FAQs – Early Career Framework & NQT+
What is the Early Career Framework (ECF)?
The Early Career Framework will create a step change in support for Early Career Teachers, providing a funded entitlement to a structured 2-year package of high quality professional development. The reforms are part of the government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy, which aims to improve the training and development opportunities available to teachers. Further details on Early Career Framework are available here.
NB: Please click here for a new document with some updated questions and guidance.
Are there statutory changes to teacher induction?
Yes. These intended changes to statutory induction are to be effective from September 2021. They will ensure that all Early Career Teachers undergoing induction are entitled to a 2-year training and support programme underpinned by the Early Career Framework (ECF).
What communication will schools receive from the DfE on the Early Career Framework and how will the benefits of working with a Teaching School Hub be explained?
The DfE will be communicating to schools about the Early Career Framework. This will include direct communication, presentations to school groups and social media activity. The Teaching School Council is working with the DfE to provide a toolkit for Teaching School Hubs to communicate effectively with schools about the Early Career Framework.
The DfE’s communications to schools on the ECF encourage them to contact their local Teaching School Hub and provide a link to the TSH contact details on Gov.uk.
Communications also explain that schools can contact Lead Providers or local delivery partners directly.
What is the NQT+1 funding announced as part of the education recovery package?
It was announced that teachers in their second year will have 5% funded time off timetable to access training – a year earlier than previously planned. Further detail regarding this can be found at the bottom of this page.
Who are the DfE accredited providers for the Early Career Framework?
Six providers have been accredited by the Department for Education who will design a programme of face-to-face and online training to early career teachers and their mentors:
- Ambition Institute
- Best Practice Network
- Capita with lead academic partner the University of Birmingham
- Education Development Trust
- Teach First
- UCL Institute of Education
Can organisations other than Teaching School Hubs act as Delivery Partners for ECF?
Yes, Lead Partners can choose to work with other organsations such as large MATS who can also deliver ‘at scale’ however, the DfE has invested in Teaching School Hubs so that they can provide an infrastructure to deliver the remit given by the DfE, including delivery of the Early Career Framework and NPQs. There is an expectation from Lead Providers that Delivery Partners will be in a position deliver ‘at scale’, Teaching School Hubs are specifically resourced for this level of delivery.
Will schools be asked to select a preferred Early Career Lead Provider?
Currently, schools are being directed to gov.uk Early Career pages. Schools are not being asked to select a Lead Provider. The DfE will be creating a central digital platform for the Early Career Framework. Further clarification will be given on how this will link Lead Providers and Teaching School Hubs. Schools should be in touch with their local Teaching School Hubs, our information and packages are here and you can sign up with us here
Will Early Career Teachers (ECTs) be able to complete induction on a part-time contract?
Yes, ECTs will be able to complete induction on a part-time basis.
How are schools funded for the in-school mentor role?
All state funded schools offering statutory induction will receive additional funding to fund the Early Career Framework reforms. Further information is available here.
What does induction coordinator mean?
The ‘induction coordinator’ is another name for the ‘induction tutor’ that the DfE refers to in its statutory guidance, ‘induction lead’ is another term that is sometimes used. They are the person in school tasked with arranging induction for the Early Career Teacher, including assessment. It may be appropriate, in some circumstances for the Head/Principal, to fill this role. The recently published Statutory Induction Guidance described the role and responsibilities of the induction coordinator at a high level.
Can schools deliver their own training using DfE-accredited materials and resources?
Yes but it has significant workload implications on schools. Schools can use freely available DfE-accredited materials. Schools taking this approach will need to ensure Early Career Teachers experience 36 hours of support in Year One and 20 hours in Year Two. Planning such a programme of Early Career support is very time consuming schools should consider the quality of this approach and associated workload for leading this. Many schools who participated in the early roll out pilot noted the extreme time intensive nature of the school-led approach, challenges include not being able to give Early Career Teachers the same breadth of experience as those working with Teaching School Hubs in the test and learn phase.
Can schools design and deliver their own early career framework-based induction?
Yes. Schools can design and deliver their own 2-year induction programme for early career teachers based on the early career framework. We would urge a school to seriously consider this approach. Schools will be expected to follow the DfE guidance around time commitment per week for training for both the Early Career Teacher and the Mentor. The materials used to support this development will need to be of an incredibly high standard. There is a relatively small timeframe between now and the national roll-out due to be launched in September 2021 to write your own 2-year induction programme and Quality Assure such a pivotal programme of development. The Early Career Framework is part of the DfE flagship recruitment and retention policy and forms part of the ‘golden thread’ of teacher development.
