Early Career Teacher Mentoring in England: A case study of Compliance and Mediation

Lisa Murtagh, Louisa Dawes, Lizzie Rushton, Claire Ball-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports the findings from a small-scale study of ten mentors’ experiences of supporting Early Career Teachers (ECTs) in secondary schools in England following the introduction of the Early Career Framework (ECF) in 2021. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews with individual mentors based in London, Manchester and York, UK. The findings suggest that mentors experience some challenges supporting ECTs through the use of mandated training materials. The data reports the contradictions of being required to support trainees through a programme governed by the statutory requirements of the Department for Education (DfE) in England, whilst also being part of a complex, nuanced school community. The authors examine mentors’ experiences as they balance the compliance requirements of the ECF alongside seeking to support ECTs with the realities of classroom life in their own settings. The paper discusses the emergence of a mediated mentor professionalism as mentors seek to navigate competing demands. We argue that this case study illustrates the potential for the international sector to challenge postulated solutions of homogenised mentoring curricula and practices to the recruitment and retention of ECTs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Early online date27 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jan 2024


  • Mentor
  • Early Career teacher (ECT)
  • Early Career Framework (ECF)
  • phronesis
  • professionalism


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