The Early Career Framework: 5 Core Areas for ECTs

Written by Dan

Last updated

The Early Career Framework (ECF) for ECTs has been developed to provide a clear and concise guide for newly qualified teachers during their early careers.

The framework consists of 5 core areas: Professional Identity, Pedagogical Knowledge, Curriculum Knowledge, Classroom Management and Relationships with Children.

This article will discuss these five core areas in more detail and examine the 8 Teaching Standards underpinning the ECF.

The ECF is focused on the Teachers’ Standards for clarity, though it should not be utilized as an assessment framework. Early career teachers will not be anticipated to collect information against the ECF–they will still only be assessed using the Teachers’ Standards.

The ECF will support training and aid early career teachers and shouldn’t be viewed as an extra assessment tool.

Related: For more, check out our article on 5 Behaviour Management Strategies For ECTs  here.

Behaviour management

ECTs will be supported in learning how to effectively manage classroom behaviour, create a positive learning environment, and respond to challenging behaviour.

In addition, ECTs will be encouraged to reflect on their practice to improve their skills in behaviour management continuously. By supporting ECTs this way, the ECF aims to ensure that every child can succeed in the classroom.


Another critical area of focus for the ECF is pedagogy, or the art and science of teaching. To support ECTs in this area, the ECF provides a range of resources and opportunities for training and development.

ECTs can access online resources, participate in face-to-face workshops, and receive one-on-one coaching from experienced educators.

The ECF also supports behaviour management, helping ECTs create positive learning environments where all children can thrive.

By providing targeted support in these key areas, the ECF is helping to ensure that all ECTs have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the classroom.


A critical aspect of the ECF is curriculum training. ECTs will be supported in their understanding of the National Curriculum and how to plan and deliver engaging and practical lessons.

The focus will be on giving ECTs the confidence and skills they need to meet the needs of all students in their classrooms.

In addition, ECTs will be supported in developing positive behaviour management strategies.

By receiving high-quality training in these areas, ECTs will be better equipped to provide a rich and stimulating learning environment for every child in their care.


The Early Career Framework (ECF) will support ECTs in their training in the area of Assessment.

ECTs will be supported regarding resources, time and funding to ensure they can deliver the best possible assessment outcomes for children in the classroom.

The focus of the ECF will be on those areas of assessment which are most critical to developing early reading skills, such as phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency.

In addition, the ECF will also support ECTs in developing their knowledge and understanding of formative and summative assessment practices.

This will include providing opportunities for ECTs to observe experienced teachers carrying out assessments and to carry out assessments themselves under supervision.

By supporting ECTs in this way, the ECF will help ensure that children receive the best possible education.

Professional behaviours

Early Career Teachers (ECT) will be supported in their training in Professional behaviours through the Early Career Framework (ECF).

They will be supported in this area through assessed tasks focusing on lesson planning, behaviour management and professional development.

These tasks will help to ensure that ECTs can demonstrate the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively support the learning and development of children in the classroom.

In addition, ECTs will also be supported through mentoring and coaching from more experienced teachers.

This will allow them to develop their skills and knowledge in a safe and supportive environment.

Ultimately, this support aims to ensure that ECTs can meet the needs of all children in their classrooms and positively contribute to their learning and development.

The mentors and tutors will help the ECT to answer any relevant questions about their hours worked, assessment, etc.

The Teaching Standards

What are the Teaching standards?

The Teaching Standards are eight standards that all teachers in England must meet to be considered competent in their role. The standards cover lesson planning, behaviour management, and professional development. Teachers must demonstrate the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the criteria.

A teacher must

  1. Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils.
  2. Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils.
  3. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge.
  4. Plan and teach well-structured lessons.
  5. Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils.
  6. Make accurate and productive use of assessment.
  7. Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment.
  8. Fulfil wider professional responsibilities.

The second part delves into the standards teachers should maintain in their personal and professional lives.

Teachers are widely respected members of the public and ought to maintain excellent ethical standards both in and out of school, including:

  • Treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and always observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position.
  • Following statutory provisions, having regard for safeguarding pupils’ well-being.
  • Showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others;
  • Not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
  • Ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law.

These points are taken right from the Teachers’ Standards Overview. They’re all about ensuring that there is a professional standard for teachers. Educators must live up to the school’s principles, rules, and practices to maintain high standards in attendance and punctuality.

Teachers must also know the legal frameworks that define their professional responsibilities and obligations.

Why are the Teaching Standards important?

The Teaching Standards are important because they help to ensure that all teachers in England are competent in their role. By meeting the standards, teachers can ensure they provide a high-quality education for all children in their care.


The Early Career Framework (ECF) is a vital tool for newly qualified teachers navigating the early stages of their careers.

It provides clear guidance across five core areas: Professional Identity, Pedagogical Knowledge, Curriculum Knowledge, Classroom Management and Relationships with Children, all underpinned by the 8 Teaching Standards.

Remember, the ECF isn’t an assessment framework but a supportive resource to enhance your pedagogy and classroom management skills.

Its purpose is to bolster your teaching journey, not to add additional assessment stress.

By focusing on the Teachers’ Standards for clarity, the ECF helps streamline your growth as an educator, offering structure in a profession known for its complexity and dynamism.

As you navigate your early career, don’t hesitate to lean on the ECF as a guide. After all, isn’t it empowering to have a clear path towards professional development in a field as diverse and challenging as education?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Early Career Framework (ECF)?

The ECF is designed to provide clear and concise guidance for Early Career Teachers (ECTs) during their initial professional years. It helps them understand and develop crucial aspects of their roles.

What are the five core areas of the ECF?

The five core areas of the ECF are Professional Identity, Pedagogical Knowledge, Curriculum Knowledge, Classroom Management, and Relationships with Children.

Is the ECF an assessment framework?

No, the ECF is not an assessment framework. While it is focused on the Teachers’ Standards for clarity, it should not be used as an assessment tool. ECTs will continue to be assessed using the Teachers’ Standards only.

How will the ECF support my training as an early career teacher?

The ECF provides a structured approach to your professional development, helping you understand the key areas of focus and providing guidance on how to improve in these areas.

Should I collect information against the ECF?

No, ECTs are not expected to collect information against the ECF. It is a support tool, not an assessment framework. Your assessments will continue to be based on the Teachers’ Standards.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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