Funded support for NQTs hit by coronavirus lockdown

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Schools eligible for the one-year funded offer of support for early career teachers whose training has been interrupted by the coronavirus lockdown are to be contacted by providers in due course.

The pilot of the government’s Early Career Framework (ECF) is going ahead this September in the North East, Bradford, Doncaster and Greater Manchester ahead of national roll-out in 2021. It is expected to benefit around 2,000 teachers.

However, in light of the disruption to initial teacher training (ITT) caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, the Department for Education (DfE) has said it will also fund a one-year offer of support for “up to 3,000 early career teachers working in schools outside of the early rollout areas from this autumn”. This offer will focus on those serving disadvantaged communities.

Furthermore, the DfE has said that the training materials developed for the ECF reforms will be made freely available to all early career teachers and their mentors from this September.

DfE guidance published this week ahead of the ECF pilot roll-out states: “Virtually all early career teachers starting in autumn 2020 had a disrupted ITT experience as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“To help ensure that those starting their careers have access to the highest quality support, we will fund a one-year version of the structured support offered in early roll-out for around 3,000 more early career teachers with a focus on schools serving disadvantaged communities. Early roll-out providers will be contacting schools if they are able to access this support.”

The ECF is at the heart of the government’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, published last year. It will extend the induction period to two years and guarantees support from trained mentors.

It also safeguards NQTs’ 10 per cent protected off-timetable time in their first year of teaching and will introduce five per cent protected off-timetable time in the second year.

The ECF will offer support across five key areas – behaviour management, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, professional behaviours – including freely available ECF curricula and training materials and other training programmes.

Qualified teacher status (QTS) will continue to be awarded at the end of ITT and before the start of statutory induction. Revised statutory guidance is due to be published before September 2021 including details of how the ECF will support induction.

It is thought that around 2,000 teachers in the pilot areas will benefit from the roll-out this September. Schools interested in taking part must opt-in and choose to work with one of four providers: Ambition Institute, the Education Development Trust, Teach First, or the UCL Early Career Teacher Consortium.

Participating schools will receive £2,200 for every teacher on the second year of the induction, helping to support time out of the classroom with extra development opportunities.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “All those entering the classroom for the first time this September can be reassured they will receive high-quality training based on the best available evidence and research, helping to increase retention and ensure NQTs are better prepared for the challenges and rewards of teaching.”

Richard Gill, chair of the Teaching Schools Council, said: “The ECF provides an exciting opportunity for new entrants to the profession to access and apply the best available evidence at the very start of their careers. This is one of the most significant reforms in a generation and its potential is unquestionable.”

Elsewhere, trainee teachers for the upcoming academic year will be the first cohort to train under the new ITT Core Content Framework, which sets out mandatory content for all ITT providers, from September 2020.

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