FAQs – Early Career Framework

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. 


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

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 the payment mechanism and what this means for schools will be announced shortly.


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:


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 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.


The DfE recently announced £69 million to extend the rollout of the Early Career Framework reforms for teacher training in the first two years after qualification.  This includes extending funded time off timetable to second year teachers from this September – a year earlier than previously planned.  What does this mean for current NQTs?


The DfE has confirmed that, as part of the recovery package, state funded schools with current newly qualified teachers (teachers due to complete their induction this summer) will be funded for an additional 5% off timetable for these teachers next academic year (their second year of teaching).  This funding will provide this cohort with additional time for their development given the disruptions they have experienced in both their ITT and NQT years as a result of Covid-19.

The DfE will confirm shortly what the financial value and payment mechanism will be, as well as the requirements for schools for how this money should be spent.  The intention is that schools will receive funding based on their School Workforce Census returns and there will be no additional workload burdens for schools to receive this payment.

Schools will have access to freely available DfE-accredited materials based on the Early Career Framework for this cohort to use during this time off timetable.  There will be no requirement for additional mentors for this cohort.  The timetable reduction for those who have completed their induction (NQT +1) will not be made statutory.