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Early Career Framework

The Elston Hall Learning Trust ECF programme has been designed to bring about permanent positive change to our teachers’ knowledge, understanding and practice.  Through substantial professional research, study and review this programme has been developed to draw upon the theory and practice from within the ECF, which combines practical activity, reflection and analysis.  It puts the ECTs development at the forefront and ensures that they receive a fully supported, thorough and high-quality programme of professional development.

This 2-year blended programme consists of 15 Modules (8 Modules in Year 1 & 7 Modules in Year 2) and will entail a mixture of face to face sessions, self-study and coaching opportunities for all ECTs and mentors. The 15 Modules of learning take the ECTs on a journey from an early acquisition of skills to a more advanced level, which progressively builds in complexity as the Modules are covered. As the ECT grows in confidence, experience and understanding, the programme will offer more challenge and depth across the 2-year induction.

Elston Hall Learning Programme for ECTs
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Content of Programme

Throughout the 15 Modules delivered, there are key recurring themes to ensure they are part of the ECTs everyday practice, which further develop into becoming ‘learning habits’. The theory behind this is to ensure the ECTs continually build upon their knowledge and skills in small amounts, as opposed to acquiring many skills all at once. Research states that the brain cannot easily process large amounts of knowledge all at once, and that it is more effective for individuals to learn and acquire greater amounts of skills over a longer period of time. Therefore, this programme allows for ‘little and often’, through the delivery and scheduled professional development opportunities it has planned over the 2-year induction.

Each conference will act as the starting point for the Module being studied and all weekly meetings, coaching observations and CPD opportunities following this will be directly linked. This would allow the ECT to see the knowledge and strategies from the Module being applied into a variety of contexts, furthermore ensuring teacher development.   Likewise, all Mentor coaching observations, lesson observations and weekly self-study tasks will also focus on key content from the Module being delivered. This enables the knowledge and understanding gained from the Module to be effectively applied into practice, then reviewed and further developed to enhance teaching practice.

Each Module has been designed based on substantial research, evidence and best practice of effective professional development, and includes:

  • Conferences – Launch of the Module delivered, where ECTs come together to and participate within group tasks, individual reflection materials and explore the Early Career Framework with their colleagues. These will be facilitated by highly skilled and experienced practitioners who will extend ECTs’ thinking and support their planning by sharing practical applications of the research in the classroom.

  • Self-study materials - These explain the research behind the Early Career Framework and give exemplifications of what this looks like in the classroom, to ensure ECTs can secure their understanding quickly. These materials are designed to take into consideration ECTs’ busy professional and personal lives, and so can be accessed at any point during the week to support flexible learning and professional development.

  • ECT-Mentor meetings – One-to-one sessions to provide support, review self-study/reading tasks and to conduct instructional coaching.

  • Video clips - Sample of pre-recorded snapshots of good practice for ECT to gain ideas from experienced practitioners showing what key strategies look like in practice.

  • Observation opportunities - Planned ‘live’ good practice lesson observations from schools across the Trust. Good practice observations will be narrated by experienced teachers/leaders who will be able to break the key techniques delivered down into clearer parts, so that ECTs can have a strong view of what ‘good’ looks like in practice.


It is important for ECTs and Mentors to understand why certain techniques do or don’t work in the classroom and it is vital for them to understand what theory underpins that outcome. Therefore, it is critical that ECTs on the programme can see what effective teaching looks like in practice, so the programme uses a mixture of example videos and lesson observations from a variety of different contexts, to show how real teachers put these theories into practice. This enables the ECTs to see what the statements of the ECF look like in a real life classroom.


Sequencing of ECT Programme

The Modules have been carefully constructed so that by the end of the 2 year induction period, ECTs will have covered all statements from within the Early Career Framework. The sequence builds from introductory to mastery, and throughout the programme further opportunities are provided to revisit key areas wherever required. The sequence increasing advances in levels of complexity and depth as the ECTs’ expanding experience develops.

