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A Comprehensive Guide to the Early Career Teacher (ECT) Profession

Carly W., Primary School Teacher
8 Oct 2023
5 min read
A Comprehensive Guide to the Early Career Teacher (ECT) Profession

Maybe you are a few weeks into your first post as an Early Career Teacher (ECT), or looking for your first ECT role. Perhaps you are about to embark on a PGCE or possibly looking into teaching as a new (or change in) career.

Whatever your circumstances this comprehensive guide will talk you through what you can expect as an ECT.

What is an ECT?

Very simply put, an ECT is a teacher who is at the beginning of their teaching career. Once they have completed Initial Teacher Training and secured their first paid position, they become an ECT.

Newly qualified teachers are referred to as ECTs for at least the first two academic years of their teaching career (this is how long the standard ECT induction period lasts). After two years as an ECT you will become a fully qualified teacher.

During your time as an ECT you can expect to receive ongoing support from a dedicated ECT mentor who will meet with you regularly in order to help you identify personal areas for development in your teaching practice and pedagogy. Your ECT mentor will guide you to work on your personal teaching targets as well as offering informal advice and support.

Since its introduction in September 2020, the Early Career Framework (ECF) sets out how ECTs should be supported to become fully qualified teachers, as well as outlining the knowledge and skills they will need to have in order to achieve this. As an ECT you will be provided with a two-year training programme to support your knowledge and skills development while also teaching with a reduced time-table.

To support ECT development all first-year early career teachers are entitled to a 10% timetable reduction, in addition to the standard 10% release time for Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA). This additional release time is for an ECT to engage with ECF based training and other professional development opportunities in school. In their second year, ECTs continue to have a reduced timetable, but this decreases to 5% in addition to PPA time. ECTs are assessed formally, by their ECT induction tutor, at the end of the third and sixth terms of their ECT induction. As an ECT you will be able to contribute to this assessment, offering your thoughts and opinions on the progress you have made.

What does an ECT job involve?

Regardless of the setting you work in, or which age group you teach, an ECT will have the same basic responsibilities – to deliver well-planned lessons to pupils so that they can reach age related expectations.

All ECTs must meet the Teacher’s Standards which include:

  • Setting high expectations for pupils
  • Promoting good pupil progress and outcomes
  • Demonstrating excellent curriculum and subject knowledge
  • Planning and teaching well structured lessons
  • Responding to pupils’ strengths and needs by adapting teaching
  • Using accurate assessment techniques
  • Effectively managing pupils’ behaviour
  • Fulfilling professional responsibilities beyond the classroom
  • Consistently demonstrate high standards of personal and professional conduct

As an ECT you are responsible for the progress of a group, or groups of pupils, over an academic year. You will be required to apply all the skills of the teacher standards in order to offer them the best education in your subject or area of specialism.

As well as engaging with your ECT induction programme and delivering daily quality first teaching, as an ECT you will also be expected to:

  • Build positive and professional relationships with pupils, getting to know their individual strengths and weaknesses and developing an excellent rapport
  • Take part in regular school based professional development and five in service training (INSET) days per year
  • Attend frequent staff meetings and briefings
  • Meet with parents to discuss pupil progress
  • Compile written reports on pupils
  • Liaise with outside agencies to support pupils
  • Work with a SENDCo to support pupils with special needs and direct Teaching Assistants to support pupils in your class

How these responsibilities look will vary by school and age group taught but are the basic expectations of the majority of ECT teaching roles, as a rule.

What does an ECT earn?

Of course, you will want to know what you can expect to earn in the teaching profession, and how to increase your salary as an ECT.

Usually, an ECT will start their career in the teaching profession on the first step of the teacher’s main pay scale, often referred to as M1. The main pay scale has six steps which you can expect to progress through yearly, subject to performance related pay progression.

In some circumstances, such as for an in-demand subject role or in recognition of experience prior to becoming an ECT and school may offer a newly qualified teacher a role starting on the second or third pay point of the scale.

Essentially an ECT in 2023, working outside of the London area, can expect to start on an approximate annual salary of £30,000 to £33,000, subject to the application of the recently proposed pay rise for all teachers. You can read our full guide on ECT pay here!

Good luck, and don't hesitate to check out our other resources for ECTs if you have any other questions!

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