AB Consultation and Reforms
On 15 November 2022, the Department for Education published the response to the appropriate body reform and induction assessment consultation that ran from 26 May to 21 July 2022.
The consultation sought views on three areas:
How ABs can perform their role effectively. This focused on the systems in place for statutory induction including checking entitlements and supporting ECT progress, as well as any barriers that ABs face in carrying out their role effectively.
Induction assessment process. This focused on how far the assessment process during induction adds value to ECTs, schools and the profession more broadly.
Reforms to who can operate as an AB. This focused on the transition period of transferring the role of AB from local authorities to teaching school hubs (TSHs), including proposed timescales for the transition and any challenges that organisations would face because of these reforms.
There are two important outcomes which affect schools:
Teaching School Hubs (TSHs) will become the main providers of Appropriate Body (AB) services and Local Authorities (LAs) will no longer carry out this role.
LAs will NOT be able to claim new ECTs after 31 Aug 2023 but are able to offer AB services until 31 Aug 2024.
If your AB service is provided by a local authority, you have two options for 2023/24:
|Move your current ECTs (who started induction in 2022/23) to SFET TSH. This way you only work with one AB, thus minimising workload and confusion for your mentors, induction tutors and school staff. Register all your new ECTs with SFET TSH here.||Keep ECTs who started induction in 2022/23 with your local authority AB until they complete induction in 2024. This will mean working with two ABs throughout 23/24 as LAs will NOT be able to claim new ECTs after 31 Aug 2023.|
SFET is working proactively with the local authority to ensure this transition is managed effectively for the benefit of schools, teachers and, most importantly, children.
We currently provide Appropriate Body and Early Career Framework services to over 300 schools across Hampshire and Surrey; our Primary and Secondary programmes run separately to ensure phase specific training and support with each phase supported by outstanding phase specific school-led delivery partners across the region. Our team includes primary, secondary and special school practitioners and leaders who understand the demands on staff workload at all levels of the organisation.
Whilst Appropriate Body and Early Career Framework services can stand alone, together they provide a fully complementary package to enable schools to meet the needs of early career teachers and their mentors. We understand the induction reforms in their entirety, as well as the demands of school life, and are well-placed to ensure that your school has everything that it needs to induct your ECTs successfully.
Let SFET Teaching School Hub Appropriate Body support you - we work with schools to ensure a smooth transition for ECTs joining mid-year or joining for Year 2.
Being school led, we know the pressures on school budgets which is why we recommend our ‘Full Early Career Induction Programme’ incorporating both our Appropriate Body service and Early Career Framework for only £150 per ECT p/a.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our dedicated team is on hand all year to respond to any questions you may have – just pick up the phone or pop us an email. We look forward to working with you.
The full outcome of the consultation can be read here.
Questions and Answers (Q&A)
Q: Who is affected by this reform?
A: ABs will see the biggest change with local authorities no longer offering AB services after the changes come into effect in 2024.
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 Teaching School Hubs Council (TSHC) and the Local Government Association (LGA) to support a smooth transition and build capacity in the system.
Schools and institutions offering induction to ECTs who currently access AB services through a local authority AB will be supported to access alternative TSH AB services once LAs cease to operate as ABs.
Q: Who responded to this consultation?
A: The AB reforms and induction assessment consultation received 332 responses. The consultation saw responses from a range of different types of organisations, including:
Local authorities (LAs)
Teaching school hubs (TSHs)
National appropriate bodies
British Schools Overseas (BSOs)
Lead Providers of DfE-funded ECF-based training programmes Individuals (including trust leaders, head teachers, induction tutors, mentors and ECTs)
Q: When will this reform come into force?
A: Following the publication of the consultation, the Department will look to introduce updates to regulations to bring into effect the two-stage transition for local authorities, reducing, then ending their AB role by September 2024. LAs will not be able to claim new ECTs after 31 Aug 2023, but will be able to offer AB services until 31 Aug 2024, so that for most ECTs, schools and ABs will have the option not to transfer them to a new AB during their induction.
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 DfE-funded ECF-based induction programmes, and each TSH is held accountable against key performance indicators through their formal agreements with the Department.
