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Titus_Bft 2019 (30) (Medium)

“What the ECF has done is to take a whole new look at the mentoring curriculum, focusing on upskilling mentors as well as making sure they are the right type of person to be able to coach, direct, organise and support an NQT’s development. This has been a huge positive which will have significant long-term benefits for a whole new generation of teachers coming through their training.”

Bradford paves the way for the next generation of new teachers

Bradford has been leading the way in the drive to help newly qualified teachers (NQTs) thrive in the profession.

The district was picked as one of three areas in the country to trial implementation of the new Early Career Framework (ECF) – a revolutionary new structured approach to professional development.

The new training system, which entail two years of early career professional development for all newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in England from September 2021, has now been running on a pilot basis in Bradford for nearly a year.

And, despite a number of adaptations forced on it by school closures and remote learning, is proving an invaluable support mechanism for scores of Bradford-based NQTs.

“It’s been fantastic for these new teachers to have a set curriculum,” explains Simon Gallacher, Director of the district’s Catholic Schools Partnership Teaching School Alliance.

“The beauty of the new system is that although the different providers of the ECF can deliver things in their own way, they all have to cover a common curriculum.

“This has meant we’ve had a real level of consistency in the NQTs’ training and development this year – regardless of what school they’re in, the size of that school or the types of in-school support that are available to them.

“The ECF model would have been effective at any time but during the pandemic it has really come into its own because everybody knows what they’re doing, everybody knows what modules they’re working on. It has provided invaluable structure both for the schools and the NQTs.”

“Instead of being left to their own devices with that out of classroom time, they had a detailed programme involving gap tasks and structured activities alongside their allocated NQT mentor.”

This focus on the importance of mentoring, Simon argues, has been one of the unexpected benefits of engaging in the ECF process.

“A really important aspect of the training is that it’s not just the NQTs that have benefited,” he explains. “In the past, where some NQTs have failed, it’s often because of the quality of mentoring that they’ve received.

“What the ECF has done is to take a whole new look at the mentoring curriculum, focusing on upskilling mentors as well as making sure they are the right type of person to be able to coach, direct, organise and support an NQT’s development. This has been a huge positive which will have significant long-term benefits for a whole new generation of teachers coming through their training.”

For Antonia O’Sullivan, in her first year at Horton Grange Primary school, the ECF has proved an invaluable stepping stone into life in the classroom.

“I’ve really appreciated the protected time to complete the training because as a first year teacher you have a lot to get through and it’s sometimes difficult to prioritise,” she says.

“What I’ve also found particularly useful is that it’s so practical and runs alongside everything we’re doing in the classroom – you’re literally taking the online learning you’ve completed one week and actually using it to improve your teaching the next.

“I completed a unit on behaviour management, for example, which gave me a number of different strategies to use. I was able to put them into practice pretty much straight away and notice the difference it had on my class.

“Combined with the ongoing support I’ve received from my dedicated ECF mentor, I think the programme has been a fantastic introduction to school life.”

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Titus_Bft 2019 (30) (Medium)

“What the ECF has done is to take a whole new look at the mentoring curriculum, focusing on upskilling mentors as well as making sure they are the right type of person to be able to coach, direct, organise and support an NQT’s development. This has been a huge positive which will have significant long-term benefits for a whole new generation of teachers coming through their training.”

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