The Department for Education’s newly launched Early Careers Framework lengthens the induction period for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) to two years, increases the entitlement of early career teachers to support and training, and specifies content that should be covered during the induction. As part of the EEF’s support for the ECF, and building on the two delivery pilots (Career Support – Online Teacher Development and Early Career Support) undertaken 2019 – 2020, the EEF has commissioned NFER to undertake an impact evaluation of the ECF’s Early Roll-out (ERO).
The ECF is an entitlement to a fully-funded, two-year package of structured support for all early career teachers (ECTs), including funded time off timetable in the second year of teaching and additional support from school-based mentors. To support the ECF, the Department for Education (DfE) has commissioned four providers (Teach First, Ambition Institute, UCL Early Career Teacher Consortium, Education Development Trust) to develop and deliver a Full Induction Programme (FIP) for ECTs and their in-school mentors. Three areas – Greater Manchester, North East, and Doncaster and Bradford – are part of an early roll-out (commencing autumn 2020) ahead of National Roll-Out in September 2021
Improving the quality of support offered to ECTs has the potential to improve the retention and skills of the teacher workforce significantly. DfE are introducing their ECF for ECTs in a phased way commencing with early roll-out (ERO) in the North East, Bradford and Doncaster and Greater Manchester from September 2020. This evaluation will be able to produce lessons for the DfE’s National Roll-out of the ECF and give early indications of impact on teacher retention and other outcomes.
The team will evaluate the impact of the early-roll out of the ECF using a quasi-experimental, matched comparison group design. They are aiming to compare data for a sample of 1,920 early roll out ECTs with an equally sized group of comparison ECTs They will measure the impact of the programme on the retention rate of ECTs in the profession (the primary outcome), and the retention rate within the school in which they began their induction, teacher quality, self-efficacy and teacher workload (secondary outcomes). The study also includes a ‘light-touch’ implementation and process evaluation involving questions in online surveys and telephone/video interviews with ECTs and induction leads to explore the effectiveness of delivery and additional perception data on secondary outcomes. The NFER project page is available here.
Given the key role that in-school mentors will play in offering early career support, Ministers and unions have asked how best to secure school-based mentor engagement. Therefore, in addition to the main impact evaluation, the EEF has commissioned NFER to undertake an RCT to explore the impact of incentives paid to schools on ECF mentor engagement with mentor training. NFER are aiming to recruit 300 schools participating in the ERO of the ECF into the trial. Half the recruited schools will be randomly assigned to receive the incentive payment for their mentors. The total incentive will be £775 multiplied by number of mentors in school (where the mentor has an early career teacher). The remaining schools will act as a control group.
The main impact evaluation report will be published in December 2023. The school incentives RCT report will be published in Autumn 2021