Early Careers Framework Strand 1: Professional Behaviour

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Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor, aka Mr T, is an experienced teacher and ECT mentor who manages the popular Twitter account @MrTs_NQTs.
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What does Strand 1: Professional Behaviours look like in the Early Careers Teacher Framework?

Professional Behaviours are the key behaviours expected of any teacher in the profession.

This strand aligns most closely with Teachers’ Standards 1 and 8. The Early Career Framework (ECF), identifies the importance of being a role model for pupils. As well as seeking support and working closely with colleagues and the wider school community.

The Early Career Framework

This blog post has been written to provide an understanding of the content of the  ECF (DfE 2019) that was rolled out nationally in September 2021.  The ECF provided a minimum entitlement to Continued Professional Development (CPD) for those teachers in the first and second year of their teaching careers – known as Early Career Teachers (ECTs). With the ECF came a focussed mentoring role to support ECTs in honing their practice in line with the content of the early careers framework.

The ECF is an entitlement for all ECTs but can be implemented in various ways. Schools can create their own provision based on the content of the ECF, schools can use a recommended provider’s materials, or a provider can be selected to deliver the content of the ECF.

Whichever approach is taken. The core content will be the same and follows the 5 strands of the ECF:  Professional Behaviours, Behaviour Management, Pedagogy, Curriculum and Assessment.

In this blog, we will unpick Strand 1 – Professional Behaviours.

Key areas

The ECF outlines the key areas of:

  1. Teachers as role models.
  2. Professional development.
  3. Wider life of the school.
  4. Building effective relationships with parents.
  5. Effective deployment of TAs.
  6. Working with specialist colleagues.
  7. Managing workload and wellbeing

Teachers as role models

This area identifies how significant the role of a teacher can be in inspiring and motivating pupils, but also the idea that how we behave has an impact on pupils’ attitudes, values and behaviour. This section advocates for consistent language use to promote challenge and aspiration for pupils. This works alongside creating a positive learning environment that is rooted in mutual respect and trust to allow pupils to thrive.

Professional development

Whilst the ECF is a statutory programme of CPD it recognises that all teachers need to develop their practice through engagement with other professional development. Building wider networks and purposeful reflection. Within the school environment, engaging with peers by seeking challenges and feedback as well as discussing key research evidence, are also seen as key desirable behaviours to support continued professional development and improvement in teaching techniques

Wider life of the school

This has always been prevalent in teaching, that engagement with the community and involvement in extra curricular provision. The ECF however discusses this in terms of that shared responsibility for improving the lives of all pupils within the school. As well as having the opportunity to support colleagues and develop team working skills.

Building effective relationships with parents

Parents can frequently be your biggest source of tension and this is recognised by the ECF. However, it focuses predominantly on Parents’ evenings and not on those day-to-day interactions that can be so important. Building effective relationships can make a significant impact on the attainment and motivation of pupils. However, it needs to be through continued sustained interactions, not just at parents’ evenings.

Effective deployment of TAs

The ECF advocates 2 clear approaches for the effective use of TAs – ensuring they are fully prepared for lessons and being used to supplement the support of teachers rather than replace.

Working with specialist colleagues

At any stage of your career, there will be times that you need to draw upon the expertise/ specialisms of other colleagues. As an ECT this is frequently the case. Knowing who the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and other specialists’ colleagues are is vital as an ECT so that timely support can be sought. The ECF also advocates that the SENCo provides explicit links between interventions and classroom teaching. This is something that is so often lost as pupils can be removed from lessons with the ECT having very little knowledge as to why.

Managing workload and wellbeing

This is an important inclusion in the early careers framework and rightly so. ECTs often find themselves overwhelmed by the tasks expected of them.  The ECF recommends 4 key strategies:

  1. Using personalised systems and routines.
  2. Understanding their right to support.
  3. Collaborating with colleagues to share the workload.
  4. Protecting time for rest and recovery.

These 4 strategies can take time to develop. Seeking support from colleagues on how to do so is so important.

I hope this blog has given you a clear overview of the Professional Behaviours strand of the early careers framework, look out for the next one – Behaviour Management.

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