ECTs – we have a problem (1)

It’s a bit of a sobering thought really – we’re not even to 1/2 term and the so called, “well trialled” ECT induction programme is starting to creak and cause problems!

But let’s divert away from that for a second and look at a perennial problem – one that raises its head year after year and one that is certainly happening once again…and to be quite frank SHOULD NOT BE!

It’s the problem of schools / academies not being up to the job of having an ECT on their staff. Whether this is through poor management, laziness or simple incompetence – some schools are not up to the job!

Now if you’re in school management and you’re reading this and shaking your head then I am assuming that your school is handling this well and if thats the case then great news. But already – 7 weeks into the new academic year, there are ECTs who are struggling due to the mismanagement by their schools; and lets not soft soap this…are handing in their resignations!

The new ECT framework and induction programme was designed to support and guide ECTs through their first 2 years in the teaching profession. Brought in because of the 55% failure and quitting rate of new teachers in this time. The guidelines are designed to have training for Mentors, Induction tutors and indeed even higher overview levels.

In the documentation itself it states quite simply that schools should ensure that :

  • Mentors are carefully chosen for their professionalism and ability to guide, support and advise the ECT
  • The class chosen for the ECT must NOT be one with high levels of problems. Discipline is mentioned but of course schools should review the make up of any class and make a conscious decision as to whether, in all honesty, this is a good class for a newly qualified teacher to be given!

Even at this early stage of the new year I am hearing from ECTs who are struggling by the failure of the 2 areas above. WHY?
Its not difficult – a school has decided to appoint an ECT – so choose someone who is capable and competent to mentor them and give them a class which is a fair choice for them as a new teacher. HOW DIFFICULT CAN IT BE??

Without these 2 basics, and they are basics then ECTS as new teachers will struggle right from the start, feel, justifiably unsupported and slowly sink….and don’t get me started on unrealistic expectations from school SLTs!! As a result ECTs will leave – and that’s whats happening…and to be honest I don’t blame them!

So let’s move on to the second problem that is raising its head – the INDUCTION PROGRAMME.
As a brief overview; the DFEE has appointed 6 establishments / companies to set up and run core Induction programmes for ECTs. Now these companies are an option for schools to use or conversely Schools can set up and run their own but it has to meet the requirements of the DFEE programme – so I would doubt that many will!

Just because the content and scope of these programmes has been tested and ok’d by the DFEE doesn’t mean for one moment that they are any good or will be of any use (the DFEE has a track record spanning many many years of introducing what “seems to be a great idea” only for it to be totally useless) and it seems its very quickly becoming clear that these new Induction programmes are proving to be a total overload!

The above is from one of the “Providers” If you look carefully at the top of the pic you will see that this block 5 (ECT training) consists of 20 pages of the above type material and there are 12 blocks on differing topics!

At this point in my article you can kind of get where I am going with this – in fact the article is now becoming larger that I had expected hence the part 1 and next a part 2.

So I will delve further into this topic at another time and look at just how this overload problem is causing problems in itself for everyone concerned – schools and ECTs.

What a ridiculous state of affairs is becoming apparent – am I surprised…no; but I am extremely disappointed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *