The Early Careers Framework (ECF) is a Government initiative designed to help solve the teacher recruitment and retention crisis by providing more support for teachers at the start of their classroom careers. It will help teachers by reducing their timetable and offering evidence-based training as well as ongoing professional mentoring. And it will offer new career paths for more experienced teachers to support new colleagues. At ONVU Learning we can see a lot of potential here – as did headteacher Clare Sealy in Schools Week.
We were going to use the Southern Rocks event in early February event to ask delegates about the ECF and test what they thought of our solutions to it. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to snow, but with the help of the organiser Kristian Still we were still able to get some ideas from delegates via a social media survey.
Here are our key findings about the Early Careers Framework:
- 86% were already aware of the ECF
- 33% thought the most valuable part of the framework was the extra 5% non-teaching time in the second year of teaching, while the same number chose the new specialist qualifications for teaching outside of school leadership. 14% chose the proposed ‘online matching service’ for flexible working.
- 42% thought the biggest cause of the recruitment and retention crisis that led to the Early Career Framework was external pressure on schools and teachers and 24% thought workload; while 14% cited poor classroom behaviour and 10% low pay.
So, what could go wrong?
Our greatest concern is about the availability of qualified, experienced and trained mentors to deliver the support needed for early career teachers, especially given the pressure on teachers cited in the survey above. We know from working with schools across England and now India just how much time is needed to create a proper coaching culture based on mutual trust and a common set of principles. There are many schools that don’t have the level of expertise needed to implement the ECF straight away or are geographically isolated and difficult for mentors to reach.
So we’re working hard to develop our solutions that will enable the ECF to work. Discreet, 360-degree video observation is a powerful tool for capturing and sharing real classroom information with mentors who can be tens or even hundreds of miles away. Our ALIGN methodology developed by Dr Sean Warren allows mentors to use a common language that focuses on ‘professional noticing’ and self-reflection rather than bullet point lists and targets. And we’re carrying out ongoing classroom-based research, working with universities, schools and trusts to validate our approach.
If you’d like to see how our video-based lesson observation and coaching can help you develop your new teachers (and the rest of your staff!), click here to book a visit!