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Early Career Framework (ECF) Options

In this section we consider how to choose the right Early Career Framework (ECF) programme for your school.
© UCL Institute of Education

In this section we consider how to choose the right Early Career Framework (ECF) programme for your school.

Explore Your ECF Options

During the explore stage of implementation, you should explore thoroughly and systematically the ECF programmes on offer to you, considering how well they fit your school context and whether they can feasibly be implemented in your school.

DfE ECF Programmes

We recommend that you choose one of the six ECF programmes commissioned by the Department for Education to support early career teachers in your school. These programmes have been carefully designed as complete packages of support. They include research-informed materials and training for mentors.

The Right ECF For Your School

In choosing the ECF programme for your school, you should consider which programme will best fit your school’s context. You might want to consider:

  • what are the important aspects of your school’s approach to professional development?
  • what are the strengths and weaknesses of your school’s current NQT induction programme?
  • are there any particular features of mentoring in your school that currently work really well?
  • do you have experience of working with any of the suppliers?
  • what programmes are schools in your network using?
  • are there any programme elements that might not work well in your school?

Early on, you will also have to decide whether to implement:

  • a full induction programme, where you access the full programme of materials, training and support from the supplier
  • a core induction programme, where you access materials only from the supplier and use these to design your own programme of support
  • a school-devised programme, where you design your own ECF programme.

Good Implementation For Successful Intervention

Research shows that in order to get the best out of an intervention, it is important to implement it as closely to the original model as possible (Sharples et al., 2019; Lendrum & Humphreys, 2012). For this reason we recommend that you implement a full induction programme.

ECF and Professional Development in Your School

Introducing the ECF is an excellent opportunity to improve professional development across your school. For example, mentors in one pilot school presented to colleagues, as part of wider school CPD, how the ECF ‘had improved their practice as well as the ECT practice.’ In another school ECF resources were used with student teachers as part of ITE provision. Induction leads mentioned that they intended to use the programme’s coaching model or ECT resources in their wider professional development provision, perceiving that the ECT programme was ‘a useful support process for teachers at all levels’ and ‘a way of developing staff and of observations not being related to performance management, but actually being linked to proper development.’

You could consider training more members of staff as mentors than those currently needed for ECT induction. In one school we visited all members of staff were mentored by a colleague and mentoring was highly valued as part of professional development for all. Mentoring will be considered in greater detail next week.

Mentors and ECTs on the pilot programmes also valued the opportunity to collaborate with others where this was possible. You might want to consider the extent to which collaboration can be established within your school or your school’s networks. This might include making ECF resources available to a wider group of teachers, or bringing ECTs together in your school or within a group of schools.

© UCL Institute of Education
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Supporting early career teacher development with the Early Career Framework

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