New teacher training reforms kick in as schools return

teachers in a staff room
By Lucy Newman | 2nd September 2021 | 2 min read

NQTs axed and ECTs introduced for schools

As children head back to school again, an important change affecting the teaching profession kicks in.

Did you know that new teachers will now be required to complete a two-year induction process – twice as long as previously?

Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) are out, replaced by early career teachers (ECTs).

The Government says these reforms “will create a step change in support for early career teachers, providing a funded entitlement to a structured two-year package of high-quality professional development”.

What’s new?

Some of the main changes include:

  • Induction period extended to two school years
  • ECTs entitled to a two-year training and support programme
  • 10% timetable reduction for first year of induction
  • 5% timetable reduction in the second year
  • A new mentoring role to support ECTs during induction
  • Two formal assessment points, one midway through induction and one at the end of that period
  • Regular progress reviews to monitor progress, to take place in each term where a formal assessment is not scheduled

What stays the same?

The Department for Education papers state: “The end of an early career teacher’s induction period will continue to be marked by a decision as to whether the teacher’s performance against the Teachers’ Standards is satisfactory.”

However, it adds that demonstrating those standards should be easier now following the new framework.

What should schools consider before hiring an ECT?

Norfolk County Council offers some very useful thoughts on this question, warning that “inducting ECTs is not only a statutory requirement but also a huge commitment”.

It says school leaders should answer the following:

  • Has your school got capacity to support an ECT?
  • Is there a suitable mentor in school who has the capacity to fulfil the role and knows the statutory requirements for induction?
  • Do you have teachers working in the same age group/subject(s) whose practice is good or outstanding?
  • Does the post fulfil the statutory requirements for induction?
  • Have you got good school to school links to enable your ECT to observe practice in other settings?

What about schools that are struggling or in special measures?

Some may argue that struggling schools are the ones that need fresh blood the most.

However, they are likely to be the ones that miss out on the benefits.

Norfolk council makes a particular point for schools judged by OFSTED as ‘requiring improvement’, saying they should consider carefully their capacity to support an ECT.

And for those schools rated as needing ‘special measures’, the Government’s statutory guidance states:  “Generally, once a setting has entered special measures it is not permitted to recruit any new ECTs. However, an Ofsted Inspector may make a judgement on whether the setting is suitable for the purposes of induction. In some cases, particularly with larger schools, Ofsted may give permission for ECT appointments within specific departments or subject departments of the school.”

With all reforms there are going to be mixed views, positives, and negatives. In my next blog, I’ll look at some of the views and reaction in more detail.

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