Guidance

Guidance for schools: how to manage ECF-based training

Information for school leaders and induction tutors on training based on the early career framework (ECF), part of induction for early career teachers (ECTs).

Applies to England

Overview

Early career teachers are entitled to 2 years of training based on the early career framework.

This training is part of statutory induction and is known as ‘ECF-based training’.

Setting up your ECF-based training

For ECTs to serve induction at your school, you must have:

Read our step-by-step guide to setting up your ECF-based training.

Appoint an appropriate body

You must appoint an appropriate body for each of your ECTs.

Appropriate bodies quality assure induction. They:

  • confirm each ECT’s role is suitable to count towards their statutory induction
  • register each ECT’s induction with the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA)
  • check your ECTs receive their statutory entitlements
  • make sure formal assessments are fair and appropriate

If your school delivers training using accredited materials or designs and delivers your own training, your appropriate body will check that the training is based on the ECF. This process is known as ‘fidelity checking’. Schools using a DfE-funded training provider will not need to have these checks.

Most schools appoint one appropriate body for all their ECTs, but you can appoint a different appropriate body:

  • as a choice for a new ECT, or group of ECTs, due to start induction
  • when an ECT did their initial teacher training (ITT) through an accredited provider who cannot then be the appropriate body assuring their induction
  • where an ECT is serving their induction in a teaching school hub or appropriate body, who cannot also be the appropriate body assuring their induction

Find information on local and national appropriate bodies.

Read more about the role and responsibilities of appropriate bodies.

Nominate an induction tutor

Your school must nominate an induction tutor to be our point of contact. This person is given access to our manage training for early career teachers service. Currently you can only nominate one induction tutor at a time.

If your school has not registered an induction tutor with us before, request a link so you can nominate a new induction tutor.

If you want to change to a new induction tutor, your current induction tutor can sign in to our service to nominate someone else to be the induction tutor. This will transfer access to your school’s account to the new induction tutor.

If you’re not sure if you have registered an induction tutor or an induction tutor has left your school without nominating a new induction tutor, email our support team at continuing-professional-development@digital.education.gov.uk.

The role of an induction tutor

Your school induction tutor is responsible for the monitoring and support of your ECTs. They also manage progress reviews and coordinate formal assessments.

Ideally your school induction tutor will not mentor an ECT at the same time. This is because the 2 roles have separate and different responsibilities.

Your induction tutor should:

  • hold qualified teacher status (QTS)
  • have the skills and knowledge needed to assess your ECT’s progress against the teachers’ standards
  • carry out regular progress reviews
  • undertake 2 formal assessment meetings with each ECT during the 2-year induction period, one midway through induction and one at the end
  • be able to recognise when early action is needed if an ECT is experiencing difficulties

You can read more about the roles and responsibilities of an induction tutor in section 5 of the statutory guidance on ECT induction.

Report how you run your ECF-based training

You must tell us about changes to your ECF-based training as soon as possible. This is in addition to any information you give to your appropriate body, lead provider or delivery partner.

Sign into our manage training for early career teachers service to:

  • tell us if and when you expect ECTs to start their inductions at your school
  • choose or change how your school will run your ECF-based training
  • change who will be the induction tutor for your school

If your school is using a training provider or accredited materials, sign into our service to:

  • tell us the details of each new ECT
  • tell us the details of each new mentor assigned to an ECT, or assign an existing mentor

You can add ECTs at any time, but they’ll only become eligible for funded training once they have qualified teacher status (QTS).

For help using the service, email our support team at continuing-professional-development@digital.education.gov.uk.

Delivery options for ECF-based training

Your school has 3 delivery options for ECF-based training.

You can choose to:

It’s up to your school leaders to decide which option will be best for your ECTs and mentors.

Find out more about funding and eligibility for ECF-based training.

Option 1: use a DfE-funded training provider

This is where a training provider and a delivery partner provide ECF-based training directly to your ECTs. They also train your mentors on how to support ECTs.

This option is fully funded by DfE, so there are no costs for eligible schools.

Lead providers

Schools can choose from 6 training providers. These organisations are known as ‘lead providers’.

The 6 lead providers are:

The training programmes designed by these lead providers are accredited by DfE and quality assured by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

Delivery partners

Lead providers work with ‘delivery partners’ to deliver their training programmes to ECTs and mentors from schools across England.

Delivery partners include:

Ofsted inspection

Lead providers are regularly inspected by Ofsted on the:

  • quality of professional development and training
  • leadership and management of the lead provider

During an inspection, Ofsted inspectors visit a sample of the lead provider’s delivery partners. The inspectors also talk to ECTs, mentors and trainers about the programme.

The performance of ECTs, mentors and trainers is not inspected.

