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Russell Hobby
CEO at Teach First

Why the Early Career Framework is essential for the country’s teachers

Our CEO Russell Hobby shares why we need the Early Career Framework now more than ever, to support teachers and mentors during the pandemic and beyond.

It’s not impossible that someone starting their career in teaching today could teach for fifty years. If that hasn’t scared you off (and you’re still with me), it is surely self-evident that it is worth investing some significant time at the beginning of a teaching career to lay a firm foundation. It is also an argument for continuous learning.

Of course, not everyone envisages fifty years - many valued colleagues are switching into teaching from other professions, and modern careers will often span multiple sectors - but the principle remains. Start as you mean to go on.

However good the initial teacher training, giving more support to new teachers in their first post is a wise investment. This is where the Early Career Framework comes in. Amidst all the turmoil and controversy of the education debate, this policy has received surprisingly widespread support. And therefore, perhaps, too little attention.

The principle is simple:

  • additional guaranteed and funded time for development in the NQT and RQT years
  • structured content to build on initial training (as part of a coherent framework of professional development standards)
  • above all, support for experienced mentors

It is this last component - paired development for the early career teacher and their mentor - that is most exciting to me.

Effective mentoring is pivotal to early success. The more we can support mentors, the more our new teachers will thrive. I’d give more support to mentors if we could, and make it one of the most prestigious roles in the system, but this is a start.

This extra support would be sensible at any time, even in the best of conditions. In a system that will be slowly recovering from the disruption of COVID-19 during late 2020 and 2021, the Early Career Framework will be essential. Too many new teachers will have had their training and early practice disrupted. They will be entering schools understandably stretched and disrupted by the recovery. The Early Career Framework could help mitigate that.

You can read a tree’s history in the rings in its trunk: good years and bad years, fertile years and famine. What will we conclude about the next few years when we look at the generation of teachers who found their feet during this time? It needn’t be a famine. With the right investment, they could be really good years. If more teachers can thrive early, more will discover the unique pleasures of the profession in time to make a lasting commitment. If more thrive, more will stay. The effects will be felt for years, maybe even fifty years later.

That’s why I’m proud that Teach First, along with Ambition Institute, Education Development Trust, and UCL Institute of Education are accredited to offer the Early Career Framework as part of the pilot roll out.


Teach First are proud to be one of four accredited providers offering the Early Career Framework. Supported and funded by the Department for Education, Teach First is delivering the two-year early roll out of the programme in the North East, Greater Manchester, Doncaster and Bradford as well as the one-year national expansion across the rest of the country from September 2020.

Russell will be joined by a range of education experts for a panel discussion on 16 June, where they’ll be talking about how to support early career teachers in the new world, with a focus on how the Early Career Framework can help your school.

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