how many terms ECTs have completed, there is a lot more movement throughout the year now.

A: The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) does not currently require ABs to return data each term. ABs currently only need to return data when a teacher starts, and ends, an induction period with that AB. When an AB returns data at the end of an induction period under current induction arrangements they can tell the TRA the number of terms that teacher completed. This may be where the individual passes or fails induction, has their induction period extended, or decides to continue their induction at another AB.

The TRA do not intend to ask ABs to return data at the end of every term under national rollout, and will provide additional detail on data returns in the coming weeks.

Q36: I wrote to the DfE before – what impact data will be available to show the impact of the early roll out of the ECF (based on R&R Strategy – retention data, impact on learning, successful completion of induction). I was told that this data will not be made available. How will the schools know how successful these programmes are?

A: We are committed to gathering evidence about the implementation and impact of the Early Career Framework, to ensure that it provides the best support for new teachers entering the profession. Therefore, we are working with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to ensure a comprehensive package of evaluation activity.
The DfE will shortly be launching the procurement of a process evaluation of the national roll-out of the Early Career Framework. This evaluation will commence in the summer and will inform continuous improvement in the implementation of these reforms and provide early evidence about whether the programme is achieving its aims.
The EEF will soon commence the procurement for a contractor to carry out an evaluation about the impact of participation in the full induction programme, as part of the national roll out of the Early Career Framework. This work will commence in Autumn 2021.
Both evaluations will be published.

Q37: Will it be okay to use different providers for ECF as we will for NPQs?

A: Yes, schools will have choice over what providers they wish to work with.

About our speakers

Gareth Conyard

Deputy Director, Department for Education

Gareth Conyard is currently Deputy Director of the Developing Teachers & Leaders Division at the Department for Education, responsible for the Government’s overall approach to developing teachers, head teachers and leaders. This includes overseeing current and reformed National Professional Qualifications, as well as delivering the new Early Career Framework.

Frances Blurton

Assistant Director, Department for Education

Frances Blurton is currently an Assistant Director in the Developing Teachers & Leaders Division at the Department for Education, responsible for the Government’s overall approach to developing teachers, head teachers and leaders. Frances is responsible for stakeholder engagement and communications across the Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualifications programmes as well as the statutory changes to induction. Prior to joining the Department, Frances was a secondary English teacher.

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