Information for mentors
Whether you're a new mentor, a mentor with years of experience, or are just thinking about whether mentoring is for you, you'll find plenty of useful information on this page.
This is a big question! Mentors are the cornerstone of the profession, being key to the success of initial teacher training trainees, and a core component of early career teacher induction. While the mentoring role is usually undertaken as additional to a regular teaching load, the benefits to your own practice can be extensive. You will have access to the most up-to-date evidence around what makes good teaching, and to dedicated training and networking events. The most successful mentors also learn from their mentees - as teachers we're aware that we won't ever know everything, and being a lifelong learner is the foundation of what we do.
The two-year induction
The early career framework sets out what early career teachers are entitled to learn about and learn how to do when they start their careers. It underpins a new entitlement for two years of professional development designed to help early career teachers develop their practice, knowledge and working habits.
What is the rationale for the early career framework and two-year induction?
22% of newly qualified entrants to the sector in 2015 were not recorded as working in the state sector two years later…overall pupil numbers are expected to continue rising, with the number of secondary school pupils projected to increase by 15% between 2018 and 2025.
HOUSE OF COMMONS LIBRARY, BRIEFING PAPER, 2019
Teacher effectiveness rises sharply after the first few years in the classroom… accumulating evidence indicates that better-prepared teachers stay longer… new recruits who had training in such areas of teaching as selecting instructional materials, child psychology and learning theory… left the profession at rates half as great as those who did not have such preparation.
SYKES AND DARLING-HAMMOND (2003: 5)
The best available evidence indicates that great teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve pupil attainment. Ensuring every teacher is supported in delivering high-quality teaching is essential to achieving the best outcomes for all pupils, particularly the most disadvantaged among them.
- Early career teacher (often abbreviated to ECT): a teacher in their first or second year of teaching
- Early career framework (ECF): a curriculum of learning to develop ECTs’ expertise during their induction period
- Mentor: schools are required to provide each ECT with a mentor. The mentor uses instructional coaching to support the ECT, so may also be referred to as a coach
- Induction tutor (IT): someone with responsibility for overseeing induction of ECTs; who formally observes the ECT using the Teachers’ Standards and writes termly reports to the school’s Appropriate Body on whether the ECT is on track to pass induction
- Appropriate Body (AB): organisations who quality assure statutory teacher induction and provide data to the Teaching Regulation Agency to record the progress of persons who start, and complete, induction.
The mentor role in the two-year induction
As a mentor, you are responsible for coaching your ECT(s). This role involves guiding your teacher(s) through the programme with weekly observations and instructional coaching sessions in year one, dropping to fortnightly in year two. Your role is vital to help new teachers make the best possible start to their careers, and apply their learning in your school’s unique context. The Julian Teaching School Hub will support you to do this, while also providing the professional development opportunities to ensure that you benefit from the programme too.
Mentor role profile
- Three or more years of teaching experience
- Interested in continuous professional development, and has the capacity to engage with each element of the programme
- Able to act as the point of contact for any concerns or queries your teacher has on the programme
- Specialist in same subject/phase as your teacher(s), so you can help them contextualise their learning.
- Engage with the programme content to support your teacher’s development
- Carry out weekly observation and instructional coaching sessions to support your teacher’s progress (roughly one hour in total), dropping to fortnightly in year two
- Hold your ECT to account in engaging with the programme (taking part in their self-study and events)
- Attend our events for mentors to further develop your instructional coaching practice.
Our commitment to you
- We will provide you with training, tools and resources to make your coaching simple and effective
- Steplab, the online coaching and learning platform, gives you access to the latest research evidence
- Two mentor conferences: hear from inspiring educators and build your network
- Two mentor clinics to develop your knowledge and skills
- ‘Coaching for mentors’: sessions with an expert coach to help you develop your instructional coaching practice.
NEW maths pilot for mentors of secondary maths ECTs.
Ambition Institute’s ECT programme is not subject specific; instead it draws on mentor expertise to contextualise for ECTs by focusing on the underlying features in a range of subject and phase specific scenarios. However, as Ambition are keen to #KeepGettingBetter, they’ve listened to the calls for greater subject specificity, and we’re pleased to announce a pilot for mentors of secondary maths ECTs. This is a very exciting project that we hope you will support. Thanks to funding from Credit Suisse, Ambition's team have been able to develop a suite of maths-specific resources, aimed at mentors of ECTs who teach secondary maths.
What will this mean in practice for a mentor of a secondary maths ECT?
- From January 2024, mentors on the pilot will have access to maths specific exemplification to use in the instructional coaching cycle. There will also be maths specific steps which mentors can set for their ECTs.
- There is no extra work for mentors, just the normal expectation of weekly instructional coaching, but with maths-specific examples (that they can use if they want to – they don’t have to!).
- The Year 2 mentor clinic will also have a maths-specific option for those signed up for the pilot (delivered online by Ambition Institute). Please note, this means that those registered for this pilot will have the choice of 4 clinic topics instead of 3. It will not be an expectation to attend this in addition to the existing Year 2 clinic (but would be possible to attend as an additional input if mentors wanted to).
- Ambition will ask mentors and their ECTs to take part in short surveys to gather their thoughts on the maths-specific elements, and will be seeking a small selection of mentors to take part in a focus group.
- Even if a mentor is on the pilot, they are not required to use the maths materials, or attend the Year 2 maths clinic, but we hope that they will.
- The pilot will start in January 2024 and end in July 2025.
Who is it for?
- The pilot is only for NEW mentors who start the programme in September 2023, and
- Are matched to an ECT whose main teaching subject is secondary maths.
- Ambition will communicate this opportunity directly to mentors and induction tutors by email. In the meantime, if your school is interested in this opportunity, please email us to let us know.