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Early Career Framework

In partnership with Teach First 

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About the Early Career Framework

From September 2021, the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms will entitle all teachers in their first two years to a DfE fully-funded, two-year package of structured training and support linked to the best available research evidence.


Our ECF programme is offered in Partnership with Teach First and offers access to:

High-quality development materials that  impart the essential knowledge needed to start a successful and fulfilling career

A mentor programme including access to a network of mentors to share best practice

Flexible online and face-to-face training modules

Expert resources including world-class online learning platform

Library Tutor

Get in touch about ECF

From September 2021, new teachers will receive development support and training over two years instead of one, with additional funding available to support their time out of the classroom in the second year and a dedicated mentor.


Support will be available to mentors, and funding will be provided to cover mentor’s time with the mentee in the second year of teaching.


We have now reached our quota of schools for the 2021/22 school year. If you'd like to talk to us about your potential needs for 2022/23, or if you have any general questions about the ECF, then please do get in touch. 

Mentor benefits

Considering mentoring ECTs? Mentoring can be very rewarding, and the ECF programme gives you the structure and training required to develop your skills while making a difference to those you work with.


Mentors will get face-to-face and online training to develop skills in:

  • assessing teacher progress

  • providing effective feedback

  • using deliberate practice to accelerate progress

  • how to provide further challenge to high performing ECTs

Mentors will also have the opportunity to learn from experts. Through half-termly webinars they’ll discover the best ways to reflect on their practice and develop their instructional coaching skills. And through Teach First’s network of 1,000 partners schools they will have opportunities to shadow outstanding practitioners and subject leaders.

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Programme structure: Year 1

Programme structure for ECTs:

  • Six hour induction

  • Weekly mentoring sessions

  • Four hours of self directed study per half term per half term

  • Two 80 minute seminars per half term

Programme structure for mentors:


  • Six hour induction

  • Weekly mentoring sessions

  • Thirty minutes of self directed study per half term

  • One 60 minute seminar per half term

Programme structure: Year 2

Programme structure for ECTs:

  • Six hour induction

  • ​Fortnightly mentoring sessions

  • Forty five minutes of self directed study per half term 

  • One 90 minute seminar per half term

Programme structure for mentors:

  • Six hour induction

  • Fortnightly mentoring sessions

  • Thirty minutes of self directed study per half term

  • One 60 minute seminar per half term

Frequently asked questions

The basics

What is the Early Career Framework?

The Early Career Framework is the evidence base that underpins a 2-year entitlement for every ECTs professional development. The framework is made up of a series of ‘learn that…’ and ‘learn how to…’ statements which describe the key things that every teacher should understand and be able to do. The statements are structured using the eight standards for teacher development for ease of understanding.

What is an Early Career Teacher?

An ECT is someone who has achieved qualified teacher status (QTS), but is yet to work as a teacher for two years full time or longer if working part-time. The term early career teacher (ECT) replaces the term newly qualified teacher (NQT). Early career teachers are entitled to a 2-year structured programme of professional development.

When will the Early Career Framework begin?

The framework was piloted in 2020-21 in four parts of England, including the North East. From September 2021, every school will ensure that teachers in the first two years of their career are given a package of high-quality professional development.

Why do Early Career Teachers (ECTs) need a period of induction?

'Statutory induction is the bridge between initial teacher training and a career in teaching. Induction should provide a foundation for ECTs and equip them with the tools to be an effective and successful teacher' (DfE, March 2021).


How is the ECF programme funded?

  • For all three packages, the first year is included in the National Funding Formula, and the second year will equate to Y2 £1,200 per ECT and £900 per mentor.
  • DIY Package- you will receive funding for time off for your ECTs and mentors, but not for anything else.
  • Core Induction Package- you will receive funding for time off for your ECTs and mentors, but not for anything else. With this model, you will use one of the 6 National Providers’ training materials. These are provided online free, and you can adapt them for your school.
  • Full induction package- NELT or another organisation will organise the programme for you, and your school will receive an additional £1,576 for mentors to engage with two years of training.

Will it affect ECTs pay?

A 2-year induction will have no adverse impact on ECTs pay or career progression opportunities. ECTs will still be able to progress on the pay scale as current arrangements allow, both during and after induction.

How is the funding paid?

The funding is paid in arrears as a single grant at the end of the programme, based on the school workforce census.

Can we get any of the costs covered upfront?

No, all funding is paid in arrears.


