Exclusive: Teachers 'in dark' over early career changes

Three-quarters of teachers do not feel 'well-informed' about new early career system launching in September, poll finds

Amy Gibbons

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A huge majority of teachers still feel "in the dark" about the government's early career reforms, with just four months until the new framework kicks in, new research suggests.

In a recent poll of 6,661 teachers for the Chartered College of Teaching, shared exclusively with Tes, 75 per cent of respondents said they do not feel "well-informed" about the Early Career Framework (ECF), which comes into force in September.

The ECF is part of a suite of reforms aimed at improving teacher recruitment and retention in England. It will sit alongside the initial teacher training (ITT) core content framework to provide a three-year structured support package for new recruits.

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Early Career Framework: Everything you need to know

The introduction of the ECF in September will bring about a number of changes, including a doubling of the statutory induction period for early career teachers (ECTs) – from one year to two years.

In addition to the existing 10 per cent timetable reduction in year one, new teachers will get 5 per cent of their time protected in year two. Mentor support for ECTs will also be an entitlement in both years. 

But despite being hailed by the government as a "step change in support for early career teachers", the content of the ECF still appears to be something of a mystery to the majority of the profession. 

Teachers 'lack information about the Early Career Framework'

Asked by Teacher Tapp if they felt they had been "well-informed" about the framework, 75 per cent of teachers disagreed.

And those who had spent less than five years in the job were also among the most likely to feel in the dark about the changes.

Of the teachers polled with 20 years' experience or more, 71 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, "I feel that I am well-informed about the Early Career Framework".

This proportion rose to 74 per cent among teachers who had spent 20 to 30 years in the job, and 78 per cent among those with between five and 10 years' experience.

Of the teachers who had worked in the profession for less than five years, 77 per cent disagreed that they were "well-informed" about the reforms.

Dame Alison Peacock, CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching, said: "The Early Career Framework is going to have a huge impact. However, the results of this poll clearly show that our teachers are not receiving the information from the government they need to prepare.

"We know that over the past year early career teachers – like much of the profession – have experienced huge challenges and will need a great deal of support as they enter the classroom. Yet members constantly tell us that they are still in the dark about the framework. 

"The Chartered College of Teaching is supporting the profession to prepare with events and resources. However, it is quite clear that more needs to be done to ensure our profession is ready.

"The framework has the potential to stem the tide of new teachers leaving the profession within their first few years by supporting their development and ensuring they have access to high-quality mentoring and professional learning."

A DfE spokesperson said: "After a challenging year for trainees, making sure new teachers receive high-quality support at the start of their careers is now more important than ever.

"We are launching our Early Career Framework reforms from this September, and we are working closely with the sector to ensure school leaders are aware of the changes and are supported to prepare ahead of the autumn."

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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