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What is the Early Career Framework?

In September 2021, the Early Career Framework (ECF) for all new teachers was introduced and replaces the previous programme for newly qualified teachers (NQTs).  The ECF reforms is a key part of the government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy and gives all Early Career Teachers (ECTs) a statutory entitlement to two years of high-quality training and in-school mentor support. 

  • All qualified teachers who are employed in a relevant school in England must, by law, have completed an induction period satisfactorily, subject to specified exemptions (see Annex A of the DfE ECF Statutory Guidance Document).
  • Early Career Framework (ECF) based training is expected to be embedded as a central aspect of induction; it is not an additional training programme.
  • An appropriate body has the main quality assurance role within the induction process. The appropriate body is responsible for checking that headteachers/principals have put in place an induction programme for the ECT and ensuring that this programme of support is clearly based on the ECF.
  • Monitoring and support throughout induction should be sufficient so that an ECT’s progress against the Teachers’ Standards is not unexpected when an ECT reaches a formal assessment point.



Teachers are the foundation of the education system – there are no great schools without great teachers. Teachers deserve high quality support throughout their careers, particularly in those first years of teaching when the learning curve is steepest. Just as with other esteemed professions like medicine and law, teachers in the first years of their career require high quality, structured support in order to begin the journey towards becoming an expert. During induction, it is essential that early career teachers are able to develop the knowledge, practices and working habits that set them up for a fulfilling and successful career in teaching. However, too often, new teachers have not enjoyed the support they need to thrive, nor have they had adequate time to devote to their professional development. The Early Career Framework (ECF) underpins an entitlement to a fully-funded, two-year package of structured training and support for early career teachers linked to the best available research evidence. The package of reforms will ensure new teachers have dedicated time set aside to focus on their development. Our vision is for the ECF to build on high-quality Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and become the cornerstone of a successful career in teaching.

The Early Career Framework builds on Initial Teacher Training and provides a platform for future development The content of the ECF builds on and complements ITT. The ECF underpins what all early career teachers should be entitled to learn about and learn how to do based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence. As is the case for other professions, areas covered in initial training will be covered in greater depth as part of induction as teachers continue on their journey to becoming experts. 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 congruence 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. While the ECF is presented around the Teachers’ Standards for clarity, the ECF is not, and should not be used, as an assessment framework. Early career teachers will not be expected to collect evidence against the ECF, and they will continue to be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards only. The ECF will underpin an entitlement to training and support for early career teachers and should not be seen as an additional assessment tool.