We would expect the development of the Early Career Framework core content and the focus on the five core areas for Early Career Teacher development to be a major focal point during an Ofsted inspection, in line with the changes made to the Education Inspection Framework (EIF). Therefore, any school planning on implementing their own Early Career Framework needs to be truly confident that its programme matches the Early Career Framework criteria, is of a high quality, is underpinned by the most relevant education research and can withstand a robust Ofsted inspection.
What role will Ofsted play in relation to Early Career Framework?
Providers of the Early Career Framework full induction programme will be subject to a quality assurance mechanism through Ofsted inspection to ensure the best support for schools and teachers.
I have an NQT who started in Nov’20 therefore will not have finished their first year until next academic year. Does she need to join the ECF programme for half a term to complete her training?
No, the NQT will complete under current regulations and timeframes, therefore the three-term approach will apply here and the NQT has until September 2023 in which to complete under the old regulation and timeframe.
We have one NQT that will only have completed 2 of their 3 assessment periods by the end of this year. Am I right in assuming this individual will be able to complete their NQT year using the “old system”?
Yes, that is right, therefore the three-term approach will apply here and the NQT has until September 2023 in which to complete under the old regulation and timeframe.
Will Mentors begin training before September?
Our understanding is that training for mentors will start to take place as of September 2021.
I am currently the NQT mentor and will be being the Early Career Teacher (ECT) mentor in September. What is the difference between the induction tutor and mentor?
Induction tutors are usually members of the senior leadership team; this role is linked to the Appropriate Body (AB) induction. This includes oversight of induction period including holding responsibility for the two official ECT assessment points.
The mentor should be someone different to the above, the Mentor role is aligned to the ECF/ECT, this role involves working with the ECT on a regular basis, both mentor and ECT will have access to the Teach First training materials.
We’re an SEN high school, will we have access to a range of materials from KS1, KS2 and 3?
One of the reasons we have chosen Teach First as our Lead Provider for ECF is the recognition of the need for age, phase and sector materials and expertise. In addition to this, Bright Futures Teaching School Hubs have a number of partnerships from all ages, phases and sectors that will support ECF delivery and provide relevant expertise.
How does the funding/finance work with ECF? What are the costs to schools?
The full induction programme (FIP) is free to the school and is fully funded by the DfE.
We have taken part in the ECF pilot this year, what is the cost to access your Appropriate Body offer?
The Appropriate Body charge is per ECT at a cost of £355 for the two years.
We have been part of the early roll out, will the format of self-learning and mentoring using a learning platform continue, I really liked the granular approach of that?
Yes, we will be using a learning platform ‘Bright Space’.
Do we sign up direct with Teach First or with you at Bright Futures?
You will receive a letter from the DfE signposting you to an on-line portal. Here, you will register your interest to work with Teach First. Teach First will then direct you, once they receive your expression of interest, to your nearest geographical Teaching School Hub – which is us at Bright Futures.
Are schools not in one of your assigned hub areas able to continue accessing your offer?
We would advise you to work with your local Teaching School Hub. However, if you prefer not to work with your local Hub, or your school is part of a MAT over a number of Hub areas, then it might make more sense to have a consistent approach for your MAT. We would be very open to a conversation about welcoming you into our Hub.
Experts have been identified as thematic experts, will there also be wider influences shared with Early Career Teachers?
Absolutely, we will take direction and influence from a wide range of sources including school led expertise.
Who will communicate with us, The Hub or Teach First?
The Hub will play a critical role in communication.
Department for Education Digital Portal (Department for Education Teacher CPD Service)
What is the DfE digital portal?
The portal is intended to be an online catalogue of the funded support available for teachers’ professional development – Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualifications are the first wave of this service.
What should schools be doing on the portal in relation to the Early Career Framework?
The portal is the place where schools will register their induction leads and Early Career Teachers. The portal will also allow schools to record if they are using the FIP or CIP:
- CIP – Core Induction Programme – developed by the Lead Providers of the early roll out and approved by the DfE and EEF
- FIP – Full Induction Programme – which is the CIP plus training from Early Career Teachers and mentors, delivered via Lead Providers and their Delivery Partners including Teaching School Hubs
If schools choose to undertake the CIP route, they will use the online service to access materials. School will not be choosing an ECF Lead Provider or Delivery Provider via the portal, this process will happen offline.
What happens if an ECT changes schools part way through their induction?
ECTs are able to move school at any time during or after their induction. It is expected that if the ECT has started on a provider-led induction then every effort will be made for them to remain on the same induction programme where appropriate.
