Initial Teacher Training update - July 2023

Teaching School Hubs have been asked by the DfE to take a strategic role in ITT from September 2023 which will include mapping school engagement in Initial Teacher Training and supporting ITT providers. There are also several changes which will impact on mentoring that schools need to be aware of.

The role of Teaching School Hubs

  • Teaching School Hubs are being asked to take a strategic role in Initial Teacher Training from 2023 by the DfE.
  • TSH will need to map ITT providers in their area and signpost the region’s ITT offer to schools.  
  • TSH need to support our region’s ITT providers with placements, subject/phase experts and Intensive Training and Practice Placements/experts based on need.
  • Teaching Schools Hubs also need to map each school’s engagement in their region in ITT by auditing which ITT providers they work with and which placements they offer.
  • TSH should then be working with schools who wish to be involved in ITT to support them to do this, sharing with them the ITT providers in the region who they could contact and sharing any barriers that schools might have in hosting ITT placements.
  • TSH will collect information from schools to map where there is spare capacity to offer placements, specialists and Intensive Training and Practice Placements and will match this with any need given to TSH by our ITT providers to support ITT delivery in our region.

Changes to mentoring in schools

There are several changes impacting on the role of ‘mentor’ that schools need to be aware of. We want to ensure we highlight these changes so that schools are aware, and so that we can work together to support future mentors.

Early Career Teachers (ECTs)

  • There is now a requirement for two years mentoring rather than one. This alone means that there is an expectation that schools are able to increase their mentoring capacity by 50%.  In practice, for entirely understandable reasons, there is a tendency for schools to reduce their ITE offer if they have an ECT, particularly in smaller departments (secondary) or smaller (primary) schools.  Unless school leaders are able to monitor this, there is a danger that, instead of increasing support for early career teachers, there is the danger of a reduction in capacity to train them and ITTs.

Early Career Framework (ECF) and Core Content Framework (CCF)

  • There is a very clear expectation that mentors all know the evidence informed practices that underpin the ECF.  What is less known is that the content of the Core Content Framework, which is the statutory requirement for ITE curricula, is essentially the same as the ECF with differences around more expert guidance, modelling and support and the requirement that mentors know the content of the CCF/ECF will be part of the ITE landscape from 2024.
  • In principle, the idea of a three-year induction into specific, shared, evidence-informed professional knowledge might be viewed as a good thing; as is the expectation that those mentoring early career colleagues have expertise in this area.  Schools may also be finding their normal mentor pool is not enough to meet this demand and will need to plan ahead to continue to host ITT trainees in 2024.

Mentors as Teacher Educators

  • The introduction of the ECF/CCF has made a significant impact on the role of the mentor.  Mentors need to know the evidence base and techniques around mentoring – such as Instructional Coaching approaches and the content of the Core Content Framework and a shift to a curriculum-led model of training.

New Quality Framework for ITE (from 2024)

  • These changes can be clearly seen in the new quality framework for ITT, which will become statutory from 2024. The most pertinent of these requirements is that new mentors (which would include experienced mentors who have not mentored with the ECF/CCF curriculum model or have mentoring skills linked to the ITT provider’s style of mentoring) require 20 hours of mentor training in their first year, and that trainees would have a minimum of 1.5 hours of mentoring each week.
  •  It is likely that existing models of teacher training include 1.5 hours of mentoring, when coaching, observation and feedback is taken into account. 
  • The shift to 20 hours of new mentor training might seem onerous; this is why one important action from these changes is to train mentors and deploy them regularly, over a number of years, as only 6 hours of mentor training are required thereafter.
  • The DfE have also created a new role called a Lead Mentor – who works for the ITT provider to lead training, support and QA mentoring and trainee progress. Lead Mentors are expected to work with up to 25 trainees.
  • There is an additional requirement for 4 weeks of Intensive Training and Practice beyond the normal curriculum which will entail further developments to the role of ‘mentor’.  Here, after 3 days of focused centre-based training, trainees are expected to be trained outside their normal curriculum on an intensive focus - such as scaffolding or questioning. Further information on Intensive Training and Practice can be found here.
  • Clearly for Intensive Training and Practice Placements to be a success, ITT providers need experts from the school-led system to help plan, delivery and quality assure this work.


  • There is some DfE funding towards the cost of the 20 hours training.
  • Funding for schools outside London is £876 per General Mentor to support the 20 hours of mentor training - this will be paid in arrears directly to the placement school based on how much training the mentor is needed/completed for each mentor.
  • This funding is only guaranteed for 2024-25 at the moment.
  • Other funding from the ITT will continue as normal for mentor release.

What might schools do in response?

We are extremely fortunate to have a wide network of highly skilled mentors, and a very supportive school partnership.  There are already several ideas that school partners have suggested about how they acknowledge, celebrate and reward mentors.  The starting point is to consider how best to recognise the shift in the role of mentor that is implied in a curriculum-led model of training, and to explore how to acknowledge this professional expertise of the mentor team.

  • Develop a specific career pathway that some teachers might wish to follow in teacher education, e.g. Learning coach, mentor, NPQLTD, phase leaders, key stage leaders. This should be mapped, as in schools PM processes.
  • Ensure that professional tutor (secondary) or ITE coordinator (primary) is a specific senior/middle leadership role who has the role of assigning mentors from departments and lead QA and training.
  • Raising the status of mentoring by featuring prominently in performance management more formally.
  • Consideration of the time/increased responsibilities of the mentor. Schools in our region have done this by allocating more time on the mentor’s timetable, offering direct funding to the mentor for training completed after school, ensuring the mentor role is linked to a pay scale/SIP or allocated time allowances.
  • Consider if mentoring for both ECF/ITT might be a recommended pathway for all teachers in their 3rd or 4th year of teaching; perhaps as a pre-cursor to other coaching roles such as moving to middle leadership, or for colleagues moving to UPS.
  • Consider all staff to be expected to mentor - moving towards a mentoring department. Staff on UPS might be expected to mentor. This avoids the disparity between departments/phases where some don’t offer any placements and others offer lots each year.
  • Work on preparing mentors for the future using mentor training for aspiring mentors where appropriate. This might be in the form of succession planning and putting year 3 teachers on an Instructional Coaching/mentor shadowing course.


Mentoring is a powerful strategy for boosting teacher development - what do you do to retain and develop your mentors?

Useful links

Saffron TSH - National Professional Qualifications

Saffron TSH - Support for Mentors

Saffron TSH - Train to Teach - Support for Schools