As part of the Department for Education’s recruitment and retention strategy, from September 2021 reforms are being made to the support available to teachers in their first two years of teaching.
The intention of the reforms is to turn around the steep drop off in the number of teachers leaving the profession in their first two to five years. Over 20 per cent of new teachers leave within their first two years of teaching, and 32 per cent leave within their first five years. These figures are contributing significantly to the current teacher recruitment and retention crisis.
The early career framework (ECF) will set out what early career teachers (ECTs) are entitled to learn about and learn how to do, and new teachers will receive professional development support over two years instead of one.
The ECF includes sections on:
- Behaviour management
- Professional behaviours
And this will be delivered through:
- Two years of new, funded, training
- The DfE making freely available development materials based on the ECF
- Schools receiving additional funding to allow ECTs five per cent of time away from the classroom in their second year
- A dedicated mentor and new training for these mentors, and funding to cover time with the mentee in the second year
The DfE is taking a phased approach to introducing these reforms, starting with early roll-out (ERO) from autumn 2020 in:
- The North East
- Greater Manchester
ASCL is encouraging all schools who opt-in to ERO to give extensive feedback, thereby helping to ensure that the national roll-out meets the needs of teachers and schools whatever their context.
As part of the support package, mentors will receive:
- 36 hours’ funded training over the two-year induction period based on the early career framework
- high-quality resources to support their mentoring
- funding to cover their time with the mentee in the second year of teaching
Participating schools in ERO areas will receive £2,200 for each second-year ECT and mentor pairing. This funding is essential, as ASCL believes that it is high-quality mentors who will be key to these reforms having the desired impact.
It’s important to note that during both the early and national roll-out, ECTs will continue to be assessed against the teachers’ standards. The ECF is a supportive framework rather than an assessment tool.
The reforms will not impact on when QTS is awarded. This will continue to be awarded:
- at the end of initial teacher training
- before the start of statutory induction (minus exemptions from assessmentonly routes)
ASCL believes that the ECF has the potential to significantly impact on not just the retention of ECTs by improving their earliest experience of teaching, but also on the quality of their practice going forward. However, for the intention of the reforms to be fully realised appropriate funding for mentors’ training and time will be necessary, so we will be monitoring this closely during the ERO. If the programme is to reach its promising potential then learning lessons from the ERO will be essential.
Sara Ford is deputy director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders