Early Career Framework: FAQs for mentors

These FAQs are aimed at mentors on the Early Career Framework (ECF) programme.

Please refer to the sections below to find the information you need. We’ll update and add to this information as the programme progresses.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the role of an ECF mentor?

A mentor plays the most important role in supporting a new teacher’s development. In the first week of term, the nominated mentor will meet their early career teacher (ECT). This is a chance to discuss ways of working and the early career teacher's (ECT's) areas for development, with a focus on the first module related to behaviour and high expectations.

Mentors will attend online seminars each half term to complement the modules being undertaken by their ECTs are learning about and can tailor and align support accordingly.

They will provide instructional coaching through regular meetings with their ECT. 

What training and support is available to mentors?

At the start of the programme, mentors will receive training to develop skills in:

  • assessing teacher progress
  • providing effective feedback
  • using deliberate practice to accelerate progress
  • how to provide further challenge to high-performing early career teachers.

Mentors will also have the opportunity to learn from experts as part of the programme. Through half-termly online or in-person seminars, they’ll discover the best ways to reflect on their practice and develop their instructional coaching skills. 

What is the time commitment for a mentor in year one?
  • complete mentor induction (6 hours)   
  • engage with weekly overview videos, which support in understanding how you can best support your ECT each week (approx. 1 hour per half term)  
  • complete self-directed study (30-45 minute per half term) 
  • attend online or face-to-face seminars (1 hour per half term) 
  • lead weekly 1:1 session with your ECT (1 hour each).  
What is the time commitment for a mentor in year two?
  • complete mentor induction (4 hours and 30 minutes- 3-hour seminar and 1 hour and 30-45 minutes of self-directed study)  
  • complete self-directed study (30-45 minutes per half term) 
  • attend online or face-to-face seminars (1 hour per half term) 
  • lead 1:1 fortnightly interactions with your ECT (1 hour each)   
  • if possible, attend the demonstration (observation and/or discussion) with your ECT (1 hour per half term).
What does the mentor-ECT interaction look like? Can a school adapt this?

This interaction is weekly in year one, using instructional coaching as a basis. In year two, meetings are fortnightly.

Mentoring is bespoke, depending on the needs of the ECT. There is guidance and support which is provided to help mentors give informed and sequenced support alongside the modules.  However, there is flexibility dependent on the specific needs of the ECT.

Can mentors be assigned to more than one ECT, especially in smaller schools?

If mentors can provide quality support, they can mentor more than one ECT.  However, we would recommend that you assign different mentors to your ECTs to support with mentor capacity and workload.

Should each ECT have separate mentor meetings, or is it possible to have group mentoring sessions?

Ideally, each ECT would have dedicated one-to-one mentoring time per week.  Group mentoring by a mentor may be appropriate in certain circumstances but is unlikely to meet the needs of each ECT if this approach is taken across the whole year.

The approach to instructional coaching requires mentors to provide bespoke feedback and opportunities to practice and agree specific steps for improvement, so it will require separate mentor meetings.

Return to the Early Career Framework knowledge base.

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