Register with a lead provider

Contact the lead providers to:

  • get more information about their ECF-based training programmes
  • register your school for ECF-based training

When you register with a lead provider, they will report the partnership to us and also tell us which delivery partner you’ll be using.

You’ll see the lead provider and delivery partner’s names in your account when you sign into our manage training for early career teachers service.

If you cannot see their names, ask your lead provider to confirm the partnership with DfE.

Option 2: use DfE-accredited materials to deliver your own training

Schools choosing this option must use ECF-based training materials from one of 4 suppliers:

  • Ambition Institute
  • Education Development Trust
  • Teach First
  • UCL Early Career Teacher Consortium

The materials are quality assured by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). They include:

  • self-directed study materials
  • mentor session guidelines
  • training session outlines

Your appropriate body will fidelity check your programme to make sure it covers the full depth of the ECF.

How to access the DfE-accredited materials

To access and compare the training materials from the 4 suppliers, sign into the support for early career teachers service. You can create an account for your school if you do not already have one.

We email your ECTs and mentors a link to the DfE-accredited materials when they pass our eligibility checks.

Option 3: designing and delivering your own ECF-based training

Your school can choose to design and deliver your own 2-year training programme based on the ECF.

If your school chooses this option, your induction tutor should sign into our manage training for early career teachers service to tell us. You do not need to register your ECTs and mentors on the service, as there is no requirement for eligibility checks.

Your appropriate body will fidelity check your programme to make sure it covers the full depth of the ECF.

Making changes to an existing training programme

Changing to a different training delivery method part-way through an ECT’s induction period is not recommended.

If you cannot avoid making a change, you should:

  • research the change fully, so you can be sure the new delivery method is right for your ECTs and mentors
  • plan the change for the end of a school year, if possible

If you’re using a training provider

To change to another lead provider:

  1. Contact your current lead provider directly to discuss your concerns.
  2. If you decide to change to another lead provider, you’ll then need to register with the new lead provider.
  3. Contact the current lead provider again. They’ll confirm the end of the partnership with you.
  4. Send this confirmation to our support team at continuing-professional-development@digital.education.gov.uk.
  5. We’ll send your school an email when we’ve removed your current lead provider from your account.
  6. Your new lead provider will report the partnership to us. This may take a few weeks. Once they’ve done this, you’ll see the change in your account when you sign into the DfE service.

To change to another delivery partner but stay with the same lead provider:

  1. Contact your lead provider directly to discuss your concerns.
  2. If you decide to change to another delivery partner, your lead provider will confirm the change with you.
  3. Your lead provider will tell us about the change to the new delivery partner. This may take a few weeks. Once they’ve done this, you’ll see the change in your account when you sign into the DfE service.

To switch from using a training provider to another delivery method:

  1. Contact your lead provider directly to discuss your concerns.
  2. If you decide to change to another delivery method, your lead provider will confirm the end of the partnership with you.
  3. Send this confirmation to our support team at: continuing-professional-development@digital.education.gov.uk.
  4. We’ll send your school an email to confirm the change.
  5. When you receive the email, sign into our manage training for early career teachers service and tell us how you plan to continue your ECTs’ training.

If you’re using DfE-accredited materials

Your ECTs and mentors may lose their progress if you make a change to a training programme they have already started.

Email our support team at continuing-professional-development@digital.education.gov.uk to:

  • change to a different set of DfE-accredited materials
  • switch to using a DfE-funded training provider
  • tell us you want to design and deliver your own training programme

If you’re designing and delivering your own training programme

You do not need to tell DfE about a redesign of your training programme. Your appropriate body will still fidelity check the programme to make sure it covers the full depth of the ECF.

To switch from your own training programme to another delivery method:

  1. Sign into the manage training for early career teachers service to change your programme.
  2. Follow the instructions in the service to tell us how you plan to continue your ECTs’ training.

You’ll need to add your ECTs and mentors to the service so we can check their eligibility for DfE funding.

Supporting ECTs

ECTs should participate in ECF-based training as fully as possible, although failing to complete it does not mean they fail their induction.

You can share the guidance for ECTs on ECF-based training to help your ECTs understand how the training works.

You can also read about the expectations for an ECT in section 5 of the statutory guidance on induction for ECTs.

Part-time induction and reduced induction periods

If your school uses a training provider, contact your lead provider for their policies on part-time induction and reduced induction periods. You will also need to ask the ECT’s appropriate body to agree to any reduction to their induction period.

If your school uses accredited materials or designs and delivers its own training, contact your appropriate body for advice on part-time induction and reduced induction periods.

When an ECT is serving a reduced induction period, there’s no expectation that they should cover the full depth of the ECF. Your headteacher should work with your induction tutor, appropriate body and training provider (where relevant) to make sure training and support is appropriate for the ECT.

ECT engagement with training provider programmes

If your school uses a training provider, the lead provider will have minimum requirements for ECT engagement. This is to make sure ECTs receive their statutory entitlement to ECF-based training.

