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Early Career Support

Robust mentorship for early careers educators helping to increase their confidence and reduce the likelihood of leaving the profession. 


Head Teachers / School Leaders, School Teachers


Leadership, Workforce: Recruitment, Retention and Development


Whole School

Why was the project needed?

The number of early career teachers leaving within the first 3 years was significant. We wanted to provide them with significant additional support, guidance and mentoring to help reduce that number. 

What happened and what was the impact?

We commissioned The Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) to provide a mentoring development programme to increase the number of early career mentors across the area. Alongside a local teaching school we created and developed an early careers peer network. This increase the number of mentors available who will mentor both in and out of their own schools/settings. 

What did and didn't work?

The mentors and mentees were incredibly positive about the process. Using a reputable respected organisation to deliver the programme was essential. Opportunities to discuss outside of training sessions allowed for a supportive network of mentors across the area. 

Less successful: There were challenges around recruitment to the programme due to lack of resource and capacity within schools/settings; this had an impact on peer network: engagement and take-up from early career teachers who were not always able to be realised from other duties. 

How did you measure success?

As a result of our programme, 19 participants completed training and are recognised as CUREE accredited mentors. Of these, four are also accredited CUREE mentoring trainers.  

The mentees responded well to the approach; after just two sessions it was noticeable that colleagues were comfortable bringing examples not just of successes (of which there were many) but even more importantly, of challenges and obstacles they were facing, so they could reflect deeply, draw on research and other’s experience, skills and ideas and identify considered ways forwards. There was broad agreement that the programme impacted positively on the mentees as well as the mentors, with both sides of the relationship experiencing benefits ranging from  improved time management to greater confidence in the classroom (something which is also reflected in research on professional mentoring and coaching relationships in education). 


Ingredients For Success

  • Buy in and capacity within host schools (mentors and mentees) 
  • Commitment and capacity to train and then follow-up. 
  • A uniform approach to professional support and development with the school. 
  • Accredited and recognised training was particularly important – people saw it as an investment in them. 


How is the Project Sustainable

Mentoring on-going but training and peer to peer network not currently operating; due, in large part, to restrictions and reduced capacity due to COVID-19. The programme, could however be made sustainable for relatively little costs.  

What are the Long Term Impacts

To allow the continuation of the network of mentors we have developed, we also recommend that resources be made available to the participants to allow them to continue meeting on an informal basis to share their experiences and progression with mentoring early career teachers. As time was identified as a key limitation in the recruitment for this programme, we would highlight the need for allowing the participants infrequent get-togethers to discuss their progress face to face. 

Area Most Impacted

Workforce: Recruitment, Retention and Development

Next steps to do something similar yourself

See the full range of guidance reports available from EEF here

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