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Early Career Framework

Help your early career teachers thrive with Northamptonshire Teaching School Hub's Early Career Framework training.

What is the ECF?

The ECF is a two-year training and support entitlement for early career teachers and their in-school mentors, funded by the DfE. All early career teachers, no matter how they initially trained, are expected to complete it.

This two-year programme gives extended support to teachers at this critical time in their career. The training starts during a teacher’s qualifying year and continues the following year. The ECF programme aims to provide the right support to lay the platform for a fulfilling and rewarding career in teaching. 

Our high-quality ECF programme was recently inspected by Ofsted and rate as ‘outstanding’ in all areas. Highlights from the report include the programme’s quality –

“ECTs receive expertly designed training that is calibrated exceptionally well to meet their needs” and how it trains mentors to support their ECT effectively: “What mentors learn on their training programme is well attuned to what ECTs cover. The training enables mentors to reflect on the ECF and their own professional experiences to craft discussions with ECTs.”

Benefits of the ECF

Early career teachers benefit from:

  • A high-quality programme rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in all areas
  • a structured two-year package of support, training and resources  
  • flexible online and face to face training modules 
  • access to expert resources
  • a mentor, identified by you, trained by us
  • free membership to the Chartered College of Teaching

Your school benefits from:

  • A high-quality programme rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in all areas
  • face-to-face and online training for a middle leader to become a great mentor, designed in partnership with Deans for Impact
  • a network of mentors to share best practice 
  • free membership and resources from the Chartered College of Teaching for your early career teacher and mentor 
  • training for a Senior Leader to introduce the package to your school

Everyone benefits from Teach First’s & NTSH's:

  • Experience – 20 years of helping new teachers get better, faster.
  • Expertise – evidence and research led training, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
  • Flexibility – online learning resources that fit around teachers’ timetables.
  • Tailored approach – subject- and phase-specific support from our specialists.
  • Connections – get connected to our network of thousands of teachers, leaders and schools.
  • Wellbeing – a module available for teachers and mentors to help manage their workload and wellbeing.

Why NTSH & Teach First?

By working with NTSH & Teach First, your school will benefit from the following:

  • School-led approach: Developed with schools, for schools.
  • Experience: 20 years helping new teachers get better, faster – whether they trained with us or not.
  • Expertise: Cutting-edge, research-led training, supported by experts in education.

We have a network of expert delivery partners across the region that deliver the Teach First ECF programme.

The programme structure

Delivered through a mix of face-to-face and online modules, the programme is structured to help Early Career Teachers integrate theory, practice and feedback.

Year 1

Rooted in research and our expertise, and backed-up by a range of tailored resources, Year 1 of the programme consists of six modules:

  1. Creating powerful learning environments.
  2. How pupils learn.
  3. How to plan and teach lessons.
  4. Supporting every pupil to succeed.
  5. Assessment  and feedback.
  6. Planning a coherent curriculum.

Each module includes self-directed study materials containing expert guidance, research and examples of best practice.

Programme members will join online training seminars to discuss theory and their own experiences with small groups of peers and experts.

They’ll also get access to coaching sessions to support them to put the theory into practice with the support of their mentor.

Year 2

In Year 2, teachers will:

  • engage in subject/phase-specific learning and development 
  • develop their autonomy of learning
  • choose from a range of career development modules; (including implementing research in the classroom, understanding the role of a career leader, understanding the role of a mentor and understanding the role of a middle leader).
  • continue to benefit from instructional coaching sessions with their mentor

For mentors and schools

Mentors will get face-to-face and online training to develop skills in:

  • assessing teacher progress
  • providing effective feedback
  • using deliberate practice to accelerate progress
  • how to provide further challenge to high performing ECTs

They’ll attend webinars to complement the six modules being undertaken by their ECTs so they can tailor and align their support accordingly.

Mentors will also have the opportunity to learn from experts. Through half-termly webinars they’ll discover the best ways to reflect on their practice and develop their instructional coaching skills. And through Teach First’s network of 1,000 partners schools they will have opportunities to shadow outstanding practitioners and subject leaders.

Key programme information

When does the programme start?

As early career teachers can be recruited throughout the academic year, providers offer different intakes. At Teach First, we have an intake of ECTs on to our Early Career Framework programme in September, January and April each year. This is a two-year programme, no matter at what stage of the academic year an ECT starts.

School eligibility

While the ECF is open to all early career teachers in schools in England, we prioritise working with schools that teach a high number of pupils from low-income backgrounds.

What are delivery partners?