This makes TSHs ideally placed to offer high-quality and consistent AB services. We intend to work closely with the TSHC to build capacity in and encourage consistency across ABs, 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 white paper, ‘Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child’, LAs will step back from their role in directly maintaining schools to instead be at the heart of championing the best interests of children in their area. We are reforming who can operate as an AB in line with the wider changes to the role of local authorities away from education services as outlined in the white paper.
Q: What will happen during the transitional period?
A: In the consultation response published on the 15th of November 2022, ABs were provided with certainty around transition dates needed to plan effectively for the handover of services at local level between LAs and TSHs. LA ABs will not be able to claim new ECTs from September 2023 and will no longer operate as ABs from September 2024.
TSHs will be required to work with LAs to agree transition arrangements for their local areas and work out the detail of how to support the schools and ECTs involved. TSHs will be asked to provide DfE with their outline transition plans in early 2023.
Q: When will further guidance be published?
A: DfE will update statutory guidance on induction and advice for ABs and schools in spring 2023. It will include the points set out within the consultation response around expectations around entitlement checking, escalation of concerns and proportionate approaches to assessment.
DfE will also continue to provide further interim updates and guidance to all ABs to support them and the schools and ECTs they work with during the transition period.
Q: How is the Department helping TSHs with capacity?
A: During academic year 2022/23 the TSHC is providing a programme of training and peer support to help TSHs build their capacity and expertise. TSHs will also be provided with templates and asked to create local transition plans in partnership with local authorities and neighbouring TSHs. TSHs will be asked to submit draft transition plans by early 2023 followed by final transition plans in spring once local plans are firmed up.
The Department will work alongside the TSHC to ensure that throughout the transition process there is capacity to meet the demand for AB services.
Q: What if capacity challenges prohibit schools from accessing AB services from their local TSH?
A: A small number of TSHs do not currently offer AB services due to lack of demand in their local areas. From September 2023, (when LAs will not be able to claim new ECTs for AB services), we will ensure that every TSH offers AB services so that every school has access to a TSH AB. Many LAs and TSHs are already working effectively in partnership to ensure a smooth, managed transition of AB services for schools in their areas.
While TSHs are in the process of increasing their capacity during transition, if some are unable to meet demand and offer services to all schools who approach them, they are expected to support schools to find suitable alternative AB provision with a neighbouring AB.
DfE is providing local area ECT data to all ABs to assist their transition and capacity planning and is working with the TSHC to ensure that the TSHs with the most capacity increase demands are supported.
Q: Will there be additional funding for schools to support the level of charges made by TSHs?
A: There will be no additional funding made available for TSHs for the AB role as regulations allow ABs to charge for their services to cover all costs. It is a matter for ABs to determine their fee structure according to their costs and operating models. We are clear that charges for AB services must not exceed the cost of supplying the service and should be agreed in advance with the school. TSHs will be supported by the TSHC in considering their fee structure to reflect the reform and ensure value for money for schools.
Q: Will the quality of AB services be impacted as a result of some TSHs being new to the AB role?
A: Many TSHs and their staff already have significant experience in managing ABs services from their previous role as teaching school ABs. As part of the training and development programme for TSHs, the TSHC has organised for peer support groups that will draw upon this experience to provide support for the less experienced TSHs.
Q: In the transition year 2023/24 are you expecting schools to work with 2 ABs to avoid moving ECTs mid-year?
A: While we know the preference of many respondents was to give schools and ECTs the option to remain with one AB through the course of their induction, schools currently accessing AB services from LAs should discuss the options available to them locally, including the availability of services during 2023/24 and work out whether their preference is to keep ECTs starting induction in 2022/23 with their current LA AB until they complete induction in 2024, or choose to move them in order to work only with one AB at a time.
Q: What if an ECT starts induction after September 2022 or is part time or has an extension – will the LA be able to complete their induction?
A: No, any ECTs registered with an LA AB who have not yet completed induction by 31 August 2024 will be required to transfer to another AB. It is not feasible to ask LAs to continue to run services for very small numbers of ECTs after that point, and it is necessary to agree a clear cut off point by when transition must take place in order for all schools and ABs to plan ahead with certainty.
As part of the responses to the AB reform consultation, there were some misconceptions about ABs, TSHs and induction which were reported as challenges and barriers. We have provided the information below to provide clarity on some of these points.
