Frequently Asked Questions

Early Career Framework Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Early Career Development Programme?

From September 2021, the government is funding an entitlement for all early career teachers in England to access high-quality professional development at the start of their career with a view to greater teacher support and retention.

New teachers will now receive development support and training over 2 years instead of one, all underpinned by the DfE’s Early Career Framework reforms.

How much does the Early Career Development Programme cost?

The programme is free and funded by the DfE and available for all state-maintained academies and schools in England. Independent schools and other settings can fund programmes for their ECTs should they wish to support their ECTs to commence induction.  Please talk to us about the fees.

What does the funding provide?

The DfE funding provides for the full 2 year ECF training programmes of an early career teacher and their mentor, which includes all central training, support, networks, access to the online portal and instructional coaching support, ECT self study and a range of networking opportunities.

As well as full access to the programme, the DfE funding provides for:

  • 10% time-off timetable for early career teachers in Year 1
  • 5% time-off timetable in the second year of induction for all early career teachers to undertake induction activities including training and mentoring
  • funding for mentors to spend with early career teachers in the second year of induction – this is based on 20 hours of mentoring across the academic year.  Mentors are expected to work with their ECT in school time for an hour each week in year 1 and an hour a fortnight (or equivalent) in year 2 – this is part of the ECT’s 10%/5% off timetabled time. The rest of their ECT time is for self study and for observing other classes and teachers.

Find out more about each of our programmes, including commitments, timings and content.

How do I apply for the Early Career Programme?

  • Follow our 1, 2, 3 for registration
  • Remember, all ECTs will need to be registered on the DfE portal where you choose your lead provider (Ambition or EDT) AND you will need to sign up to our appropriate body service to register your ECT for formal induction with the TRA / DfE, to quality assure implementation and to check your ECT is receiving their entitlements and to provide reports to show progress against the teacher standards,

Can ECTs in independent schools access the ECF?

Yes they can. ECTs in independent schools can access the ECF training and support in the same way as ECTs in state funded schools, however there will be a charge for participation to the ECT’s school for ECT and mentor engagement in the programme.  Schools will need to sign up with an appropriate body and also engage with all elements of the ECF listed on this page, such as additional 10% time off timetable for self study and instructional coaching with their assigned mentor in school time.  Both ECTs and mentors will need to be trained. Should an independent school wish to commence induction with an ECT in their school, please contact us for further information and costs.

What happens if an ECT is working part time?

There are two elements of induction: the Early Career Framework and statutory induction – which are mapped out in the diagram below:

Frequently Asked Questions

Statutory induction usually lasts the equivalent of 2 years, so there should usually be the equivalent of 2 years worth of teaching time for induction.  This is calculated pro-rata if the ECT is part time.  As an example, if an ECT is working a 0.5 timetable, their statutory induction would take 4 years as they would have then completed 2 years worth of teaching time across that period.  In exceptional circumstances, the school can apply for earlier sign off against the teacher standards but this is not common practice.  Please contact your assigned Quality Assurance Officer from the Appropriate Body to find out more. 

The Early Career Framework programmes for part time teachers are more fluid and there is no clean solution as it would depend on how the school structures the release time for the ECT.  As an example, an ECT who is working 4 days a week / 0.8 may have a time to complete the self study and instructional coaching each week with their mentor and therefore can move through the programme in line with someone working full time. They may complete the ECF programme in two years, but may have a slightly extended statutory induction period before their formal sign off.  For someone who is working 0.5, they could move through the programme at half the pace and pick up on clinics and conferences when is appropriate and complete their self study and instructional coaching every fortnight.  If you have any specific questions about how this could work in your school, do contact us and we would be happy to walk through some models / ideas with you.

What happens if an ECT starts at a time not at the beginning of the school year?

Did you know we run cohorts that also begin in January and after Easter? Therefore,  if you have an ECT who has started in your school at a time other than September, do contact us and we can add them to the Christmas / Easter starter groups.  This is also the same for new mentors as we run new mentor training in January and after Easter too. You will also need to register new ECTs with the Appropriate Body -see our 1, 2, 3 of registration for more details

Help! I am an induction tutor having issues with an ECT’s or mentor’s registration / access to Steplab or the EDT portal

Here are some top tips to check:

 Is your ECT correctly registered on the DfE portal? The large majority of issues arise from mistakes in registration which are not always easy to spot! Double check that:

  1. You have the correct email addresses for each ECT and mentor (work emails, rather than personal ones and spellings are correct);
  2. ECTs and mentors are listed in the correct year – remember anyone who has started induction before this year needs to be in 2021-2022, or 2022-2023, rather than with those who have started in this 2023-2024 school year;
  3. The lead provider is listed correctly (usually Ambition Institute or EDT) and the delivery partner is listed as the Five Counties Teaching School Hubs Alliance;
  4. You have added all the mentors who are in that role this year as well as your ECTs – and all are in the correct year.
  5. You have linked up mentors and ECTs together on the DfE portal

If you need to make changes, some things can be done quickly on the DfE portal itself straight away.  Other aspects to change need to be emailed through to the DfE using their email address: [email protected]  – at peak times there can be a long wait for a response.

Once your ECTs and mentors are correctly registered on the DfE portal, the lead providers are notified and you are added to the online portals – Steplab for Ambition or the EDT learning portal.  Do look in all of your email folders for onboarding / registration emails as these sometimes find their way into junk folders and can come from [email protected]

If you are using the Ambition programmes, and your ECT or mentor has access to MyAmbition but they are unable to click through to Steplab, please ensure the Onboarding and EDI form is complete.

Separately schools will need to register with the appropriate body service as well as with the DfE-  one registration does not mean you are registered with the other.

If you are having any other issues and would like to talk things through with a person from our team, do email us at the usual address.

Who do I contact if I am having an issue?

  • For most enquiries, please use our generic email address: [email protected]
  • If you have specific questions about statutory induction and wish to contact the Appropriate Body team, please contact: [email protected]
  • If you have specific questions about EDT programmes and wish to contact the EDT team, please contact: [email protected]
  • If you wish to contact the DfE about registration and to make changes on their portal, please contact: [email protected]  – at peak times there can be a long wait for a response.

I am an Induction Tutor – what support is out there for me?

Do contact us at the usual email address if you are a new induction Tutor / co-ordinator / lead and we can talk you through the requirements from both the Statutory Induction side of things, and what to do as an Induction Tutor when setting up and monitoring programmes of support in your school.  We will shortly be updating our website pages to include more support and guidance for you.

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