Looking to the National Roll-Out Next Year
From September 2021 new teachers will be supported throughout a two-year statutory induction programme of professional development and mentoring and TSSW will be working as a delivery partner with one of the National Providers to ensure all Early Career Teachers, and their Mentors and schools, access and benefit from the Early Career Framework programme.
As part of this process, TSSW will be running some Early Engagement Events on the following dates:
Monday 26 April 2021 | 1530 – 1630
Wednesday 28 April 2021 | 1300 – 1400
Thursday 6 May 2021 | 0900 - 1000*
The aim of these events is to share information about the National Provider that we will be working with and our programme’s structure and content. We will also be able to outline our delivery model that will focus on local facilitators leading groups of up to 25 Early Career Teachers and their Mentors.
Following our involvement in the Early Pilot roll-out this year, we believe we are in a very strong position to ensure that the experience for your ECTs and Mentors, who join the programme in September, will be the best it can be!
We will be contacting schools in the near future with an invitation to attend one of our events.
In the meantime, you can read here about the experiences of one of our Early Pilot roll-out schools from this year.
*N.B. this date replaces 22 April 2021 | 0900 - 1000 due to a Dfe embargo.
Early Career Framework | Case Study on this year and moving forwards
John Stanier | Development Lead | TSSW
As we are a small, rural, secondary standalone Academy Trust, we are very mindful that we may not have the expertise in-house to support new teachers coming into the profession. We have been fortunate to have recruited well in recent years, but we are constantly aware of our vulnerability in this area. Young teachers are simply less likely to want to work in North Devon, compared to the pulsing metropolises of Exeter and Plymouth.
To ensure our offer to potential new recruits is as attractive as possible and to ensure we keep hold of those strong new teachers that we have managed to recruit, it is essential that we can offer the best support to teachers in the first few years of their career. This was even more essential considering COVID. The training of our NQTs was severely curtailed by the first lockdown – achieving QTS with only a few weeks actual teaching experience.
This all made engaging in the emergency roll-out of the Teach First Early Career Framework very attractive.
It provides a complete course of support and material that could fill any gaps in our NQT’s training and also develop them in their first year on the job. It had the added benefit of being delivered online, outside teaching hours. This relieved some strain on our cover arrangements when other members of staff had to self-isolate. The online delivery made the training easy to access for our teachers, living in the remotest parts of Devon.
We also think that the training and support of mentors alongside NQTs is a real strength of the programme.
At Great Torrington School, it seems we operate slightly differently to many schools with a member of SLT acting as a Mentor for NQTs. This does not seem sustainable, so the offer of high quality CPD will help encourage other members of staff to act as Mentors next year.
It was a happy coincidence that we began a whole-school initiative to introduce instructional coaching at the same time as our NQTs embarked on the Early Career Framework. Instructional coaching is very effective, but does involve direct truths being spoken about a lesson and some role play to address weaknesses. This is so contrary to traditional methods of observation and feedback that actually this double helping of training really helped us to get over the initial awkwardness to really make it work.
As their Mentor, I now have instructional coaching meetings with each NQT for about 15 minutes a week on top of a 50-minute meeting per fortnight. This is not quite the commitment outlined in the ECF, but these little and often points of contact are having far more impact than a longer fortnightly meeting.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality and depth of the online course that the Teach First ECF provides. There is input from all the big names in education – Tom Bennett, Rob Coe et al. The content is really the most cutting-edge, evidence-based strategies and techniques there are. There are also lots and lots of helpful videos of best practice teaching to illustrate the content, which my NQTS have said has been invaluable to them.
The content is concise and easy to work through for both mentors and NQTs. Neither of my NQTs see the online content as a burden, but a helpful additional resource to help them. If I am honest, one of my NQTs is very studious and works through the content at the suggested pace and completes all exercises. My other NQT binges the content from time to time, but neither say it is a needless addition to their workload.
Engaging in the Early Career Framework has really made me reflect on the weakness of out NQT provision in previous years. We would enrol our NQTs on an externally provided course for NQTs and completely separately, offer them a series of meetings and observations in school. These would be unstructured a depend on an individual NQTs strengths or weaknesses. The Early Career Framework provides a holistic approach to early teacher development. It provides a clear programme of study and development for the teacher to follow, which runs in tandem to a framework of observation and discussion with Mentors.
The NQT now gets a professional, joined up package and I hope that it gives them the sense that they are entering a profession where they are really valued.
I did have a little difficulty persuading some of my SLT colleagues that we should use a programme provided by Teach First. In rural Devon, they are seen as an urban brand – fast-tracking city types into teaching. They were reassured by the fact that the programme would in fact be delivered by TSSW. The programme lead is someone who works locally and has run programmes for our NQTS before. They really know our context. Any issues that we have are dealt with in a quick and friendly way by TSSW. This aside, it must be said that the quality of the Teach First training materials is exceptional, whatever the negative connotations some may have with the brand.
Being involved in the emergency roll-out of the Early Career Framework has made me redesign our entitlement for NQTs next year. I shall ensure that I appoint Mentors for our NQTs that have daily interaction with them. I know that the quality of training and support from the ECF will help me to recruit suitable people.
I will also ensure that time is set aside at the same points in the Mentors and NQTs timetables to ensure regular instructional coaching sessions. Beyond this, by simply enrolling our NQTs into the programme next year, I know that they will be receiving and exceptional package of support to ensure they have the best start to a long career in teaching.