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Researchers evaluate the impact of the Early Career Framework in schools

6 November 2020

Academics from the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) have evaluated different ways new teachers and their mentors can be supported using the Early Career Framework.

Teacher sat down speaking to class

The Early Career Framework is an initiative from the Department for Education to ensure that teachers in England receive high quality support in the first two years of their career.

Researchers from the IOE’s Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research evaluated three pilot programmes of support for new teachers and their mentors. Two were developed by Ambition Institute and a further one by the Chartered College of Teaching. The pilot was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.

Working across 98 schools (both primary and secondary) the researchers used surveys, case studies, data from the pilot websites and observations to evaluate each programme, although COVID-19 meant that they focused upon the early set-up prior to schools closing in March 2020.

The developed pilot programmes all aimed to provide mentors with the resources to deliver instructional coaching sessions to Early Career Teachers. The programmes provided a variety of face-to-face sessions, online modules and online support sessions.

The researchers found from the three programmes that the Early Career Framework has the potential to put the development of teachers and mentors at the heart of school life. The pilot programmes began to change school cultures to recognise that the development of new teachers and their mentors ultimately leads to improved teaching, and likely supports job satisfaction and retention.

The team also found that the Framework brings research evidence into the classroom and that teachers value the access to cutting edge research through accessible resources and videos.

However, the researchers found that existing systems and processes need to be reconsidered as the Early Career Framework is introduced. In the majority of schools in the pilot, the programmes ran alongside day-to-day practical support and existing processes of mentoring, which could mean that workload increases initially. This forms less of an issue in schools where there is not already provision for new teachers, as the framework supported a comprehensive, research-informed programme.

The team also found that linking the framework to local context and teachers’ needs is key. Successful mentors were able to relate the Early Career Framework to the local context and to the day-to-day needs of new teachers. However, this can be challenging and mentors need time and support in order to embed this.

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Credit: Phil Meech for UCL Institute of Education