Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.
What's the time commitment to mentoring an ECT?
There are two parts to this. Firstly, there are some mandatory training sessions that you must attend in order for your school to receive funding for your role:
- Mentor induction conference: a full-day session either in the second half of the summer term, or in September. This is a face to face event
- Mentor conference 2: a full-day session towards the end of year one. This is also a face to face event
- Two 90-minute online clinics, one in year one and another in year two
- Coaching for mentors: one-to-one online sessions with an expert coach, to develop your practice.
You are also expected to observe your ECT's teaching weekly (fortnightly in year two) - just a 10-15 minute drop-in. You and your ECT will then meet for an instructional coaching session, where you will provide granular feedback and set an action step. This session may include deliberate practice, where the ECT will rehearse how to implement specific strategies within their classroom practice, supported by you. This session should last around 45 minutes and take place during teaching hours. Your school must give you time to do this.
How do I record what I talk about with my ECT?
If you are on the ECT programme delivered by the Julian Teaching School in partnership with Ambition Institute, you will have access to two systems: MyAmbition, and StepLab.
- MyAmbition is an online portal where you see details of your conferences and clinics: when you are added to a session, it will show in 'My Events' with the date and location.
- StepLab is the online learning tool used for the programme. This is where your ECT will find their weekly self-study modules, and where you will record your observations and the action steps you set for your ECT. You will receive StepLab training as part of your induction conference.
Why can't I just make my own notes instead of using StepLab?
Early career teacher induction is fully funded by the DfE. This means that your school receives funding for you to undertake the training to be a mentor, and the Julian Teaching School Hub and Ambition Institute receive funding to deliver the programme. This funding is contingent on continued engagement with the programme - this is why we have to be able to see if you have attended events and are logging your sessions on StepLab. If you and your ECT do not meet the engagement targets set by DfE, funding will not be released.
If my training is funded, what am I entitled to?
You are entitled to the full programme of training, including access to StepLab content, for two years, regardless of where your ECT is on their journey. This means that if you replace a mentor (for example, if they leave the school before their ECT's induction is complete) and join the programme partway through, you start from the beginning and complete two years.
Are the lesson observations formal assessments?
No. The ECT programme is developmental, and not to be used as an assessment tool. The school's Induction Tutor will formally observe the ECT termly, and will submit a report to the appropriate body. The role of the mentor is supportive, not judgemental.
What if I'm both the mentor and the Induction Tutor?
While this is not recommended, we do recognise that smaller schools may not have the staffing to allow different people to take these roles. If you are both mentor and Induction tutor, it is important to understand that these are two discrete roles with differing responsibilities, and you should ensure that adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure that the mentoring support offered to the ECT is not conflated with assessment of the ECT against the Teachers’ Standards.
What do I do if my school hasn't given me enough time to fulfill my mentoring responsibilities?
The statutory induction guidance is clear that "the mentor is expected to be given adequate time to carry out the role effectively and to meet the needs of the ECT. This includes attending regular mentoring sessions and mentor training where appropriate." (section 2.43) If you are not being given this time, and attempts to address this with your school have not been effective, please contact your ECT's appropriate body (AB) - their role is to quality assure the induction period, and they will wish to speak with the school about the ECT not receiving their full entitlement to a suitable monitoring and support programme (section 2.39 of the statutory induction guidance).
My ECT achieved QTS and started their induction prior to September 2021 but haven't completed it - do they have to start again and complete six terms?
No. However, as of September 2021 'legacy ECTs' do have to complete a total of six terms of induction. If they have already completed two terms under the old rules, they now need to complete four terms of an ECF-based induction programme in order to pass their induction. Your school can contact us for more information on how this will work, but the ECT must receive all of the entitlements due under the new two-year process.
You can also find early career teacher FAQs here.