Early Career Framework FAQs

This page provides general information about the Early Career Framework, alongside specialised FAQs for early career teachers, mentors and ECF induction tutors.

Please refer to the sections below to find the information you need. We'll update this page throughout the year.

Frequently Asked Questions

General information
What is the Early Career Framework (ECF) programme?

The Early Career Framework (ECF) programme is a fully-funded, two-year package of structured training and guidance for early career teachers (ECTs). The ECF programme is at the heart of the Department for Education’s (DfE) teacher recruitment and retention strategy to transform the support teachers get at the beginning of their careers. It’s linked to the best available research, ensuring ECTs have the dedicated time needed to focus on development.

Why was the ECF programme established?

In 2019 the DfE published the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which outlined the challenges being faced in education today, specifically the number of teachers leaving the profession. It identified that a root cause of this issue was the fact that teachers at the start of their career don’t always get the support they need and introduced the most significant reform to teacher development in a generation to address this – the Early Career Framework (ECF).

The Early Career Framework outlines the knowledge and skills that early career teachers (ECTs) need to know, and it has been used to create the two-year programme. The ECF programme aims to provide the right support to lay the platform for a fulfilling and rewarding career in teaching.

Who is eligible for the Early Career Framework?

All early career teachers (ECTs), formerly referred to as newly qualified teachers (NQTs), across all subjects and phases at state-funded schools are eligible for the ECF programme.

Is the ECF programme mandatory? 

From September 2021, schools must ensure all early career teachers (ECTs) are being supported by the Early Career Framework over a two-year period. Taking our ECF programme is one of the ways to fulfil this obligation.

More information on your options is available on the DfE website.

How much will the ECF programme cost my school?

The ECF programme is fully funded by the DfE when you take the full induction programme either directly with us or through one of our delivery partners (teaching school hubs and multi-academy trusts working with us to deliver our programme).

In the first year of the ECF, the DfE will provide funds to reduce each early career teacher’s timetable by 10%.

In the second year, the DfE will provide your school with extra funding to reduce each early career teacher’s timetable by 5%. The DfE will also provide funding for in-school mentors in the second year, based on 20 hours of mentoring as well as additional funding for mentors to engage in 36 hours of training provided.

Schools will receive a single payment in the summer term. This payment will be based on termly data collections from Teach First regarding the number of early career teachers who have successfully engaged with the programme each term. Training delivered by one of the approved training providers is also paid for directly by the DfE, so schools do not have to face any payment burdens.

Further information on funding and your options is available on the DfE website.

What is Teach First’s role in the delivery of the Early Career Framework?

Teach First is delighted to have been selected by the DfE as one of seven lead providers of the ECF programme. Our expertise in teacher development, alongside our practical experience of being part of the ECF early roll-out in 2020/21, allows us to provide the very best support for your teachers and your school.

We’re also working with our delivery partners across the country to deliver our ECF programme in some regions.

How is the Early Career Framework (ECF) programme delivered?

Our ECF programme is delivered through a mix of face-to-face and online modules and is structured in a way that will help early career teachers (ECTs) integrate theory, practice and feedback.

What are the school-based roles required to deliver ECF?
  • Early career teacher (ECT) – any teacher in school who will be part of the ECF training programme (formerly referred to as newly qualified teachers, or 'NQTs').
  • Mentor – a subject or phase specialist from the teaching staff who will provide one-to-one support and mentoring to the ECT throughout the two years. The mentor will also have access to face-to-face and online training to help them become a great mentor.
  • ECF induction tutor - a senior leader in the school.  They will be the school’s point of contact and are usually the person accountable for ensuring the ECF runs smoothly in the school itself. 

Each module includes self-directed study materials containing expert guidance, research and examples of best practice. Programme members will join seminars to discuss theory and their own experiences with small groups of peers and experts. 

Does the programme cater for phase-specific and subject-specific learning?

Yes. Year two of the programme will focus on targeted support for each teacher’s subject or phase.

When does the ECF programme start?

