ECF - Early Career Framework (formerly NQT/RQT)

This year Pathfinder and partners have successfully delivered the Early Roll Out of the Early Career Framework (ECF) to 160+ ECTs and Mentors using Ambition Institute’s Full Induction Programme.  Our facilitators have had excellent reviews and ECTs across the region have benefitted from this valuable additional support during a tumultuous academic year. 

From September 2021 the Early Career Framework becomes statutory for Early Career Teachers (ECTs) and schools need to be ready to support their ECTs and Mentors through an ECF based induction programme. (Please see below for more information about the ECF and what it involves).

I look forward to working with you to sustain and build on our Early Roll Out success across our region during National Roll Out. 

Fiona hopkinson kearney


Fiona Hopkinson-Kearney

Strategy Coordinator & ECF DP Lead 

The DfE will be sending an ECF briefing document to all schools.  This will include information on how to register your chosen ECF engagement path through the new DfE Portal.  Please note registration does not need to be done immediately.

To register ECTs with Pathfinder for September 2021, please complete this form: Register ECTs with Pathfinder for September 2021

Please join our virtual events which are specifically targetted to give School Leads, NQT Coordinators and Mentors the information they need to implement the ECF next year:

Date Time Title Eventbrite booking link
23rd June 4.30pm An introduction to the ECF for School Leads and NQT Coordinators
24th June 4.30pm An introduction to the ECF for School Leads and NQT Coordinators
30th June 4.30pm An introduction to the ECF for Mentors
1st July 4.30pm An introduction to the ECF for Mentors


If you are unable to attend one of these sessions but are interested in joining the Pathfinder Teaching School Hub’s ECF programme in September 2021 please contact us on and for more information download the ECF flyer below:

Pathfinder tsh ecf national roll out







All schools will receive a personalised link from the DfE granting them access to the new Portal where they can register their Early Career Framework pathway, register their Early Career Teachers, Mentors and Induction Tutor.   Please remember the DfE preference is for you to choose the Full Induction Programme through an approved Lead Provider.  You do not need to contact the Lead Providers (Ambition) directly, the form you have completed above will register you with Ambition through us. 

The DfE have produced a short 'how to' video explaining the functionality of the new Portal which can be accessed from the link below along with two other documents you may find useful:


If you would like to hear more about the DfEs vision for the Early Career Framework, please see the recording of their recent ECF webinar for schools, which can be accessed here:

“The support I’ve received through the ECF has allowed me to feel well supported and prepared for my first term of teaching”   - Yorkshire Primary ECT

“The ECF has further enriched my development…. having regular discussions with my mentor about what I am learning through Ambition has enabled me to consolidate my learning and has encouraged me to apply relevant techniques to my own teaching practice.”   - Yorkshire Secondary ECT

Ecf banner 2

What is the Early Career Framework?

The ECF is a new statutory entitlement to training and resources for Early Career Teachers and their Mentors.  It underpins exciting reforms to the government's teacher recruitment and retention strategy, improving the training and development opportunities available to teachers.  The ECF recognises the importance of high-quality induction training and the integral role of the Mentor in ECTs' development.  It provides funding, resources, support and training to facilitate this.  Further information is available here  - 


What is it not?

It is not an assessment tool, ECTs continue to be assessed against the Teacher Standards. More information on the revised statutory guidance and regulations can be found here  -


What is covered in the ECF?

The ECF consolidates best available evidence and research in five key areas: behaviour management; pedagogy; curriculum, assessment and professional behaviours.  This is formulated around "learn that" and "learn how to" statements which you can view here  - 


What are the key takeaways for schools?

  • The induction period for ECTs has been lengthened to two years and there is increased support and training for ECTs and their Mentors.  
  • The role of the Mentor has been introduced and is separate to the role of the Induction Tutor.
  • There is funding to ensure protected time for both ECTs and Mentors to hold high-quality instructional coaching conversations - this includes 20hrs across Year 2 for Mentors
  • In addition to the 10% timetable reduction in Year 1, ECTs receive a 5% timetable reduction in Year 2.
  • The DfE has specified key evidence-based content that it is mandatory to cover during induction
  • Appropriate bodies (ABs) have a role in checking that a school is delivering an ECF-based induction

ECF   Website Table   Funding


What are the choices?

Schools have the choice of engaging with and delivering the DfE ECF Framework through three pathways.

1. Full Induction Programme (FIP)

Materials and support have been created by the DfE approved Lead Providers. All resources are paid for, there is no additional responsibility on schools to create content, quality assurance materials/delivery or provide additional evidence to their appropriate body. 

2. Core Induction Programme (CIP)

Curriculum materials have been created by the DfE approved Lead Providers.  Learning Platform access, training sessions, ECT / Mentor support systems, administrative support etc are not available using this route.  Additional materials need to be developed by the school - this additional element is not funded.  Quality assurance of these materials/delivery requires additional evidence to their appropriate body.

3. School-based Programme 

Schools design and deliver their own induction programme, based on the ECF.  This is not funded, requires additional appropriate body checks and delivery may also be checked via Ofsted. 

Our advice to you?

The DfE have made it clear that their preference is for schools to engage with the ECF through the FIP model "To ensure ECTs benefit from the highest quality support and ease the burden and cost for both schools and appropriate bodies, it is recommended that schools choose a Full Induction Programme" (AB Guidance: Induction and the Early Career Framework).  As a Teaching School Hub we fully support this recommendation and its numerous benefits for schools.


Who are the Providers?

The six approved Lead Providers are: Ambition Institute, Best Practice Network, Capita/University of Birmingham, Education Development Trust, Teach First, UCL Institute of Education.  

After an extensive process of due diligence into all providers' National Roll Out offers, we are recommending schools in our region engage with the ECF through Ambition's FIP.


Why Ambition Institute?

Ambition Institute colleagues were part of the Expert Advisory Panel that helped develop the Early Career Framework. Their pilot projects, supported by the Education Endowment Foundation give them 3 years experience formulating and delivering these reforms in schools. They have expert knowledge, experience and an engaging and accessible learning platform for ECTs and Mentors to engage with the programme.  They are perfectly placed to support schools, ECTs and Mentors to make the most of this valuable and impactful opportunity.