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An ECT is a teacher who has just attained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and is now undertaking an induction programme that enables them to be legally employed as a teacher in a maintained school. They may have gained QTS in a variety of different ways:

  • By taking a Bachelor of Education (BEd) undergraduate degree, or a Bachelor of Arts or Science (BA/BSc) degree with QTS, a degree that incorporates teacher training.

  • By taking a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) or by doing School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), where graduates undertake almost all of their QTS training in a school setting.

  • Through an employment programme like the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP), where graduates are employed as an unqualified teacher while working towards QTS, or Teach First, a programme which provides teacher and leadership training for people who are passionate about giving children from the most deprived backgrounds an excellent education.

One of the main purposes of Step Teachers is to give ECTs the experience of working as a teacher, and the opportunity to prove that they’re up to scratch. This means that their day-to-day job is likely to be similar to that of other, more experienced teachers. They should teach the same class regularly and are required to do the same sort of planning, teaching, and assessment as other teachers. Along with this, an ECT teacher working with Step Teachers can also benefit from the following:

  • A widened teaching experience

  • Enhanced cross-curricular skills as well as key stage experiences

  • Opportunity to show schools what you're like in the classroom

  • Gain a unique insight into how different schools are managed and how different classes interact

  • Enjoy maximum flexibility and plenty of opportunities

ECTs do, however, have a slightly reduced teaching timetable – 90 percent of other teachers’ – to leave them time to do other compulsory induction activities. They shouldn’t be asked to deal with unusually demanding discipline situations, and nor should they be given additional non-teaching responsibilities (for example, responsibility for music, PE or another subject) unless they have support from other staff.​

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