Early Career Framework Reforms

Statutory Induction Guidance and Appropriate Body Update


The Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms will be rolled out nationally in September 2021. The reforms are part of the government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy, which aims to improve the training and development opportunities available to teachers.

To support this roll-out, DfE are making changes to the statutory induction arrangements. The revised statutory guidance underpinning induction comes into force from September 2021. It has been significantly updated since the previous version (issued April 2018).

Statutory Induction Guidance

The following key changes have been made:

  • The standard length of induction has been increased from one school year to two school years (see para 2.29).
  • The term early career teacher (ECT) replaces newly qualified teacher (NQT).
  • In addition to the 10% timetable reduction that Early Career Teachers (ECTs) receive in their first year of induction, ECTs will also receive a 5% timetable reduction in the second year of induction (see para 2.19).
  • Schools are expected to deliver an induction period that is underpinned by the ECF (see para 2.39). There are three approaches schools can choose from to enable the delivery of an early career framework-based induction:
    • A funded provider led programme.
    • Schools deliver their own training using DfE-accredited materials and resources.
    • Schools design and deliver their own early career framework-based induction.
  • The role of the mentor has been introduced as separate to the role of the induction tutor. The mentor will have a key role in supporting the ECT during induction (see para 2.43).
  • Appropriate bodies will have a role in checking that an ECF-based induction is in place (see para 5.11).
  • There will be two formal assessment points, one midway through induction, and one at the end of the induction period (see para 2.52). These will be supported by regular progress reviews to monitor progress, to take place in each term where a formal assessment is not scheduled (see para 2.46).
  • 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 (see para 3.5).
  • Transitional arrangements for those teachers who will have started but not completed their induction as of September 2021, when the new guidance comes into force (see para 1.4).
  • The number of ad-hoc absences permitted has been extended to 29 days per year, in line with the extended length of induction (see para 3.6).

For more information about statutory guidance, ECF reforms and the options available to schools please visit: Early career framework reforms: overview

Appropriate Bodies Guidance

Alongside the updated statutory guidance, the DfE has also published guidance for Appropriate Bodies.

This guidance includes:

  • Information on the role of appropriate bodies.
  • The ways in which appropriate bodies can prepare for the changes to statutory induction.
  • Example forms to help appropriate bodies when checking an ECF-based induction.

For more information about this guidance, please visit: Guidance for appropriate bodies: induction and the early career framework

Quality Assurance Arrangements

DfE has also confirmed future quality assurance arrangements. Lead providers who are delivering the ECF Full Induction Programme or the newly reformed National Professional Qualifications will be subject to a quality assurance mechanism through Ofsted inspection to ensure they are delivering high quality training for schools and teachers. Regulations have been laid to enable inspection from September 2021, subject to Parliament.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are these changes going to increase workload for schools and teachers?

DfE are reducing the number of formal assessment points from three to two, with progress reviews in any term where there is no formal assessment. Progress reviews are expected to be informed by existing evidence of the Early Career Teacher’s teaching and to be conducted with sufficient detail to ensure that there is nothing unexpected for the ECT when it comes to their formal assessment. To ensure evidence gathering is not burdensome for the ECT, formal assessment meetings should be informed by existing evidence and there is no need for the ECT to create anything new for the formal assessment. They should draw from their work as a teacher and from their induction programme.

For some schools there will be some additional appropriate body checks depending on the type of induction accessed by the ECT. Where schools deliver their own training using DfE-accredited materials and resources or the ECF, additional quality assurance will be necessary in order to safeguard the ECTs’ entitlement to an ECF based induction. Schools with ECTs on the funded provider led programme will not need additional appropriate body ECF fidelity checks 

I have a teacher who will only be halfway through their newly qualified teacher (NQT) year by September 2021 - what will happen for them in September?

All ECTs who start induction from 1st September 2021 will be required to follow the new two-year ECF-based induction arrangements.

There will be some ECTs who will have started but not completed induction on 1 September 2021. These teachers are covered by the transitional arrangements on page 8 of the guidance and where possible these ECTs should have an ECF-based induction and a mentor for the remainder of their one-year induction.

These teachers will also have access to the high-quality training materials which have been made available a year ahead of schedule so that the maximum number of teachers can benefit from the support the ECF provides.

Does Ofsted’s inspection role on the ECF programme mean that my school is going to be inspected?

Ofsted will inspect the lead providers. To inform their assessment of the lead providers, Ofsted will visit a sample of delivery partners and will engage others involved in receiving and delivering their programmes including teachers, and mentors. Delivery partners, including schools, will not be judged individually as part of these inspections, or directly named in reports.