What are the Early Career Framework Reforms? 

Your Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year can be tough as you navigate what it means to be a professional teacher in the classroom.  One saving grace is that you have a lot of support, including an allocated mentor and a reduced, protected, teaching timetable of around 90% of that of an experienced teacher.  For most teachers this type of support comes to an abrupt end in Year 2 of teaching, which for many new teachers can feel far too quick.  Of course, there are schools who can offer more support to their early career teachers, but this is not universal, and it may be patchy and constrained by budgetary concerns.  

Early Career Framework Reforms September 2021

This is all set to change from September 2021 when the NQT induction period will be increased to 2 years rather than 1 year.  NQTs will receive an extra package of support in their second year of teaching, and the end of the second year will be “marked by a decision as to whether the teacher’s performance against the Teachers’ Standards is satisfactory”. This decision would normally happen towards the end of the first year of teaching, whereas now there will be a formal assessment at the end of each year, with the final decision being given at the end of the second year.

Will the reforms create more paperwork? 

New ideas can sometimes mean extra paperwork which is the last thing any teacher needs.  The teachers who have helped to design the Early Career Framework Reforms have been clear that they don’t want them to create any extra burden: 

“Crucially, the ECF will not act as an additional bureaucratic burden for schools. The framework is not an assessment checklist, and there is absolutely no requirement to gather evidence or assess teachers against the statements.”

- Jon Hutchinson, Assistant Headteacher at Reach Academy Feltham and involved in the development of the Early Career Framework.

As with any set of reforms the proof is in the pudding, but so far, the package of support looks positive for new teachers. 

What is being offered as part of the Early Career Framework Reforms?

According to the Department for Education all new teachers will be offered:

2 years of new, funded, high-quality training
freely available high-quality development materials based on the Early Career Framework
funding for 5% time away from the classroom for teachers in their second year
a dedicated mentor and support for these mentors including access to funded high-quality training
funding to cover mentors’ time with the mentee in the second year of teaching 

Importantly, this package is backed up by financial support for each school, which amounts to around £2,100 per teacher in their second year. This money will go to the school to fund the support, not to the teachers themselves, in case you are wondering! 

What is the Early Career Framework?

This whole package of support is based on a key policy document called the ‘Early Career Framework’ which has been designed to contain the latest high quality evidence about what a teacher should learn and what they should be able to do. The main body of the ECF is extremely accessible and easy to read and is then followed by around 20 pages of references to back up what is being said. 

Will it affect my pay?

The short answer is no – you will still progress on the pay scale just like before.

However, there could be a knock-on effect, in the sense that better supported teachers should feel more confident and able to progress in their careers - eventually attaining better salaries in the long term and retained in the profession.

Find out more about the Early Career Framework Reforms

Early career framework reforms: overview from the Department for Education

Early Career Framework: everything you need to know from Tes

The Early Career Framework reforms – something to get excited about from the Department for Education blog

By Hazel Lewis