This paper outlines research that set out to explore the acknowledged challenge of success and retention in the teaching profession in England. Through listening to early career teachers talk about what they deemed significant, the authors sought to interrogate the influences on success and retention.
The research framework draws from an interpretivist paradigm and seeks to ascertain from a small, focused sample of sixteen individuals, the significant factors that they perceived to influence their experiences in the Primary sector. The research made use of narrative stories (Cousin, 2009) which enabled the researchers to go beyond what was happening, to address why it was happening and to ascertain how the individuals concerned made sense of their experiences.
Within the data sample, eight key factors emerged as significant to the success and retention of the Early Career Teacher (ECT). The authors argue that the data found is significant, as current practice in England focuses on support through the newly developed Early Career Framework (ECF) (DfE 2019). This framework offers support through workload reduction, mentor support and a training package. Whilst this approach may go some way to enhance experiences for our new teachers the data suggests that much wider considerations are relevant. The findings of this research carry implications at all levels: schools, training routes and national policy.