Jenny Griffiths
Jenny Griffiths
Education Research Specialist at Teach First

What are the challenges and opportunities of the Early Career Framework?

Our next Future Terms panel will explore the impact of the roll-out of the Early Career Framework in helping newly qualified teachers overcome their challenges.


This September’s shake-up of the support given to newly-qualified (early career) teachers will mean big things for schools and trainees alike. 

With the induction period being extended from one year to two, in-school mentors will have more responsibilities than ever. Yet, after a year in which the development of new teachers was hugely disrupted, this will inevitably result in challenges.

Speaking to participants who were part of the early roll out of Teach First’s Early Career Framework programme – as well as those involved in its design – we also explored the resources available to support schools and trainees, and how the ECF offers a huge opportunity to reinvigorate in-school mentoring.



  • Faye Craster - Director of Teacher Development at Teach First


  • Jacqueline Gilbert - Deputy Headteacher at Park View Community School
  • Haili Hughes - English teacher and mentor at Saddleworth School
  • Jane Phiri - English teacher at Freebrough Academy
  • Sam Twiselton - Director of Sheffield Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam University

Introducing the Early Career Framework

September’s introduction of the Early Career Framework marks a new commitment to supporting early career teachers. Retention figures over the last decade are stark, especially in the first few years after qualifying:

  • In 2019 the number of teachers working in the profession increased by just 0.9%, with an overall leavers rate of 9.2%
  • In 2019, the one-year attrition rate of qualified teachers was 14.6%
  • The 5-year retention rate (those who qualified in 2014) dropped to 67.4%.

(Office for National Statistics, 2019)

The new framework recognises that even after qualifying, new teachers are continuing to develop and learn. It outlines an improved entitlement to training and support for the first two years of their career.

Teach First is committed to helping people develop into inspiring teachers and supporting them every step of the way. We know that great teachers help build thriving schools where every child can get a good education. The Early Career Framework offers a fantastic opportunity in a very uncertain time for schools emerging from a pandemic, the full impact of which will not be known for some time.

Over the last two years we have seen a surge in recruitment to Initial Teacher Training . Coupled with lower teacher turnover, it suggests that the pandemic has been good for the profession in some ways. However, in the short term, this also poses a challenge in reduced capacity for school-based training placements (National Foundation for Educational Research, 2021)

At the same time, many trainees are understandably concerned about their lack of classroom experience following disruption to schools. Despite the frankly amazing rapid shift to online learning, they have missed out on the opportunity to really practice what they have learnt. The introduction of the ECF is a timely entitlement to further training and support so that they can continue developing as teachers in the context of their schools.

But we are also committed to brilliant leaders. The ECF offers a huge opportunity for more experienced teachers to act as mentors, with training that supports their own professional development. Many mentors highlight how much they value the opportunity to work with trainees and early career teachers and the benefits it brings to them personally.

We know that mentoring as a form of professional development can enable teachers both to improve their own practice, as well as to develop new skills. By learning how to break down the skills involved and explain the process, mentors can gain new insight into their own practice. They also have access to the same up-to-date research and expertise. This opens up potential routes for career progression, both in traditional leadership roles and through classroom-based opportunities as envisioned in the new specialist NPQ for leading teacher development.

During this panel, we will explore some of the thinking that went into the design of the ECF and hear about the challenges and opportunities it poses from both the mentor and early career teacher perspectives. We hope you will join us to reflect on the initial experiences of what has been an unusual first year of the roll-out.

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