Q: Who is responsible for providing the AB with paperwork for assessments and progress reviews?
A: While the ECT should receive a copy for their records, the school is responsible for sending a copy of any relevant paperwork relating to assessments and progress reviews to the AB. Providing copies of progress reviews and formal assessments to the AB is not the responsibility of the ECT.
Q: What should mentors do if they have concerns about their entitlement to support ECTs?
A: If a mentor has concerns about their time off timetable, or entitlements set out in the statutory guidance, they should speak to their school leaders. The appropriate body should also be notified if a mentor does not have sufficient time to carry out their role effectively both to undertake mentor training (for those on funded training programmes); and plan and hold mentor sessions with their ECT(s).
Q: Why are the roles of the mentor and induction tutor two separate roles?
A: Since the ECF reforms came into effect on 1 September 2021, the mentor and induction tutor are two discrete roles with differing responsibilities. It is the role of the induction tutor to carry out regular progress reviews and undertake formal assessment meetings with the ECT and not the role of the mentor. The induction tutor will need to be able to make rigorous and fair judgements about the ECT’s progress in relation to the Teachers’ Standards.
In order to not conflate the support offer of mentoring with assessment against the Teachers’ Standards, it is expected that these roles should be held by two separate individuals. In exceptional circumstances where one individual is fulfilling both roles, the headteacher should ensure that the induction tutor and ECT understands that they are fulfilling two discrete roles and that adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure that the mentoring support offered to the ECT is not conflated with assessment against the Teachers’ Standards.
Q: Which schools and establishments can access AB services from a TSH?
A: The Department is clear our default expectation is that TSH ABs should meet local demand for AB services in their area and accept all ECTs when approached regardless of the induction routes the ECTs are on or the type of school they are from. TSH ABs should be prepared to offer services to all schools who are eligible to offer statutory induction, and this includes fee-paying independent schools.
If a TSH, during the transition period, is unable to take on any new ECTs because of capacity challenges, then they should support the school who approached them to find an alternative provision with a neighbouring TSH as a temporary capacity backstop.
Q: Do schools have to be signed up to a provider-led ECF-based training programme to receive AB services from a TSH?
A: No. Since all ECTs must be registered with an AB before induction can commence, it is vital they can access AB services regardless of whether they access the DfE-funded programme or another route. The Department is clear our default expectation is that TSH ABs should meet local demand for AB services in their area and accept all ECTs when approached regardless of the induction routes the ECTs are on or the type of school they are from. TSH ABs should be prepared to offer services regardless of the type of ECF-based training a school chooses to deliver.
Q: How do schools set up their Early Career Framework training programme with the DfE’s digital service?
A: To sign up to a provider-led programme for ECF-based training in their school, or sign up to access accredited materials, nominated induction tutors must set up their programme through DfE’s online Manage training for early career teachers service. Induction tutors need to have been nominated or sent sign in details to access this service.
For more information on DfE’s online service and how to get an account, please visit this GOV.UK page: https://manage-training-for-early-career-teachers.education.gov.uk/check-account.
Q: Do schools have to use the same TSH as their provider-led ECF-based training delivery partner and to provide their AB services?
A: No. Although we think many schools will choose to do this for efficiency, it is not a requirement for schools to use the same organisation for both services. The roles of training provider and AB are separate, and schools can receive these services from different organisations if they wish to. For example, if a school is satisfied with their current training provider, they can still access AB services from a different TSH AB or vice versa.
As part of this reform, schools will be encouraged to access AB services from the TSH that makes the most sense for their circumstances. For most schools we would expect this to be their local TSH or their delivery partner for ECF-based induction programme. Larger trusts might make this choice based on the AB closest to the majority of their schools. Where a school’s local TSH has a conflict of interest in delivering AB services to a specific school or ECT1, schools will have flexibility to make alternative arrangements with another TSH.
Q: If an organisation ceases to be an AB, what is their responsibility regarding the data they hold?
A: As part of their duties in providing AB services, organisations agree to hold ECT data for a minimum of six years in line with GDPR requirements. It remains the responsibility of the AB that provided these services to keep these records of the ECTs that they offered services to regardless of whether the organisation continues to function as an AB.
Archive - 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.