Early Career Framework: One Year On

20 October 2022 Jenni French

A Gatsby commissioned report by Teacher Tapp suggests that the Early Career Framework (ECF) is not subject specific enough and significant further refinement is required to better support Early Career Teachers (ECTs) and their mentors, enhance the quality of self-study materials and to improve its potential for overall teacher retention.

Key findings include:

  • Just 2% of mentors and 4% of ECTs say that the self-study material they have used has been specialised to their subject or phase, with half of ECTs saying that further specialisation of self-study material should be a priority. Further specialisation of external training was also raised by a third of mentors, who also wanted further professional development to help them deliver the ECF.
  • Most ECTs have a suitable mentor (83% of ECTs in secondary schools have a mentor who teaches the same subject as them. However further research is needed to understand whether there are any differences by subject.
  • Many ECTS and mentors see huge opportunities to improve the externally-provided resources being used for self-study and training. Four in five ECTs and mentors alike say that the training they have received was not well-designed and just 1-in-10 say it was a good use of time. The picture isn’t any better for self-study materials, with just a third of ECTs saying they were clear and a quarter saying they give good advice.
  • Two-thirds of ECTs say that their self-study leaves them clear how to apply what they have learned in the classroom only half the time or less.

Additionally, both mentors and ECTs strongly believe that the ECF adds to their workload, with over half of ECTs now wanting to opt out of some, or spend less time on, the ECF overall. The report also suggests that the ECF may not be having the desired effect on teacher retention with almost eight in ten mentors (78%) believing the support would neither increase nor decrease the retention of ECTs.

Jenni French, Head of Teacher Supply Programmes at the Gatsby Foundation said:

It is disappointing that the ECF in its current form is not improving the retention of Early Career Teachers. However, addressing the concerns raised by participants and, in particular, increasing the focus on subject specialism should mean that more pupils are taught by well-qualified, specialist teachers.

See the Teacher Tapp blog here.

Read the full report here.