Institute of Education


Early Career Framework

UCL Institute of Education leads a consortium offering a robust professional learning and development pathway for early career teachers and mentors based on the Early Career Framework.

UCL Early Career Teacher Consortium

Our consortium is a strong university-school partnership comprising three world-leading universities - the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), Newcastle University and Manchester Metropolitan University - and schools at the forefront of excellence in training and research from North East Teaching Schools Partnership, Doncaster Research School by Partners in Learning, and Greetland Academy Trust. More about the Consortium.

Early Career Framework Overview

The Early Career Framework is a two year government funded programme, offering a framework and resources to better support newly qualified teachers and their mentors. The programme was announced as a key element of the Department for Education (DfE) plans to increase retention of early career teachers in the teaching profession.

Early roll-out

As of September 2020, this two year programme is fully funded by the DfE for schools in the early roll-out areas: Opportunity North East (ONE) Area, Greater Manchester, and South and West Yorkshire. See more about the early roll-out areas and registration.

Why choose the UCL Early Career Teacher Programme?

Our university and teaching school partners have drawn on their teacher education expertise to design a programme which is:

  • Knowledge and evidence-based: Our programme is informed by a deep understanding of the development needs of early career teachers.
  • Drawn from expert theory and current practice: Our programme is co-designed by teachers and school leaders, teacher educators and academics with rich experience of translating evidence into practice.
  • Inquiry-based spiral learning: After strengthening early career teachers’ understanding of key themes in Year 1, the modules will use an inquiry approach to revisit the themes in greater depth in Year 2.
  • Learning embedded in practice, not an additional burden: Early career teachers apply new learning in work contexts to improve your own and your pupils' learning.
  • Located near you: Led by local teachers and leaders. Our interactive learning platforms enable early career teachers to reflect and share learning together.
  • Flexible: School hubs and clusters can follow our proposed sequence or create their own to meet the needs of early career teachers and mentors.
Overview of programme content and structure

The UCL Early Career Teacher Programme is organised around nine modules, mapped to the Teachers' Standards. 

Year one

Five modules set the foundation of the Early Career Framework:

  • Enabling pupil learning: Standard 1 (High expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils) and Standard 7 (Managing behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment)
  • Engaging pupils in learning: Standard 2 (Promote good progress and outcomes for pupils) and Standard 3 (Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge) 
  • Developing quality pedagogy: Standard 4 (Plan and teach well structured lessons) and Standard 5 (Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils)
  • Making productive use of assessment: Standard 6 (Make accurate and productive use of assessment)
  • Fulfilling professional responsibilities: Standard 8 (Fulfil wider professional responsibilities).

Learning in each half term is supported through an integrated programme of self-study, structured mentor meetings and a professional development training programme.

Learning activities address early career teachers’ knowledge of the Early Career Framework content and their ability to put this into practice to bring about high quality pupil learning. 

Year two

Mentoring and supported practitioner enquiry deepens early career teachers' understanding in a further four modules:

  • Enquiry into enabling pupil learning
  • Enquiry into engaging pupils in learning
  • Enquiry into developing quality pedagogy and making productive use of assessment
  • Fulfilling professional responsibilities II.

The second year deepens both early career teachers’ understanding of the content of the Early Career Framework and their ability to enact this content through their teaching.

It includes opportunities to conduct supported practitioner enquiry which build on early career teachers' growing expertise as skilled professionals.

Increased challenge in carefully tailored learning activities prompts early career teachers to 'look up' from an initial focus on their own practice to evaluate their impact on pupils’ learning.

See programme structure and module overview

A Mentor’s Perspective

Ben Connor is both a mentor for early career teachers in Carmel College in Darlington, and one of the authors of the Early Career Framework. He offers his perspective on how the UCL Consortium's programme was written to add value to mentors and newly qualified teachers.

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A Headteacher's Perspective

Joanne Maw is the Head Teacher at Sandhill View Academy in Sunderland and has trialled the UCL Consortium's Early Career Framework at her school. She talks about why her school will be adopting the programme, and the benefits of materials written by practitioners and underpinned by research from some of the country's top universities.

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What schools have been telling us

We have been testing our materials with schools, and this is what they are telling us:

Laura Talbot, Assistant Headteacher, Balby Central Primary Academy:

"The training materials are relevant to all teachers, regardless of subject, phase or school context. Each week has a clear focus which is transferable across all settings as they focus on the key principles of high quality teaching.  The research articles for reading and reflection mean that it is suitable for both teachers who have some background knowledge or none at all.”

Cathy Young, Deputy Head, St Peter's Catholic Primary School:

"I have taken a look at these materials, and think they are fantastic! I feel quite envious of Early Career Teachers and wish I'd had something like that when I started teaching. I love the structure of the training materials. The Summary Module Guide provides a clear overview of the structure of the module, and the preparation necessary.  The audit allows a clear self-assessment, which will allow the mentor to tailor aspects of the module to meet the individual needs of the ECT. Each individual session plan is a good balance of educational theory/research with the opportunity to apply this in practice.”

The two year Early Career Teacher Programme is fully funded by the DfE for schools in the early rollout areas: Opportunity North East (ONE) Area, Greater Manchester, and South and West Yorkshire.

The professional development package includes:

  • Funded 5% time off timetable in the second year of teaching in addition to the existing 10% in the first year
  • A range of high-quality, freely available curricular and training materials underpinned by the Early Career Framework
  • Funded training for early career teachers and their mentors
  • Funded time for mentors to support early career teachers.

For detailed information see: DfE Guidance (Gov.uk website)

Registrations for Autumn 2020

We welcome registrations in the Early Career Framework programme for schools in the three early rollout areas:

Opportunity North East (ONE) Area
  • Darlington
  • Durham
  • Gateshead
  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough
  • Northumberland
  • North Tyneside
  • Newcastle
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • South Tyneside
  • Sunderland
  • Stockton-on-Tees
Greater Manchester
  • Bolton
  • Bury
  • Oldham
  • Manchester City Council
  • Rochdale
  • Stockport
  • Salford
  • Tameside
  • Trafford
  • Wigan
South and West Yorkshire
  • Bradford
  • Doncaster


Register your interest here >