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20th May, 2024

Dave Carter
Dave Carter
Job Title
Executive Regional Manager

Among the many roles within the sector, early career teachers (ECTs) play a crucial role in shaping the future of education.

With the right support, resources, and training, ECTs are given every chance to successfully navigate their early career years, and make a valuable contribution to their school and the wider community.

As the education sector continues to evolve and face challenges, the importance of supporting your ECTs remains a vital focus, ensuring the continued growth and development of our teachers and, ultimately, the future generation.

What’s being done?

According to the Education Endowment Foundation, the best available evidence indicates that ‘quality first teaching’ is the most important tool schools have to improve outcomes for their pupils.

That said, developing high-quality pedagogy remains a challenge when, since lockdown, a staggering one-in-three teachers are leaving the profession within five years. A response was desperately needed, and the Department for Education introduced greater support for new teachers via their Early Career Framework (ECF) – launched as part of their overarching recruitment and retention strategy.

Under the framework, ECTs work under the guidance of a mentor or an induction tutor and participate in professional development activities to enhance their teaching skills. But remember, the support of the senior leadership team will ensure that mentoring is at the highest standard for the school and the ECTs – allowing them to feel valued throughout.

What can you do to support your ECTs?

There are multiple ways your school can support the development of ECTs looking to make their mark in education.

Comprehensive training programmes

Early career teachers should continue their training after qualification that covers both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. These programmes should include courses on pedagogy, classroom management, curriculum development, assessment strategies, and educational psychology.

It’s worth noting that the ECF Framework provides a structured approach to support and guide the development of ECTs. It outlines the standards and expectations for ECTs during their induction period and beyond, ensuring they match the ambitions of the school.

Mentoring and support

Assigning each ECT a mentor can provide invaluable support and guidance. Mentors should be experienced educators who can offer advice, share best practices, and provide constructive feedback. It’s important to have the most experienced and passionate teachers as mentors, as they will need to model the excellent practice that new teachers are striving for.

As well as support from their mentors and departments, a friendly word and interaction with the senior leadership team can not only motivate them but will also make them feel much more part of the school - this can make all the difference when challenges present themselves in the classroom.

Classroom observation and practice teaching

‘Learning from the best’ - a phrase that is applicable throughout the education sector. ECTs should have the opportunity to observe experienced teachers in.

This hands-on experience will help them apply what they've learned in training and develop their own teaching style. They should receive regular feedback and evaluation to help them track their progress and identify areas for growth. This feedback should be constructive, specific, and actionable – allowing them to reflect on their methods and enhance them in their own way.

Professional development opportunities

Continued professional development is essential for ECTs to stay current with educational trends and refine their skills. Encourage participation in workshops, conferences, and online courses tailored to their needs and interests.

This will help encourage greater habits early on in their career.

Support for work-life balance

Teaching can be emotionally and physically demanding. It's important to provide ECTs with support and resources they need to maintain a healthy work-life balance and enhance your own employee value proposition at the same time.

Resources surrounding the subjects of stress management, time management, and self-care. We need to look after our staff and giving them the tools so they can engage in activities that recharge the batteries plays such a crucial role on alleviating some of the pressures on teachers and future teachers, helping them navigate stress, setbacks, and burnout.

Training in technology integration

Incorporating technology into the classroom is essential in today's digital age. Provide ECTs with training on how to effectively integrate technology tools and resources into their teaching practice which has become essential in digital learning.

It also helps to bring ECTs up to speed with the digital systems being used by your school so they can successfully integrate their lesson plans, gradings and assessments into the systems in place.

Think about culture and inclusion

As schools become more diverse, consider giving your ECTs adequate training on cultural competency so they can effectively support a diverse student population.

This includes understanding cultural differences, addressing implicit biases, and creating inclusive learning environments for all. Ensure your ECTs are equipped with the knowledge and skills to support students with diverse learning needs, including those with disabilities.

Encourage innovation

Students learn in different ways – there's no harm in encouraging your ECTs to experiment with innovative teaching practices and instructional methods. It may help to connect with those hard-to-reach students or those who struggle with traditional teaching methods.

There’s so much potential for teachers to be able to unlock the creativity in students, all while engaging them in a way which can bring about success.

Prioritise lifelong learning

Instil a culture of lifelong learning in early career teachers, emphasising the importance of continuous growth and development throughout their teaching careers. This can inspire them to seek out new opportunities for learning and self-improvement.

By considering these strategies, educational institutions can effectively prepare early career teachers for the demands of their profession, setting them up for success in the classroom and beyond.

Are you an ECT looking for employment opportunities? Or wanting to find the next generation of inspiring teachers for your school? Get in touch today to find out how we can help.