If an ECT cannot meet those engagement requirements, they may be withdrawn from the programme by the lead provider. If this happens, your school may have to provide them with alternative ECF-based training.

Handling ECTs’ concerns and difficulties

If an ECT is struggling with their training, they should ask their induction tutor for help. If your school is using a training provider, they can speak to them too.

When an ECT has concerns about their induction or statutory entitlements (time off timetable and support from a mentor), they should speak to your school induction tutor first.

If your induction tutor is unable to help, the ECT can speak to their appropriate body. ECTs must be given the contact details of a named person at the appropriate body at the start of their induction.

ECT transfers between schools part-way through induction

Sign into the manage training for early career teachers service to tell us as soon as you know an ECT will be:

  • transferring to your school part-way through their induction
  • transferring away from your school part-way through their induction

We need this information so both schools receive the correct funding.

What to do when an ECT transfers to your school

  1. Report the transfer to the appropriate body you’ve appointed for the ECT. They’ll need to complete some checks and update the ECT’s record with the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).
  2. Ask the ECT or their previous school to provide records of any assessments and progress reviews completed so far.

How to continue an ECT’s training

ECTs should continue with their existing ECF-based training programme if at all possible.

Where this is not possible, you’ll need to make arrangements for the ECT to continue their ECF-based training with a different training provider or by another delivery method.

You should discuss these arrangements with:

  • the appropriate body you have appointed for them
  • your lead provider, if you’ll use a training provider to continue their training
  • their previous lead provider, if their old school used a training provider to deliver their training

Supporting mentors

It’s important that mentors are given adequate time to carry out their role effectively, so they can meet the needs of their ECTs.

You should timetable ECT and mentor sessions during teaching hours wherever possible, as schools receive DfE funding to cover mentor time off timetable.

In exceptional circumstances, mentoring may take place outside of teaching hours but these sessions should always be scheduled within contracted time.

Mentor responsibilities

These include:

  • working with your school to make sure their ECT receives a high-quality induction programme
  • meeting regularly with their ECT to provide support and feedback
  • providing or arranging mentoring and coaching around specific phases and subject areas
  • taking prompt, appropriate action if their ECT is having difficulties

You can share the guidance for mentors on ECF-based training to help your mentors understand their role.

Ideally your school induction tutor will not be assigned as a mentor at the same time. This is because the 2 roles have separate and different responsibilities.

You can read more about the role and responsibilities of mentors in section 5 of the statutory guidance on ECT induction.

Mentor sessions and observations

ECTs are entitled to mentor support throughout their 2-year induction period. Schools receive DfE funding to cover mentor time off timetable.

Your headteacher and appropriate body are expected to check that mentors have enough time to meet with their ECTs on a regular basis.

If your school uses a training provider, your mentors may be asked to carry out observations as part of ECF-based training. These observations are for professional development purposes and must not be used for formal assessment.

Mentor training from training providers

If your school uses a training provider, each mentor will be given 36 hours of mentor training over 2 years. This is to make sure mentors know how to support ECTs through an ECF-based training programme.

Every mentor at your school is expected to take part in this training. Schools receive DfE funding for each mentor to backfill time off timetable.

Schools should not send one mentor for training and then expect that mentor to train their colleagues. Your lead provider will have minimum engagement requirements for all the mentors at your school.

If an ECT moves schools or withdraws part-way through their induction, their assigned mentor can continue their training as long as they are ready to work with other ECTs.

Mentors without QTS or QTLS

Mentors are expected to hold QTS and have the necessary skills and knowledge to work successfully in this role.

You can assign a mentor who does not hold QTS or qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS), as long as they have the necessary skills and knowledge to support an ECT. Your headteacher should check this decision with the ECT’s appropriate body.

If your school uses a training provider or accredited materials, the mentor without QTS or QTLS may need to apply for a teacher reference number (TRN) if they do not already have one. This is so we can carry out an eligibility check for funding and access to materials.

Handling mentors’ concerns and difficulties

If a mentor has concerns or difficulties, they should contact your school induction tutor.

Tell your appropriate body if a mentor does not have the time or ability to carry out their role effectively.

Published 13 April 2022
Last updated 8 September 2022 + show all updates
  1. We have clarified the circumstances where schools can appoint different appropriate bodies for their ECTs, in the section ‘Setting up your ECF-based training’. Schools are now advised to tell DfE the details of new ECTs and mentors, as outlined in the manage training for ECTs service, rather than their name and email address.

  2. The sub-section ‘Appoint an appropriate body’ has been updated to clarify that schools may appoint more than one appropriate body for their ECTs. The sections ‘Making changes to an existing training programme’ and ‘ECT transfers between schools part-way through induction’ have been created to provide specific detail on the steps for schools to follow.

  3. First published.