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What's the difference between being a NQT and an ECT?

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 3 years ago
  • Author: Matt Brown

​Teaching can be a very fulfilling career for the right professional. A teaching career offers many benefits, as well as challenges – but ultimately, you’ll be making a huge impact on young people at a crucial point in their lives. Teaching allows you to make a difference and it offers a lot of variety as well as good, long-term prospects. The first few years of an Early Career Teacher (previously known as a Newly Qualified Teacher) involves a great deal of training and preparation. The recently launched Early Career Teacher training programme represents a positive change in the education sector, as it aims to provide extra support for new teachers. Below, we discuss the key differences between being an ECT and a NQT.

What are NQT and ECT teachers?

The Early Career framework was designed to support teachers in their development and improve the training opportunities for teachers who are just starting in their careers. When you complete your teaching education, you will achieve Qualified Teacher Status (GTS), but you will need to undergo further training before being able to legally teach in schools in the UK. During this period of training, you’ll be known as an Early Career Teacher, which has replaced the original term, “Newly Qualified Teachers” (NQTs).

There’s a range of key differences between NQTs and ECTs. Firstly, ECTs have additional funding whereas NQTs were funded by the school. As an ECT, teachers complete a high quality, tailored training program with an assigned mentor and an induction period. Also, the standard length of training has been increased from one school year to two school years. Unlike NQTs, the Early Career framework holds regular progress reviews and two formal assessments, as well as frequent checks to ensure ECTs are receiving adequate support.

What’s the impact of the Early Career framework on teachers?

In previous years, NQTs only received a year of training and support. However, the second year, under the Early Career Framework, will offer more specialised training to help teachers grow in confidence and knowledge. Some of the areas ECTs must learn include behaviour management, pedagogy, curriculum and assessment – and schools will be able to choose from three different models for delivering the training. As a result, the framework will pave the way for more experienced and better-prepared teachers in the future. Also, teachers will have a broad knowledge of different disciplines and be more flexible with their teaching styles.

Furthermore, the reforms are designed to improve retention in schools due to the number of teachers leaving the profession. Research has found that professionals are much more likely to leave their teaching careers in the first few years, while four in ten leave after five years. Compared to being an NQT, joining an ECT programme means extra care and support to keep teachers engaged, which in turn can tackle the problems with retention.

How to succeed as an ECT

The ECT training program gives you the chance to learn how to be a teacher in a supportive environment where you can discuss your accomplishments with an experienced mentor. During the training period, your performance will be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards, which will judge whether or not you have effectively passed the initial training. A key difference between ECTs and NQTs is that it’s more than a training program; the ECT framework is a career that offers continuous professional development. One of the best ways to succeed is to build and maintain positive relationships with pupils and other teachers in the school. Building mutual trust and respect is essential to a successful teaching career. It’s important to show time and care for each student, plan lessons ahead of time, stay up-to-date with school policies, all of which can ensure your success as an ECT.

Let Dunbar help you

Dunbar is a specialist education recruitment agency. Since 2016, we’ve helped hundreds of teachers and support staff find new roles in schools across the UK, including London, the Midlands and the South. We’re experts at matching teachers with placements in partner schools. We have an excellent team of consultants who have a great knowledge of the education sector. We always keep up with the latest trends and research in education. Our team is dedicated to helping partner schools find the right teachers to deliver the best education to students. Contact us today to find out more about our services and keep reading our blog for further news and updates.