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The initial teacher training core content framework: An introduction

Although the fine detail of the framework’s content is highly significant to initial teacher training (ITT) providers - such as those offering school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programmes; higher education institutes (HEI) led programmes; or School Direct programmes accredited by a SCITT or HEI - it’s useful for headteachers and leaders to be aware of it. Early career teachers (Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT)) schools appoint to teaching posts from September 2021 will be the have accessed training that aligns to the framework.

Programmes that aligned to the initial teacher training core content framework were first delivered from September 2020. The framework was introduced in response to the Carter review. One of the report’s recommendations was:

We believe ITT course content should have a relentless focus on pupil outcomes (including pupil progress, achievement and well-being) and should be delivered purposefully towards this overarching goal. 

The ITT core content framework aligns with the Early Career Framework (ECF) to establish an entitlement to a 3 or more-year structured package of support for all new teachers at the start of their careers (one year via the ITT core content framework and a further two years via the ECF). The ECF was rolled out early in some regions, including Bradford, from September 2020 and is available nationally from September 2021.

The framework

An Expert Group developed the framework which has been independently assessed and endorsed by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

The ITT Core Content Framework – as with the ECF – has been designed to support trainee development in 5 core areas – behaviour management, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and professional behaviours. In order to ensure congruence with the 8 Teachers’ Standards, the ITT Core Content Framework is presented in 8 sections.

The ITT Core Content Framework sets out two types of content – mirroring the ECF. Within each area, key evidence statements (‘Learn that...’) have been drawn from current high-quality evidence from the UK and overseas. These ‘Learn that...’ statements are deliberately the same as the ‘Learn that...’ statements in the ECF because the full entitlement – across both initial teacher training and early career development – for new entrants to the profession is underpinned by the evidence of what makes great teaching. A full bibliography is provided with suggested reading, which can be shared with trainee teachers to support their critical engagement with research.

In addition, the ITT Core Content Framework details practice statements (‘Learn how to...’) based on the practice statements in the ECF, but altered so they are appropriate for initial teacher training. These ‘Learn how to...’ statements have been sorted into two categories. These categories define an entitlement to practise key skills as well as an opportunity to work with and learn from expert colleagues as they apply their knowledge and understanding of the evidence in the classroom. 

You can see from this example - representing part of the Adaptive Teaching section of the framework - the use of ‘learn that…’ and ‘learn how to…’ statements and links to the Teaching Standard relevant to this element of the framework.

The tables, like the one exemplified above, account for 23 pages of the framework. They are well worth exploring if you feel that you would benefit from a more in-depth awareness of the training framework.

The framework was complemented by the trainee teacher behavioural toolkit. A summary is available here. It states:

Behaviour must be taught. The habits and skills that comprise successful class behaviour should be taught to all pupils. It is entirely possible to do for most pupils.


Each provider will use the statutory framework to guide their own programme design and delivery to suit their and their partner schools’ context. Each will also consider ways to innovate, as encouraged by the recently introduced Ofsted initial teacher education inspection framework and handbook.

NQT induction

From September 2021, NQT induction becomes a two-year period, aligning with the ECF. Bradford Teaching School Hub will provide an Appropriate Body service from September 2021.