Teacher Tutor Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains a list of FAQs.

1. What is the context for the Early Career Teacher Programme?

The current Early Career Teacher programme has been in place since 1996 when it was outlined in the paper, ‘Arrangements for Initial Teacher Education in Northern Ireland from 1 September 1996.’ The paper set out 5 areas of competence which underpinned the 3 stages of teacher education from the start of the 1996/97 academic year. The Induction stage was introduced at the start of the 1997/98 academic year and the arrangements for Early Professional Development (EPD) commenced at the start of the 1998/99 academic year.

In 2007, the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) revised the teacher competences and published them in ‘Teaching: the Reflective Profession’. These competences now underpin the Early Career Teacher Programme and the Continuing Teacher Education Programme in Northern Ireland.

Learning Leaders: A strategy for teacher professional learning was published by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland in 2016 setting out a strategy where every teacher is a learning leader from beginning teacher throughout their career.

2. What are the three stages of Teacher Education?

The 3 main stages of Teacher Education are:

  • Initial Teacher Education
  • Induction - the first year of teaching
  • Early Professional Development
    • EPD Year 1 (normally the second year of teaching)
    • EPD Year 2 (normally the third year of teaching)

3. Why are the three stages of Teacher Education integrated?

The integrated approach to Teacher Education aims to provide Early Career Teachers with a more holistic experience in order that they may continue to develop as critical reflective practitioners, improve their teaching and the quality of pupil learning, and may see their ongoing professional development as part of a lifelong learning process. The integrated approach also enhances the collaborative partnership between the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the Education Authority and the schools. The GTCNI competences which underpin all three stages are framed to encourage teachers to focus appropriately on aspects of their practice through the key stages of their career.

4. What does the 'Partnership Approach' mean?

A professional partnership exists between the schools, the ECT team of the Education Authority, the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and, where appropriate, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), the Controlled Schools Support Council (CSSC), the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG). All partners contribute in a flexible and collaborative way to the provision of an integrated programme of teacher education with the aim of providing professional support to Early Career Teachers. While all partners are involved at each of the 3 stages

  • the HEIs are the lead body at the Initial Teacher Education stage
  • the ECT team of the Education Authority is the lead body at the Induction stage
  • the schools are the lead body at the EPD stage.

5. What is the 'Teacher Competence Model'?

The teacher competence model, described in the GTCNI’s publication, ‘Teaching: The Reflective Profession’, underpins all 3 stages of teacher education and career-long professional development (CLPD). This document sets out the competences, which student teachers and qualified teachers develop throughout their careers, under 5 areas of professional practice:

  1. Professional Values & Practices
  2. Professional Knowledge and Understanding
  3. Professional Skills and Application in Planning & Leading
  4. Professional Skills and Application in Teaching & Learning
  5. Professional Skills and Application in Assessment

6. What is a Career-Entry Profile and who has access to it?

A Career Entry Profile (CEP), or GB equivalent, is a professional document profiling the strengths and developmental needs of the graduating teacher and involves:

  • identifying needs
  • selecting goals
  • setting targets which will help to meet goals
  • agreeing action
  • reviewing action
  • recording progress and achievement.

The CEP, or equivalent, serves to encourage Early Career Teachers to develop a reflective approach to their professional development as well as act as a bridging document from Initial Teacher Training to Induction. The process of reflective professional learning is the beginning of Career Long Professional Development (CLPD). The Principal, and/or the Teacher Tutor, will require access to the CEP in order to guide the Early Career Teacher. The CEP does not form part of the appointment process.

7. What happens if a teacher does not have a Career- Entry profile?

If a teacher does not have a CEP, the teacher should source the equivalent documentation profiling the strengths and developmental needs of the graduating teacher. A professional discussion with the teacher tutor in the school the ECT is working in, should be arranged, to be used as a basis for discussion and implementation of the first action plan and aligning thinking for the induction portfolio.

8. What support is available to Teacher Tutors?

Professional development is also available to new Teacher Tutors. Online resources are available from the Education Authority’s website. Teacher Tutors should register on the EA website each academic year when they are supporting Early Career Teachers.

9. What is the responsibility of the Teacher Tutor?

The role of the Teacher Tutor is to guide and support the Early Career Teacher through successful completion of the Induction and EPD stages and to coordinate the Early Career Teacher programme within school. The Teacher Tutor role is set out in the Teacher Education Partnership Handbook on the Department of Education’s website and also further explained, with supporting resources, in the Education Authority’s ‘Teacher Tutor Resource Book’ which is available from the Education Authority’s website.

Teacher Tutors should register on the EA website each academic year when they are supporting Early Career Teachers.

10. Are there circumstances in which a teacher may not successfully complete the induction and EPD stages?

If the school deems that sufficient progress is not being made, the areas of concern will be highlighted in the ongoing Principal and Teacher Tutor reports. The school will recommend a further period of Induction with support. If no improvement is evident, the Early Career Teacher (as for any teacher) should be advised in writing by the Principal that the procedure for ‘Promoting Effective Teaching’ (DE TNC Circular 2013-14) is being initiated by the school governors.

Glossary of Terms
Abbreviation Name


Education Authority in Northern Ireland


Early Career Teacher, a teacher who has completed initial teacher education and has not completed induction or EPD


Early professional development. A 2 year programme after induction which is part of the continuous integrated process of teacher education in Northern Ireland


General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland, registrar for teachers


one year programme of professional development after initial teacher education (in NI) [in Great Britain called NQT]


Northern Ireland Supply Teachers Register


Performance review and staff development - the professional development and performance of teachers employed in their schools reviewed annually


Teaching and professional learning

Last updated: 20/09/2022