As early career teachers can be recruited throughout the academic year, providers offer different intakes. At Teach First, we have an intake of ECTs onto our Early Career Framework programme in September, January and April each year. This is a two-year programme, no matter what stage of the academic year an ECT starts.

Signing up for the Early Career Framework (ECF) programme
Why should my school choose the Teach First ECF programme?

By working with Teach First, your school will benefit from the following:

School-led approach: Developed with schools, for schools.
Experience: Over 20 years helping new teachers get better, faster – whether they trained with us or not.
Expertise: Cutting-edge, research-led training, supported by experts in education.

For more details on the benefits please see our ECF programme webpage.

If your school’s location and circumstances mean that you will take our programme through one of our delivery partners, you will get the same Teach First programme materials delivered by the expert team at the delivery partner assigned for your region.

  • Flexibility: Online learning resources that fit around teachers’ timetables.
  • Tailored: Subject- and phase-specific support from our specialists, for teachers and their mentors.
  • Connections: Get connected to our network of thousands of schools, teachers and leaders.
  • Wellbeing: A module available for teachers and mentors to help manage their workload and wellbeing.
How do I sign my school up to Teach First’s ECF programme?

Whether you have an ECT currently on Teach First’s programme or not, our Early Career Framework webpage will tell you how to register your school’s interest (particularly under the ‘Apply’ tab). Please note that spaces are limited so we encourage you to register as soon as possible. We will then contact you to confirm if we can offer you a space on our programme. 

Depending on your school’s location and circumstances, we may be able to work with you directly or through one of our delivery partners. We’ll let you know when you register your interest / apply.

What are delivery partners? How can my school take the Teach First ECF programme through them?

Delivery partners are teaching school hubs and multi-academy trusts (MATs) across the country that we are working with to deliver our ECF programme to schools in their allocated area. Depending on your school’s location and circumstances, you may work with us directly or be directed to take our programme through one of our delivery partners.

If you are in a region covered by one of our delivery partners, we strongly suggest you contact them directly to take our ECF programme through them. The full list of our ECF delivery partners and their contact details is on our ECF delivery partner webpage.

If you are unsure whether you are in a delivery partner’s region, or want more general information about our ECF programme then you can register your school’s interest with us by filling in the form on our ECF webpage. We will then direct you to the right delivery partner if one is available for you, or in small number of cases, we may be able to work with you directly.

Please note that spaces for working with us directly and through delivery partners are limited, so we recommend that you register your interest as soon as possible, and provide an estimated number of early career teachers (ECTs). Please be aware that registering your interest in the ECF does not guarantee you any places on the programme.

What if I am not sure how many ECTs I will have this year and how to account for those who join later in the year?

As part of the registration process, we ask you to provide an estimate of the number of trainees who will be eligible to start the ECF programme each year. 

There are three separate enrolment periods in which an ECT can join across the year, these coincide with the start of each term  – September, January and April.  

The overall estimate number across the year should be broken down and distributed across the three intake periods. An example would be a target of 120, which includes 100 ECTs in September, 20 in January and zero in April. These numbers allow us to correctly monitor and allocate the limited spaces on our programme. If you aren’t able to provide an estimate, please note this on your expression of interest form.

Using the Teach First portal

Our self-service website allows single schools and multi-academy trusts to express an interest in any Teach First programme.

Information on using the Teach First portal can be found here.

If I am already on the ECF programme, where can I find the latest details about the programme? 

If you are a current programme member, you should refer to your programme guide which is available on your My Teach First account. You should also receive regular email bulletins with the latest programme information. 

If you have any questions about your current programme, or do not have access to your programme guide, please contact us.

Further information

Information for early career teachers (ECTs)

Information for mentors

Information for ECF Leads

Delivery Partner contacts

Induction, training and support for early career teachers (external DfE link)

Manage training for early career teachers – how to set up ECF training (external DfE link) 



To register your school for the Early Career Framework, click below:

Register your interest

Already work with us? Sign up here. 

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