Early Career Teachers: what do I need to know?


The term Early Career Teachers (ECT) replaces the term Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT). 

We support early career teachers (as well as all other school staff) and you contact us for employment support and advice in your role.

All early career teachers can receive 50% off their monthly subscription by using the following promo code when taking out a subscription: ECT-monthly-50

In this article, we provide an overview of the induction process for early career teachers and some of the major changes which have taken place.

Induction for early careers teachers

The Department for Education (DfE) explains in its Induction for Early Careers Teachers document the standard length of induction has been increased from one school year to two school years.

Some of the other main changes include:

  • Schools are expected to deliver an induction period that is underpinned by the Early Careers Framework
  • In addition to the 10% timetable reduction that early career teachers receive in their first year of induction, they will also receive a 5% timetable reduction in the second year of induction 
  • The role of the mentor has been introduced. The mentor will have a key role in supporting the ECT during induction and is separate to the role of the induction tutor
  • There will be two formal assessment points, one midway through induction, and one at the end of the induction period. These will be supported by regular progress reviews to monitor progress, to take place in each term where a formal assessment is not scheduled
  • In cases where ECTs working part-time can demonstrate that they have met the Teachers’ Standards, the appropriate body is able to reduce the length of the induction period and bring forward the final assessment point. This decision is only to be made in agreement with the ECT and once the ECT has completed a period covering, but not equivalent to, two school years
  • The number of ad-hoc absences permitted has been extended, in line with the extended length of induction 

The DfE states that the purpose of induction is the bridge between initial teacher training and a career in teaching.

It combines a structured programme of development, support and professional dialogue, underpinned by the Early Career Framework, with monitoring and an assessment of performance against the Teachers’ Standards. 

Ensuring a reduced timetable for early career teachers

The DfE explains that the headteacher/principal must ensure that the ECT has a reduced timetable. In the first year (terms 1-3) of induction an ECT must not teach more than 90% of the timetable of the school’s existing teachers on the main pay range and in the second year (terms 4-6) of induction must not teach more than 95%. 

This time off timetable should be used to specifically enable ECTs to undertake activities in their induction programme. This is in addition to the timetable reduction in respect of planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA) that all teachers receive. 

ECTs in independent schools, academies and free schools, BSOs, independent nursery schools and FE colleges must also have a reduced timetable on a comparable basis

How are early career teachers assessed?

The DfE explains that the Teachers’ Standards will be used to assess an ECT’s performance at the end of their induction period. The decision about whether an ECT’s performance against the relevant standards is satisfactory upon completion of induction should take into account the ECT’s work context and must be made on the basis of what can be reasonably expected of an ECT by the end of their induction period within the context of the standards.

We have published another support article about the Teachers’ Standards here.

Formal assessments

The DfE explains ECTs should have formal assessments carried out by either the headteacher/principal or the induction tutor. Mentors should not carry out formal assessments unless they are also acting as the induction tutor. ECTs should receive an assessment in the final term of the first year (term 3) and in the final term of the second year of induction (term 6). It is for institutions and ECTs to agree exactly when the assessment dates are set.

ECTs should be kept up to date on their progress. There should be nothing unexpected.

The final assessment meeting is at the end of the induction period, and will form the basis of the headteacher’s/principal’s recommendation to the appropriate body as to whether, having completed their induction period, the ECT’s performance against the Teachers’ Standards is satisfactory, unsatisfactory, or whether or not an extension should be considered.

Observation of early career teachers

An ECT’s teaching is expected to be observed at regular intervals throughout their induction period to facilitate a fair and effective assessment of the ECT’s teaching practice, conduct and efficiency against the Teachers’ Standards. Observations of the ECT may be undertaken by the induction tutor or another suitable person from inside or outside the institution.

It is also expected that: 

  • The observer holds QTS 
  • The ECT and the observer meet to review any teaching that has been observed, with arrangements for post-observation review meetings made in advance; 
  • Feedback from the observation is provided in a prompt manner and is constructive, with a brief written record made on each occasion; and 
  • Any written record will indicate where any development needs have been identified

We have published another support article which outlines how frequently teachers can be observed.

If you are an early career teacher and you require employment support you can contact us for advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.