Headteachers remain responsible for ensuring the ECT receives an induction based on the ECF. The DfE is working through the different scenarios including ECTs moving to a school with a different provider or moving from a school led option to a provider led option or vice versa. Further guidance will be available for different scenarios shortly. Guidance about serving induction in multiple settings is available in the statutory guidance.
What happens to funding if an ECT leaves part way through their induction?
If an ECT leaves part way through their second year of induction, then part funding will be calculated based on the School Workforce Census returns.
Year one funding is already included in the National Funding Formula so schools will continue to receive this as normal.
Can the ECT mentor be changed at any time?
It is recognised that schools may need to be flexible in who should mentor each ECT. It will be the responsibility of the headteacher/principal to identify a person to act as the ECT’s mentor, to provide regular mentoring.
What happens if an ECT joins part way through the year and a mentor has not been trained? Is there flexibility to train mentors at various starting points in the year?
Yes mentors will be trained when appropriate and to take account of any mid-year starters.
What happens to those teachers who have completed a year’s induction this year on the ECF early roll out?
If a school is part of the early roll-out of ECF this academic year (2020-2021) in Greater Manchester then their currently active ECTs will continue into year 2 of the ECF programme in academic year 2021-2022.
When is the portal launching?
The portal went live on 26 April. The DFE has now written to all schools, asking them to set up an online account and to register their induction tutor. There is no fixed deadline for this to be completed – it must be done before ECT induction begins.
What email address were the invites sent from?
Department for Education: Teacher Continuing Professional Development
When will schools be able to add details of their early career teachers and mentors?
Schools will be able to add the details of their early career teachers and mentors before the start of the summer holidays.
What is the deadline for schools to set up their access on the online services?
Some of the initial email invites to schools mentioned that their personalised URL invite expired after three weeks. This is not a deadline and a school can regenerate a fresh invite after that dates has expired.
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 induction. For most early career teachers, this will be September.
- On 2nd June, the Prime Minister announced next steps in the government’s plans to boost education recovery with a total of £1.4 billion being invested.
- In recognition of the challenging initial teacher training and induction newly qualified teachers (NQTs) have experienced due to the pandemic, all state funded schools that currently have an NQT who is due to complete induction this summer will have access to a one-off payment to further support the development of this cohort.
- Schools with NQTs due to complete induction this summer will have access to funding for the equivalent of an additional 5% off timetable for next academic year so these teachers have additional time to invest in their development. This time off timetable is not statutory but it has been designed to be used flexibly so that as many new teachers as possible can benefit from this additional support. We trust schools and their leaders to know what works best for them and their staff. Time off timetable can be grouped together in different ways, for example, taken as whole days or half days off.
- Schools will be able to access DfE-accredited development materials based on the Early Career Framework for this cohort to use during this time off timetable.
- Schools will receive this funding in summer term of 2022. Funding will be based on School Workforce Census returns.
FAQ – NQT+
Q: Is there flexibility on how schools use the time off timetable? Eg does it need to be weekly?
The funding has been calculated as an equivalent to 5% off timetable every week for a 2020/2021 NQT over the 2021/2022 academic year but it does not have to be used this way.
The funding should be used to support the development of the teacher but can be grouped together in different ways, for example, whole days or half days off timetable.
Q: It is too late in the day for this to be operationalised, what flexibility is there in how schools deliver this?
We recognise that the confirmation of this funding has taken place when school timetabling for next year may have been completed. We trust schools to understand the best way to use this money to support development of new teachers and we want school leaders to have as much flexibility as possible in how this funding is used.
The funding has been calculated as an equivalent to 5% off timetable every week for a 2020/2021 NQT over the 2021/2022 academic year but does not have to be used this way.
The funding should be used to support the development of the teacher but can be scheduled in different ways, for example, whole days or half days.
Q: Why is this a one-off payment?
From September 2021, all new teachers will be entitled to a 2-year induction based on the Early Career Framework (ECF).
This one-off funding to support NQTs who have undertaken induction during 2020/2021 recognises the impact of the pandemic on those who will not benefit from the ECF-reforms.
This time off timetable is not statutory.
Q: How will schools receive this payment?
You will receive this funding as part of your normal payments from ESFA.
Q: When will schools receive this payment?
We will pay in arrears (in the summer term of 2022) to ensure that the payments are as accurate as possible.
Paying in arrears will minimise issues around teachers having moved schools between their first and second years.
Q: How will schools be held to account for spending this money?
As we will be paying in arrears (in the summer term of 2022) we will ask schools to confirm that the money has been spent in the way intended. This will be done shortly in advance of making payment, and acceptance of the funding will be taken as confirmation. We will ensure that as part of this grant payment process, there is clear communication around the terms and conditions for accepting the money and the subsequent requirements for schools related to assurance.
