DRET Teaching School Hub

David Ross Education Trust ECF Research Project with NIoT

Useful Documents for ECT

Research project: ECF research into mentoring in small schools in rural and coastal communities.

 Who are we?

At DRET, we aim to ensure investment in teacher and leadership development benefits children and young people in every single teacher's classroom. We are committed to making it easier for schools to support teachers’ professional development throughout their careers. At the National Institute of Teaching, we aim for our research, and programmes, to be rooted in schools. Our research is designed to address the areas that teachers and leaders care most about, and feeds directly back into our programmes to strengthen the training and development we offer. The NIoT and DRET are collaborating on this research project to learn more about ECF programme delivery, and how the ECF can designed for small schools in rural and coastal communities at the fore.

 Why are we doing this study?

Early evaluations of the Early Career Framework (ECF) have shown that Early Career Teachers (ECT) hugely value the support they receive from their mentors, however that workload and balancing responsibilities for ECT mentors remains a challenge (DfE, 2023). Research is also suggesting that the ECF is not always tailored to schools’ individual contexts, and this is an area that can be strengthened. However these findings have not been examined regionally, so we don’t know enough about experiences of the ECF in schools in different parts of the country, and for schools of different sizes. We therefore need more evidence to understand what approaches for delivering the ECF are suited to different school contexts. For this study we are focusing on experiences of delivering the ECF in small schools in rural and coastal communities.

What is the aim of this study?

Our intention is to support ECF design and delivery for schools in rural and coastal communities, with an intention to build towards a larger study to pilot promising strategies.

We aim to:

  • learn more about experiences of the ECF in rural and coastal communities, as opposed to urban communities;
  • understand if small schools in rural and coastal communities are facing any particular challenges, what they are, and how these vary in different areas across England;
  • learn from great practice that schools are currently using to address these challenges;
  • identify possible strategies for an ECF package designed specifically for schools in rural and coastal communities.

How will we use these findings?

We will use this research to tailor our own ECF design to be suited to different geographic locations, and to make sure that schools, ECTs, ECT mentors and school leaders have the support they need to deliver the ECF. Our intention is to build towards a larger study to pilot promising strategies.  Following the research, we will analyse the data and turn it into research and professional outputs such as presentations, reports and journal articles. We will share these with you, the NIoT, the Department for Education, and with the broader sector. We may include quotations from the interviews and Focus Group Discussions, but individual participants will not be identifiable in these quotations.  

What will we do?

This study will involve a national survey, and qualitative research with selected schools in the various regions across England. The study runs from March – October 2024.

How can I get involved?

If this study sounds like something you are interested in, we would like to hear from you!

We are currently looking for schools to take part in our qualitative research strand in March-May 2024. We are looking to interview around 6-10 ECTs, ECT mentors, induction tutors and/school leaders across a range of schools in North East and South West England. Interviews will last around 45 minutes, and we will come to your school in person at a time that is convenient to you. There is no obligation for any other member of staff in your school to take part, if only one staff member is interested. We recognise that time is short, and are grateful for individuals giving up time to take part in the research. We would like to offer all individual participants in the qualitative research to be entered into a prize draw for 3x £50 Waterstones vouchers.

In addition, we will also looking for a small number of teachers and leaders to participate in an advisory group for this study. This will involve 2-3 sessions throughout the year, lasting no longer than an hour and held remotely and at a time agreed with the group, depending on the availability. The group will guide the study team in making sure the study findings are useful, and to share them in the most impactful way. If you are interested in joining this group too, please let us know.

Who should I speak to?

If you are interested, please reach out to DRET Teaching School Hub at ectsupport@dret.co.uk.