Teach First is delighted to have been selected by the DfE as one of the lead providers of the ECF programme. their expertise in teacher development, alongside our practical experience of being part of the ECF early roll-out in 2020/21, allows them to provide the very best support for your teachers and your school.

Northamptonshire Teaching School Hub is a Teach First Delivery Partner. Delivery partners are teaching school hubs and multi-academy trusts (MATs) across the country that we are working with to deliver our ECF programme to schools in their allocated area. 

DfE Funding

The ECF programme is fully funded by the DfE when you take the full induction programme either directly with us or through one of our delivery partners.

In the first year of the ECF, the DfE will provide funds to reduce each early career teacher’s timetable by 10% and release mentors to support your ECTs.  In the second year, the DfE will provide your school with extra funding to reduce each early career teacher’s timetable by 5% alongside additional funding for mentors to continue to work with ECTs.

Further information on funding and your options is available on the DfE website.

Who is the programme for?

All early career teachers (ECTs), formerly referred to as newly qualified teachers (NQTs), across all subjects and phases at state-funded schools are eligible for the ECF programme.

How is the ECF programme delivered?

Our Ofsted-rated ‘outstanding’ ECF programme is delivered through a mix of face-to-face and online modules and is structured in a way that will help early career teachers (ECTs) integrate theory, practice and feedback.

Each module includes self-directed study materials containing expert guidance, research and examples of best practice. Programme members will join online seminars to discuss theory and their own experiences with small groups of peers and experts.

What are the school-based roles required to deliver the ECF?

  • Early career teacher (ECT) – any teacher in school who will be part of the ECF training programme (formerly referred to as newly qualified teachers, or 'NQTs').
  • Mentor – a subject or phase specialist from the teaching staff who will provide one-to-one support and mentoring to the ECT throughout the two years. The mentor will also have access to face-to-face and online training to help them become a great mentor.
  • Induction tutor – a senior leader in the school.  They will be the school’s point of contact and are usually the person accountable for ensuring the ECF runs smoothly in the school itself. 

What is the role of the ECF induction tutor?

Schools will appoint an ECF induction tutor who is a senior leader in their school. They will be our point of contact and will be the person responsible for ensuring the programme is delivered to a high standard within their school(s). This includes:

  • Timetabling - making sure that ECTs and mentors have the appropriate timetables so they can make the most of the programme.
  • Retention of ECTs and mentors - to provide the right support to retain ECTs and mentors throughout the programme and to track engagement.
  • Selecting mentors - selecting high-quality mentors who have the knowledge, skills and capacity to support ECTs throughout the two-year programme.
  • Engagement – they will make sure their programme members are engaging with the programme. We will keep ECF induction tutors in the loop if their teachers aren't joining seminars and accessing their resources.

ECF induction tutors will be provided with a full induction. They will also receive a detailed programme guide and programme overview that will help them understand and support the ECF programme in their school.

How is the ECF assessed?

Schools use the Teachers’ Standards to manage progress reviews and in two formal assessments that will take place during the ECT’s induction. The decision about whether an ECT’s performance against the relevant standards is satisfactory takes into account the ECT’s work context and is 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. This assessment is separate to the ECF programme itself. The ECF is not and should not be used as an assessment tool.

Time commitment

All the training is flexible to fit around the teacher’s school commitments.


In year one, ECTs will:

  • attend a full induction.
  • spend a total of four and a half hours each half term learning content online – this is broken down into weekly bitesize chunks, to help support the teacher fit their learning into the half term attend two live online or in-person training sessions, lasting an hour and a half each.  
  • spend an hour each week with their mentor, either being observed, receiving feedback or discussing a topic in-depth to enhance ECTs understanding.

In year two, ECTs will:

  • attend a year two induction.
  • continue to have access to all the online materials from year one, including stretch content to deepen knowledge, and complete 45 minutes of self-directed study each half term.
  • meet with their mentor for an hour every two weeks attend a phased/subject-specific seminar every half term to collaborate on learning and development.


In year one, mentors will:  

  • attend a full induction.  
  • carry out weekly instructional coaching interactions with their ECT.
  • attend six 1-hour seminars and a related optional self-directed study session, one per half term.
  • engage with weekly overview videos, which support them to understand how they can best support their ECT each week (approximately one per half term).

In year two, mentors will:

  • attend the year two induction complete mentor induction.
  • complete six 1-hour seminars and a related 30-45 minute self-directed study session, one per half term.
  • Have three interactions with their ECT each half term that follows a development cycle. These interactions will enable mentors to identify areas of development with their ECT, discuss progress and learnings from their ECT’s engagement in seminars and observations and give feedback from drop-in observations and carry out deliberate practice.