Schools should keep some record of this expenditure – such as a receipt for classroom cover, or a timetable for the NQT (s) involved, but we will not mandate what form this record should take, and trust school leaders to use their judgement.
We reserve the right to conduct light-touch, proportionate assurance such as spot checks with individual schools, asking for sight of such records.
In advance of accepting any funding, schools will have the opportunity to notify us of any changes, if, for example, the teacher changes school during the academic year.
We will confirm how we will collect confirmation schools do not want to receive this funding, or of changes to circumstances, in the grant conditions.
Q: What should this time off timetable be used for?
This funding is designed to support the development of NQTs who are due to complete their induction this summer.
This funding is available to provide this cohort with additional time to invest in their development given the disruptions they have experienced during their initial teacher training and induction as a result of the pandemic.
Time off timetable should be used for activities related to professional development, and schools will have access to high quality DfE-accredited development materials based on the Early Career Framework to use during this time off timetable.
This time off timetable is not statutory.
Q: How will schools access ECF materials?
All teachers will have access to the high quality DfE-accredited development materials produced as part of the Early Career Framework to support their ongoing professional development.
Schools will be directed to the DfE-accredited materials via the Gov.UK Teacher CPD digital service. We will contact schools directly, in the Autumn term, when they are able to access these materials.
Q: Is this statutory/compulsory
This time off timetable is not statutory.
If a school does decide to utilise this funding, they will need to ensure their NQTs who are due to complete induction this summer are given the equivalent to 5% off timetable, and that this time is used for development. This can be grouped together in different ways, for example, whole days or half days off timetable.
Schools that will not be using the funding in the way it was intended – if, for example they are unable to accommodate the time off timetable, or if they and their NQT do not feel that accessing the development materials is a good fit for them – should notify the Department. Schools should also inform us if they are no longer eligible for the funding, or if they were not previously eligible but now are.
We will confirm how we will collect confirmation schools do not want to receive this funding, or of changes to circumstances, in the grant conditions.
Q: Is using the DfE accredited materials compulsory?
This funding is available to enable this cohort to have additional time to invest in their development given the disruptions they have experienced during initial teacher training and induction as a result of the pandemic.
Time off timetable should be used for activities related to professional development and it will be up to school leaders to determine what will be the most beneficial to their NQTs.
Schools will have access to freely available DfE- accredited development materials based on the Early Career Framework to use during this time off timetable. There are a range of self-study materials available that have been designed for teachers at the start of their careers to use independently. It is not compulsory to use these materials.
Q: What will be the role of the mentor in the second year for 20/21 NQTs?
There will be no requirement for dedicated mentors for this cohort.
Q: How did you calculate the funding?
The funding amount will be calculated by taking the average salary of NQTs, split by region.
NQT Unit Cost
England (excluding the London Area)
Inner London Area
Outer London Area
Rounded NQT Unit cost
The funding ‘unit cost’ is based on 5% off timetable time (teaching time) for NQTs in the 2021/2022 academic year and equates to 44 hours. We have used the minimum threshold on the Main Pay Range for the NQT time.
Q: I am employing an NQT who has undertaken induction during 2020/2021 but they didn’t complete induction at this school, how will I get this funding?
Schools who have employed NQTs who have moved schools post-induction will still be eligible to receive this funding.
Discussions are currently ongoing as to how these NQTs will be identified and how payments will be made, and we will confirm shortly.
Q: I am currently undertaking induction, what does this mean for me?
This will not extend your statutory induction period. If you are undertaking a standard-length induction currently, you will still complete that this academic year if you meet the assessment requirements.
This means that from this September, post induction, your school will have access to additional funding for time off timetable (on top of PPA time) for you to focus on your development. As part of this, you can access freely-avaliable ECF materials. This is to recognise the disruption you have faced during your initial teacher training and induction.
This time off timetable is not statutory. We would advise talking to your headteacher to learn more about your school’s professional development arrangements and if they intend to access this funding.
Q: Does this mean induction will be extended?
No. Those undertaking statutory induction this year will still be subject to a one-year induction period.
This additional funding will give further time for this cohort to focus on their development in light of the exceptional circumstances of training to teach during the pandemic.
This time off timetable is not statutory. We would advise NQTs talk to their headteacher to learn more about their school’s professional development arrangements and if they intend to access this funding.
Q: My NQT will finish induction and is then going on maternity leave/career break- can we spend the funding to support them when they return?
In these circumstances, ECTS can access the additional support on their return to teaching. Schools should keep some record of this expenditure – such as a receipt for classroom cover, or a timetable for the NQT (s) involved, but we will not mandate what form this record should take, and trust school leaders to use their judgement.