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Early Career Teachers (ECF & Appropriate Body)

AB Consultation and Reforms

The DfE has announced its intention to reform the AB sector so that Teaching School Hubs (TSHs) will become the main providers of AB services and Local Authorities will no longer carry out this role. This will bring clearer accountability, and greater consistency and quality of service for schools through a smaller, more regulated AB sector. They have launched a consultation on the timeframe for this change and how to enable a successful transition. The consultation also looks at improving the experience of assessment at the end of induction and reducing burdens. To inform this they are also seeking views on the value of the formal assessment process during statutory teacher induction and the efficacy with which the AB roles and responsibilities are carried out, including their core role of checking entitlements of ECTs and ensuring that mentors have time to carry out their role effectively.

We encourage ABs, schools and trusts, ECTs and mentors, and anyone with an interest in statutory teacher induction and the AB role to engage with this consultation. Your engagement will allow the DfE to ensure a successful transition and help them improve the AB role and statutory induction more generally.

Please read the appropriate body reform and induction assessment: consultation document and respond to the consultation here. 


DfE Appropriate Bodies Questions and Answers (Q&A)

Q: Who is affected by this reform?

A: The AB sector will see the biggest change with local authorities no longer offering appropriate body services after the changes come into effect, (provisional date Sept 2023 subject to feedback from the consultation). The TSHs will build their capacity to cover regional need and local authorities will be winding down their services during the transitional period. We intend to work with the TSHs Council and the Local Government Association to support a smooth transition and build capacity in the system. 

Q: Who should respond to this consultation?

A: ABs are organisations that have the main quality assurance role in statutory teacher induction. They ensure that early career teachers (ECTs) receive their statutory entitlements and that the monitoring, support, assessment, and guidance procedures in place are fair and appropriate. We encourage ABs, schools and trusts, teachers, and anyone with an interest in statutory teacher induction or the AB sector to engage with our consultation. Your engagement will allow us to ensure a successful transition and help us improve the AB role and statutory induction more generally.

Q: How long will the consultation run for?

A: The consultation launched on 26 May 2022 and will run for 8 weeks until 21 July 2022.

Q: What is the sector being consulted on?

A: The AB sector will be reformed so that TSHs will become the main providers of AB services and Local authorities will no longer carry out this role. We are consulting on the timeframe and the needs of the current AB sector to enable a successful transition. We are also consulting on how AB services can be improved and seeking views on the value of the formal assessment process.

Q: When will the government respond to the consultation? A: The government will respond to this consultation in Autumn 2022. Q: When will this reform come into force?

A: We are consulting on the timeframe that would enable a successful transition and will be able to confirm the date that the reforms will come into force alongside the government’s response in Autumn 2022. The earliest provisional date would be September 2023.

Q: Why are TSHs best placed to do the AB role?

A: The Department is committed to improving the quality and consistency of AB services. TSHs offer national coverage through their network of 87 TSHs, they play a significant role in in the delivery of ECF-based induction programmes, and 19 each TSH is held accountable against key performance indicators through their contracts with the department. This makes TSHs ideally placed to offer high-quality and consistent AB services. We intend to work closely with the TSHs Council to build capacity in and encourage consistency across the sector, ensuring all schools have access to high quality AB services.

Q: What does this mean for local Authorities (LAs)?

A: The role of the Local Authority (LA) has shifted over the years. As outlined in the ‘opportunity for all’ white paper LAs will step back from their role in directly maintaining schools to instead be at the heart of championing the best interest of children in their area. We are reforming the AB sector in line with this.

Q: What will happen during the transitional period?

A: We are consulting on the needs of the current appropriate body sector and on what we can help facilitate to enable a successful transition. We expect that TSHs will need to work collaboratively with LAs on transition and build their capacity to address regional need. We will work alongside the Teaching School Hub Council (TSHC) to ensure that there is capacity in the AB sector to meet demand.