Ofsted Awards Outstanding Rating to our ECF Programme!

Ofsted Awards Outstanding Rating to our ECF Programme!


"At Best Practice Network, leaders’ values to ‘strive for excellence’ and ‘inspire learning’ are fully realised."


ECF Inspection Report | May 2023


We are thrilled to announce that our Early Career Framework (ECF) programme has been judged "Outstanding" on all accounts by Ofsted. The "Outstanding" judgment reflects the hard work of our ECF team, our ECF Delivery Partners, the schools we work with and our participants. Thank you to all those who contributed to the programme over the last 2 years.

You can read the report in full below.

Inspection Judgements - Early Career Framework Inspection - May 2023

Overall Effectiveness


The quality of professional development and training


Leadership and management


What is it like to be an early career teacher (ECT) at Best Practice Network?

ECTs gain the extensive knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the early stages of their teaching careers. This is because the lead provider prioritises the development needs and starting points of individual ECTs and their mentors, ensuring that the programme is tailored exceptionally well.

ECTs study an ambitious and expertly designed curriculum. Specialist facilitators forge strong links between this curriculum and mentor training. From early in the programme, ECTs learn the importance of effective pupil relationships and behaviour strategies. In the second year of their programme, ECTs are guided to use action research skills expertly. This enables them to become highly reflective practitioners who are extremely wellprepared for the realities of teaching.

Enhancements, such as visits to other schools, positively impact on ECTs’ classroom practice. They access and use well-thought-out materials, which purposefully link to the phase and subject that they teach. For example, all ECTs learn that ‘they are teachers of literacy’. Through meticulously sequenced sessions and high-quality self-study materials, they understand the importance of using a systematic synthetic approach for phonics and the impact of teaching important vocabulary to pupils.

ECTs benefit from the high-quality pastoral support offered by the lead provider, as well as within their delivery partnership. As a result, ECTs are more than ready for the next steps in their career.

What does Best Practice do well and what does it need to do better?

At Best Practice Network, leaders’ values to ‘strive for excellence’ and ‘inspire learning’ are fully realised. Delivery partners are proud to work with the lead provider and feel valued. Leaders seek the views of stakeholders regularly to ensure that they continue to sustain a high-quality programme. For example, this feedback has led to well-written case studies that thoughtfully support ECTs and mentors within their phase. Governors routinely check the impact of leaders’ work.

Leaders are tenacious in their approach to continuing programme improvements. They have clear systems to quality assure impact. To complement the frequent checks on effectiveness, leaders also provide regular briefings and surgeries to support all stakeholders in their work. They care deeply about the workload and well-being of ECTs and mentors. They do what they can to streamline systems. As a result of these checks and support, ECTs understand how to manage their own workload.

Leaders have designed a well-connected curriculum for ECTs and mentors. They ensure that they maintain fidelity to the ECF, while making deliberate and well-considered sequencing choices. For example, irrespective of when ECTs start during the year, they learn quickly how to manage approaches to behaviour. As a result of this ambitious curriculum, ECTs deepen the knowledge and skills that they need to be highly effective practitioners.

Enhancements, along with leaders’ approach to wider reading and ‘inquiry’, complement the programme further. For example, ECTs in year two of their programme engage in research linked to their subject and phase with high levels of critical reflection. Facilitators and mentors expertly guide these ECTs in this work, so there are demonstrable improvements to their teaching. Some headteachers commented that this work is ‘invaluable’ and develops ‘highly resilient’ ECTs.

The lead provider, through their well-thought-out systems and meticulously planned curriculum, ensures that ECTs have a sharp and accurate view of their strengths and weaknesses. ‘Module audits’ perform an important role within this. ECTs are well guided in using these audits to build on prior knowledge and celebrate their successes. Facilitators diligently use what they know about ECTs and mentors to adapt future training and support. This is because the work of the lead provider ensures that facilitators are skilled and have expert knowledge.

Leaders identify mentors’ roles and responsibilities. They share these with their partners clearly. Mentors attend highly effective training, which includes successful coaching strategies. Most mentors who responded to the Ofsted survey shared that they have high levels of confidence in their roles because of this work. They say that they are fully prepared with the knowledge and skills they need to support ECTs highly effectively.

Leaders fully understand their statutory responsibilities, including safeguarding, equality and inclusion. Staff are trained to support ECTs if they raise any concerns. The lead provider works diligently to offer thoughtful modifications to support disabilities.

Download the Ofsted report