How much time in total do our ECTs get off?

ECTs are guaranteed 5% off-timetable in the second year of teaching, and will continue to have a 10% timetable reduction in their first year of induction.

When do we need to sort this out?

Ideally as soon as possible, but you must have decided on delivery of your programme before you register your ECTs and their induction begins. Before the end of the Summer term is a good idea, so your induction tutors can be supported over the Summer term.

What happens if an ECT joins us midway through the year?

If you choose the full induction package, we will handle the induction and training for any ECTs or mentors who are recruited during the school year. If you are using either the core induction package or DIY package then you will need to establish protocols for how to deal with this situation within your school.

How does this work for part time ECTs?

The ECF lays out the number of hours ECTs and mentors should be engaging with training. We will work closely with any school whose ECT works part time to ensure they can fully access the programme.


What is an ‘Induction Coordinator’?

The Induction Coordinator is another name for the Induction Tutor that the DfE refers to in statutory guidance. This person is tasked with arranging the induction for the ECT. The DfE’s statutory induction guidance (page 36) gives a high level overview of the role and responsibilities.

Can the Mentor be the same as the Induction Tutor?

No, the ECF specifies that the Induction Tutor and the Mentor roles must be done by two different members of staff. The Induction Tutor will receive access to all the materials and any updates on the programme in order to support their ECTs and mentors within their school.

Are the Mentors drawn from our own staff, or are they external mentors?

You will select Mentors from your existing staff, and this programme includes a development pathway for them. They will become the primary source of challenge and support for the ECTs in their school.

Practical considerations

How do I register for the portal?

Schools have been sent an email from the DfE with a link to the portal. If you have not received that link, contact the DfE.

If we want to do the full induction package with the NELT Teaching School Hub, do we also have to use the Teach First training materials?

Yes, if you choose us to deliver your induction package. However, if you choose another provider or to deliver the ECF yourself, you can select any of the other 5 training material providers.

What is the NELT Teaching School Hub?

Our Hub exists to offer fantastic training and development for aspiring, early career, and experienced teachers. By offering outstanding professional development at every stage of their careers, we aim to equip, enable and inspire teachers and leaders across the North East to be exceptional in their field. This is an exciting opportunity for our region and we will work hard to make it a success. We will engage with schools and other partners to ensure our work builds on the existing excellent practice and responds to local needs.

Will the Teacher’s Standards be the same as previous years?

Yes, the standards are the same. However, the ECF explores the standards in more depth. The framework is made up of a series of ‘learn that…’ and ‘learn how to…’ statements which are based on the Teacher’s Standards, which describe the key things that every teacher should understand and be able to do.

Aren’t we basically doing the ECF already?

Probably something similar, yes, but the ECF provides you with specified tools for learning and is also extended for two years to provide additional support to ECTs. The ECF is a compulsory programme for all ECTs.

Do I have to do this framework if I have ECTs?

Yes, you are expected to do this for any ECTs you take on. However, you can choose the method of delivery within the framework.

How is the programme delivered?

The programme encompasses flexible online learning and face-to-face training modules. ECTs and Mentors are given time off their timetable to have mentoring sessions and complete the relevant training.

How do I register my school with the Department for Education portal?

You're Head of School should have received direct communication from the DfE with a link to sign up for the portal. However if you need to have the email sent to you, you can use this link.

Useful links

Appropriate Body

What is an ‘Appropriate Body’?

  • The Appropriate Body is responsible for an ECTs professional development, support, guidance and supervision during induction. The Appropriate Body decides whether an NQT has met the Teachers’ Standards, based on the headteacher’s recommendation. (Link to the Appropriate Body page.
  • The NELT Teaching School Hub also acts as an Appropriate Body for a number of local schools. If you are interested in this service, please contact us using the details above.

How will ECTs be assessed and what is the involvement of the Appropriate Body?

The ECF is not an assessment tool and does not replace a school’s chosen Appropriate Body assessment process. The ECF does not involve any more assessment than would have taken place in the previous 1 year system. The ECT will now be assessed once at the end of their first year, and again at the end of their second year.

Can we use you for our ECF and Appropriate Body provision?

Yes, in most circumstances we can supply both services. In a limited number of situations, we can only provide one, but we can discuss this with you if the situation arises. If you go with another ECF provider, you can also contract us just to supply Appropriate Body services, or to supply your ECF services along with a separate Appropriate Body provider.