Throughout each Module, it will state which identified ‘Learn that …’ and ‘Learn how to …’ statements have been covered and all Modules will provide examples of how these statements can be ‘seen’ in best practice. 

The programme’s sequence is designed based on best practice and the Modules have been carefully placed into a term where the ECT will have greater relevance and experience. The priority is to ensure the ECTs can relate to key theories and knowledge being shared, therefore key Modules have been placed early on in the induction programme to support the ECT with the foundations for their new class of children. For example, the first three Modules: ‘Induction’, ‘Establishing a positive climate for learning’ and ‘Behaviour management & responding to challenging behaviour’ all are within the autumn term. These Modules have been purposefully placed to be delivered at the start of the programme to support the ECTs confidence and to give them the best opportunity to learn key strategies early on, which can be implemented and impact on children’s outcomes.


Year 2 of the ECT Programme

In year 2, there is more flexibility around when the ECT will meet with their Mentor and what key aspect of teaching and learning development they will focus on. This 2nd year induction programme allows ECTs to revisit key Modules and actively reflect on key aspects within own development and ensure sustainability.  This gives ECTs the opportunity to build on the learning from year 1 as well as identify and recognise, through the support of their Mentor, the extent to which they have achieved each aspect.

ECTs, in their second year, will be encouraged to take a greater responsibility for their own professional development and actively seek advice wherever required. The Mentor will still play a crucial role in the second year and will have regular meetings (at least once every fortnight) to support teacher development. The ECTs will engage with set self-study materials, and they will continue to access CPD training sessions each term.

At the start of the 2nd year induction period, the Mentor and ECT will agree an action plan for each term. This will provide clear guidance on which key areas of the ECF the ECT will be focusing on, as well as identifying any Modules from year they are to revisit.

The aim of the second year will be to secure and further develop the ECT’s pedagogical knowledge and skills in their subject and/or phase.


Wellbeing and Workload

The ECT’s wellbeing is at the heart of the programme and careful considerations have been made throughout all Modules to ensure the programme will help them to do their job well, as opposed to being an extra burden on top of the already busy profession.

Each Module offers suggestions, drawn from the ECF, where workload can be reduced and well-being heightened. The recurring areas of ‘wellbeing and managing workload’ will be explored throughout each Module, to provide the ECTs with the best strategies to guide them on their way into becoming confident and successful teachers.


ECT-Mentor Professional Relationship

This programme focuses on developing a successful ECT–Mentor relationship, which ensures both parties receive strong professional development opportunities. As the Mentor plays a crucial role in the ECTs professional development, it is vital to get this professional relationship right. Building on the principles of instructional coaching, this programme helps to develop ECT’s practice through providing individuals with regular, one-to-one feedback, alongside many opportunities to ‘practise’ frequently with Mentors.

A ‘contracting’ meeting is part of the induction stage of the programme, where the ECT and Mentor will meet to establish norms and share goals, in order for the relationship to start on the right foot. Mentors will meet on a regular basis with ECTs and will support in many aspects of their training. They will be skilled in coaching and will actively be involved in demonstrating and modelling key skills into practice through many shared learning opportunities; narrated good practice observations, teach teaching and mentor coaching observations.

All of this is underpinned by extensive research that the ECT and Mentor will explore together, when completing self-study and key reflection tasks in-between Module conferences as part of the programme. This will all contribute to the ECTs development in the classroom and will support ECTs to critically evaluate and reflect on their own practice, in order to improve further.

The programme keeps in line with the pace of the ECT’s development and the Mentor will be there at each step along the way. ECTs will be fully supported at each development stage they make on their journey towards becoming an effective teacher.

Elston Hall Learning Trust is built on many principles which ensure the staff, children and families are placed at the heart of everything we do. As the ECT’s will become a member of this Trust ‘family’, they will engage within collaborative learning, which allows many opportunities for sharing of best practice alongside their fellow ECT colleagues.

Click here for further information on EHLT ECF Programme.

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