For newly qualified teachers (NQTs), induction has a very precise meaning. To be able to continue to teach without restrictions in maintained schools, non-maintained special schools in England, maintained nursery schools, maintained children’s centres and pupil referral units, you must successfully complete the required induction period, equivalent to three terms of teaching, by meeting the Teachers’ Standards (England) or Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership (Wales).

Induction is changing in September 2021 

The Early Career Framework (ECF) is a new two-year, mentor-led package of support that is in early rollout phase this academic year and is due for national rollout in September 2021. The DfE guidance on this can be found here.

Next September will mark a change to the induction period, as it increases from 3 to 6 terms for NQTs starting their induction from September 2021 onwards. Teachers participating in the early rollout this year have access to the support package but their induction will be completed in one year. The NEU expects the ECF to be a supportive measure, allowing NQTs more time to show they fully meet the standards, as well as giving structured support from a programme that aims to encourage and engender a career-long culture of mentoring and professional development in schools. 

Materials from the early rollout have been made available to all this year, to help support NQTs, and can be accessed at the DfE link above. 

For teachers who have started and paused induction this academic year or earlier, a one year induction can be completed by September 2023. After that date, 6 terms of induction would need to be completed in total. 

As part of the recruitment and retention strategy, the DfE also introduces three new National Professional Qualifications from September 2021 - which replace the existing middle leader NPQ – focusing on behaviour and culture, leading teaching, and teacher development. The existing NPQML is still valid and courses already started can be completed.

Early career teachers will be entitled to

  • 10% extra non-contact time than other classroom teachers in the first year 
  • 5% extra non-contact time that other classroom teachers in their second year 
  • A named mentor to meet and discuss progress with regularly, in timetabled time 
  • A structured early CPD programme, delivered either by the school or by an ECF provider, which is based around the ECF content, in timetabled time 
  • Two formal assessment points the end of terms 3 and 6, plus informal assessment points in other terms 
  • A ‘no surprises’ approach to assessments – the early career teacher’s performance should be discussed regularly by the mentor and the teacher 

How the course will be delivered

There are three routes for schools to take: 

  • Provider led model, under which the provider trains the mentor and delivers the course content 
  • School use the provider materials but trains its own mentors and delivers the course themselves or in partnership with other schools 
  • School chooses to develop and deliver their own programme based upon the ECF principles 

When you are applying for jobs as an NQT, find out from the school how they will deliver the ECF and if there is likely to be other early career teachers at the school.

The NEU’s position on the ECF

The NEU is supportive of the aims of the ECF and has long called for better CPD and support for early teachers. We are clear that the success of the ECF is dependent on full funding for schools to train mentors to deliver support effectively, to fund time off timetable for both the mentor and early career teacher, and for the CPD to be delivered. 

We have concerns about the level of funding allocated to cover all the elements and about the capacity for schools to deliver the ECF without further support from government. The fully provider led model gives schools more financial and time support as it provides the training for the mentors, as well as full course delivery. However, there is not enough capacity or coverage from the providers for all schools to opt for this model if they wanted to. 

It is the NEU’s position that a two year induction should be no barrier to pay progression at the end of the teacher’s first year; that yearly pay progression should be assumed. 

On recruitment and retention , the NEU says the following

  • Government policy on teacher pay and workload, and the high-stakes accountability system, makes it more difficult to recruit, retain and support teachers.  We regularly share our concerns with DfE officials. 
  • Deep-rooted teacher recruitment and retention problems remain, including the high number of teachers leaving within a few years of entering the profession. 
  • Unfair restrictions on pay progression including for new teachers contribute to those problems.  Teachers should instead be supported and rewarded as they acquire skills and expertise. 
  • We also need to support experienced teachers so that they can mentor new teachers.  That means effective action to reduce the workload of experienced teacher so that they have time to support new teachers; and improving the pay of experienced teachers so that they don't leave and take with them expertise that is useful to new teachers and to the education system as a whole. 

Induction guide and checklists