Mosaic Book of the Term Prize Draw
Written by Rob Caudwell, Co-Founder of Penrose Education
13 March 2023
At Penrose Education we are on a mission to fill the (teacher training) world with thoughtfully designed and effective EdTech. But we also want to fill the (teacher training) world with books.
Each term we will be reviewing a book we have found helpful, interesting and/or thought-provoking in our attempts to develop our understanding of what exceptional teacher training looks like.
Best of all – you could win a copy of one of these books in our Book of the Term Prize Draw!
Our chosen book this term is: The Early Career Framework: Origins, outcomes and opportunities (2022), edited by Tanya Ovenden-Hope.
Why we chose this book?
Last term, Teacher Tapp and the Gatsby Foundation released a report summarising perceptions of the first year of the Early Career Framework (ECF). Using anonymous survey data, the report outlines Early Career Teachers (ECTs), mentors and school leaders’ experiences of the ECF programmes so far. Given the ECF was intended to form a key part of the DfE’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, these survey results are far from encouraging.
While very few survey respondents think that the ECF should be scrapped altogether, the majority of mentors think that the introduction of an ECF programme “adds too much to ECTs workload”, “doesn’t meet individual teachers’ needs”, “adds too much to Mentor workload” and “is too prescriptive”. As for the ECTs themselves, the majority disagree with the statement that they have “learned a lot from the ECF”. Perhaps most strikingly only 25% of ECTs and only 10% (!) of mentors believe the ECF will increase ECT retention in the profession.
It won’t be a surprise to know that at Penrose Education we care very deeply about the recruitment and retention of great teachers into the profession. In my efforts to understand these survey results, I have found it incredibly helpful to re-visit The Early Career Framework, edited by Tanya Ovenden-Hope. In the book, Ovenden-Hope brings together a collection of insights from key organisations and people involved in the design and delivery of the ECF.
"If improving outcomes for young people is our overarching goal, supporting ECTs effectively should be a priority, alongside supporting teachers across their careers." - Cat Scutt, p240
What we've taken from it
Published a year ago, this book carefully outlines:
- Where the ECF came from;
- How various programmes have been formed and;
- What successful (and unsuccessful) roll-out of the ECF might look like.
The first thing that struck me was the diversity of thought and ideas contained within the different chapters – each written by a different author, often representing a different organisation involved in ECF delivery.
It is easy to think that the ECF roll out has been a uniform one (probably at least partly because of the DfE’s underpinning framework and role in appointing providers). But between the different main providers – and not forgetting those who have opted to design their own programmes – there are significant curricular, programmatic and andragogic differences. While some authors emphasised the importance of ensuring fidelity to the ECF’s evidence base, others were keen to give place for ECTs to critically scrutinise the underpinning research. Where some authors had greater focus on ensuring equity of ECT experience and entitlement regardless of context, others made more room for individualised tailoring to meet specific needs. I think that these differences should be celebrated. As we all learn from the first cohort of ECTs, diversity of approach will allow greater and faster improvements to be made, learning from each other’s experiences.
"[ECTs could] move beyond defensive or performative approaches, to feel confident about taking an exploratory and evidence-rich stance to making use of the ECF acting as an accelerator for use of the teacher standards." - Bart Crisp and Philippa Cordingley, p272
A second key takeaway for me is that many of the challenges we are facing (as outlined in the ECT and mentor survey results above) were predicted ahead of time. This is somehow both reassuring and frustrating! Many of the authors outlined how crucial local and contextual interpretation of a nation-wide framework was going to be. Others acknowledged that efforts needed to be made to protect ECT and mentor agency – wary of the dangers of an over prescriptive approach. I take some comfort in knowing that these challenges were at least anticipated – and hopefully many of these contributors are still at work, refining their ECF offers to continue addressing these challenges.
“How well the ECF is delivered, whether the content is flexible and responsive enough to local needs, and whether it is supportive of development, rather than becoming an assessment framework will determine whether it succeeds." - Philadelphia Iglehart, p35-36
Finally, the book also simply reminds us just how important it is to get support right for ECTs. The one thing that unified all the book’s contributors – unsurprisingly – was a clear conviction that providing better care, support and training to early career teachers should form a key part of any wider recruitment and retention strategy. Despite the concerns that have been raised by ECTs, mentors and school leaders (described above), the sector must continue to work towards a well-thought-through, developmental and convincing welcome to all new entrants of the teaching profession!
How Mosaic supports teacher training, education and development
At Penrose Education, we are committed to creating thoughtful and powerful technology to support and improve teacher training, education and development. We build in dialogue and partnership with the sector, embracing diversity in approach and striving to reflect this is in the online solutions we provide.
Mosaic for Appropriate Bodies is our solution for the effective management and monitoring of ECT progress. Mosaic’s unique automation tools, customisable reporting mechanisms and smart analysis tools ensure all ECTs are supported appropriately in their individual journeys while reducing workload.
Our other online platform – Mosaic for ITT providers – for the effortless/streamlined management of successful teacher training, provides an easy-to-use space for trainees, mentors and staff to record, track and personalise every element of the journey, seamlessly encouraging critical reflective practice; supporting highly effective mentoring practice; and all within the wider framework of the provider’s curriculum delivery.
How can I win a copy?
We are giving away three copies of Ovenden-Hope’s book to anyone working in positions related to teacher training and development.
To be in with a chance to win, please enter your details here.
We will randomly select the lucky winners on 1st of April.