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Where have all the NQTs gone? What the ECF is and why it is useful for all teachers


As you may be aware, you can catch up with Teacher Talk, The Polesworth School's Lead Practitioner Newsletter via our discussion forum as the majority of the topics are designed to spark discussion. This article gives the reader food for thought and merited a blog article in its own right.


As of September 2021 the term NQT has been replaced with Early Career Teacher (ECT). Over the past couple of years, in collaboration with an Expert Advisory Group, the Department for Education consulted extensively with the education sector to design the Early Career Framework. This has included input from teachers, school leaders and academics. The Framework was then independently reviewed by the Education Endowment Foundation.


The rationale behind the introduction of the ECF is to combat the fall in recruitment, and even more so, retention of new colleagues joining the profession. The key changes for ECTs are:


  • The standard length of induction has been increased from one school year to two school years

  • In addition to the 10% timetable reduction that ECTs receive in their first year of induction, ECTs will also receive a 5% timetable reduction in the second year of induction

  • Schools are expected to deliver an induction period that is underpinned by the ECF

  • The role of the mentor has been introduced


The ECF has been designed to support early career teacher development in 5 core areas – behaviour management, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and professional behaviours. In order to ensure compatibility with the 8 Teachers’ Standards, the content of the framework is presented in 8 sections. In developing the framework, behaviour management was thought to be encompassed by High Expectations and Managing Behaviour (S1 and S7); pedagogy was thought to be encompassed by How Pupils Learn, Classroom Practice and Adaptive Teaching (S2, S4, S5); and curriculum, assessment and professional behaviours were thought to be encompassed by S3, S6 and S8 respectively.


The ECF sets out two types of content. Within each area, key evidence statements (“Learn that…”) have been drawn from current high-quality evidence from the UK and overseas. In addition, the ECF provides practical guidance on the skills that early career teachers should be supported to develop. Practice statements (“Learn how to…”) draw on both educational research and on additional guidance from the Expert Advisory Group and other sector representatives.


The ECF is actually a really useful document for teachers, whatever stage in their career they may be. For many of us, the Teacher Standards are something that we lived and breathed during our training and NQT years, but then have fallen by the wayside due to full teaching timetables, planning, marking, roles of responsibilities and generally life. However, the Teacher Standards are the guiding principles for our day to day practice. The ECF is an extensive consideration of each of the Teacher Standards with further reading recommendations for each standard. Have a look and perhaps use it as a self reflection tool!

Further Reading:


https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/978358/Early-Career_Framework_April_2021.pdf