Since September 2021, Teacher Tapp and Gatsby Foundation have been asking Early Career Teachers (ECTs), their mentors and senior leaders how the new Early Career Framework (ECF) is working for them. This new framework was introduced in order to improve early career support and development for teachers. It extends the period of support to two years and by offering a package of mentoring, training and self-study materials.
Few teachers want to see the ECF scrapped in its entirety. However, many say that further iteration is required in order to make it more effective. So, what are teachers saying that needs to change?
Review of the training provided by the ECF
A significant proportion of early career teachers (44%) told us they would opt-out of the external provision part of the ECF. A further 10% want to opt-out of the framework altogether. In particular, it is the externally-provided training that comes in for a lot of criticism from teachers, including that it is not suitable to the needs of early career teachers and not a good use of time.
Desire for specialist materials tailored to subjects and phases
Fewer than one-in-five early career teachers feel that the materials provided, including self-study materials and external training, are specialised to their subject or phase. In open-ended questions, teachers commonly mentioned that they would like more specialist materials to be developed. Furthermore, whilst most ECTs have a mentor who teaches the same subject or phase, this is not the case for all subjects, particularly science.
Improve timetabling allocations for secondary ECTs
Those responsible for writing timetables or allocating classes must balance many competing priorities. Two-thirds of those who have influenced their timetable feel they attend to the needs of early career teachers. However, this sentiment is not shared by newer teachers. Nearly half of second-year ECTs report dissatisfaction with their timetables, with 42% feeling that their timetable does not meet their needs.
More early career teachers say they would opt to switch classes if they could as well. It is another sign that more support needs to be given to these teachers so they can better manage their first years in teaching.
Perhaps most decisions to stay or leave the profession won’t be affected by the framework?
One of the goals of the ECF was to increase the retention of ECTs through high-quality professional development. Given the responses of ECTs, it does not look like it has had much of an impact – yet.
However, perhaps it is unrealistic for the ECF to significantly change how manageable teaching is in the first few years. Teaching is difficult and we expect new teachers to swim in the deep end from day one – a professional development programme cannot change this reality!
Where to read more…
You can read our newest report on the Early Career Framework by clicking here.