There are yet more acronyms being introduced to the world of education. You may have heard the latest letters floating around your school, so today we’re going to explain what the new acronyms are and what the Early Career Framework (ECF) means for new teachers and their mentors.


What does ECT mean?

Early Career Teacher.

Historically, we have known the route from Initial Teacher Training (ITT) into a teaching job go a little something like this:

Graduation from undergraduate degree > A 1-year Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course, gaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) > Year 1 of teaching – as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) > Year 2 teaching onwards – as a Fully Qualified Teacher.

early career teacher on desk

Typically run for one academic year, Initial Teacher Training can either be conducted via the university-led or school-led routes (such as School Direct or SCITT). After your first year of training, you were classed as a Newly Qualified Teacher. During your NQT year, you receive an additional 10% reduction in the normal teaching load for support and training. 

After a full year as an NQT (and provided you passed your Statutory Induction), you become a Fully Qualified Teacher. Thereafter you’ll continue on the progression path through self-research, resources, and Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Although in place for a very long time, this current training timeline has seen new teachers across the nation often experience limited time to devote to their professional development. This ultimately hinders their ability to successfully kick start their careers in teaching.

It’s time for change

In January 2019 the government announced that they were aiming to ‘transform the support and development offer for teachers at the start of their career’ with the nationwide roll-out of the Early Career Framework to come in 2021. 

It’s evident that the first years of practice are where teachers journey through the steepest learning curve and therefore require the most support. The government has backed new teachers stating ‘it is essential for Early Career Teachers to receive access to high-quality resources and support which will develop the knowledge, practices, and working habits that set new teachers up for a fulfilling and successful career in teaching.’ 

This means the timeline from ITT to being fully qualified will differ and from September 2021 will look more like this:



Graduation from undergraduate degree > A 1-year Initial Teacher Training course, gaining QTS > Years 1 & 2 of teaching – as an Early Career Teacher > Year 3 of teaching onwards – as a Fully Qualified Teacher.

This results in the term ‘Newly Qualified Teacher’ eventually becoming redundant as we transition to the new ECF framework.

What does ECF mean?

Early Career Framework. 

The Department for Education’s (DfE) Early Career Framework underpins a funded, two-year package of structured training and support for ECT’s. It ensures new teachers have dedicated time to focus on their development, building on their Initial Teacher Training.

The first few years of a teacher’s career are critical, where learning opportunities, nurturing and support can make or break a career in teaching. This has never been more true than for Early Career Teachers starting in 2021.

The content of the Early Career Framework builds on and complements ITT. The ECF underpins what ECT’s should be entitled to learn about and learn how to based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence.

The framework includes sections on:

  • Behaviour Management
  • Pedagogy
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment
  • Professional Behaviours

This new initiative provides:

  • 2 years of funded high-quality training
  • Development materials based on the Early Career Framework
  • Additional funding for 5% time away from the classroom for teachers in their second year
  • A dedicated mentor, plus support for these mentors
  • Funding to cover mentors’ time with the mentee in the second year of teaching

A trial roll-out of the Early Career Framework reforms was launched in Autumn 2020 with participating schools providing feedback to ensure all needs are being met. Later this year, all schools will have the opportunity to introduce this benefit to their new teachers. The Appropriate Body will have a large part to play in ensuring that the ECF is being followed. They’ll also provide support to schools, mentors, and new teachers as necessary. 

Are you ECF ready?

The Early Career Framework starts in September. Do you have everything ready for your Early Career Teachers? If not, the South Yorkshire Teaching Hub is running a couple of free information sessions for schools in Sheffield and Rotherham. 

We have experience of the ECF pilot and so will be able to cover what you need to have in place from September 2021. We strongly recommend joining the Zoom event so you’re up to speed in time for the roll-out. 

To register for the event please visit the Eventbrite links below next to your preferred time and date. Once you have registered you will receive a Zoom link to the event. 

mentor and early career teacher


Are you ECF ready event dates:

Date: Wednesday 24th March 2021
Time: 10:30am – 11:30am
Link to register:

And also:

Date: Tuesday 30th March 2021
Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Link to register: