Newsletter: One Cumbria Update 13

By 27 September 2021November 16th, 2021No Comments

Good morning everyone,

I hope this finds you all well after what has been a challenging beginning to the school year for all. In my new role I’ve been visiting schools and one thing stands out as a common thread: you are all doing amazing things for the children in your care in the most difficult of circumstances and one might argue, more difficult again than in the past 18 months.

This briefing note has a lot in it so please make sure you have a good ten minutes (when do you ever?!) to read it carefully. If you’ve only two or three – here are the headlines (I think it was Ron Burgundy who said that?!).

ECF -By now ECTs and their mentors will be well into the first weeks of their ECF programme, and I hope it is going well. The launch of the ECF has not been without its headaches – particularly around technology where access to the online platform Brightspace has been difficult for some. At the recent Teaching School Hub Council meeting, Jonathan reported back that all providers have had issues with their interface to the DfE and their own platforms to varying degrees. There’s a message from Teach First below.

ECTs and ECMs – We’re going to be holding regular surgeries for you and your ECTs and ECMs. Details are below.

NPQs – The deadline for applications (30th September) is fast approaching. We encourage you to sign up because you may end up not having to pay for any of them. You have, therefore, nothing to lose in registering your interest. If there ends up being a charge, you can always withdraw your applications and we’ll let you know as soon as we have an update. More details below.

That’s the five-minute briefing. Now to the main body of information:


By now ECTs and their mentors will be well into the first weeks of their ECF programme, and I hope it is going well. The launch of the ECF has not been without its headaches – particularly around technology where access to the online platform Brightspace has been difficult for some. We have been assured that everything should be in place by 1st October.

The message from Teach First is:

  1. My Teach First – our data tells us that the vast majority of leads, facilitators and programme members that we were notified about through the DfE Portal or the Delivery Partner Tracker by close of play on Friday 17th September are active on MyTeachFirst and from there should be able to navigate to our learning platform Brightspace. They are also now enrolled on the necessary courses.   
  2. Please don’t wait for a reply from the contact centre – if we knew about you on the 17th you should be able to access systems now.  
  3. Search for your account activation email – this email is from MyTeachFirst and may have gone to junk or spam folders so do please double check these.  You access everything you need through MyTeachFirst you do not need a separate login to Brightspace.  
  4. If you cannot see the links you think you need on MyTeachFirst check you are the tab for the right programme at the top.
  5. A very small number of accounts with hyphens and apostrophes can be delayed.  

Moving forward we aim to create all new accounts requested within 48 hours of data being entered into the DfE portal. 

As you might expect we are working through a number of emails to our contact centre so our response rate is slower than usual.  If you have already emailed the contact centre they are working their way through these messages and will get back to you and your colleagues. The most common fix that you can support us with is ensuring the correct details are logged on the DfE portal and that colleagues know to look for an account activation email from My Teach First (rather than Brightspace).  

If you do continue to have problems please do let us know by contacting us here – and if you could provide a screenshot when you do this will significantly speed up our ability to diagnose and fix the problem.

As you can see, Teach First are asking schools to contact them directly; however, if you still do not have access after 1st October, and you have checked that all details have been entered correctly on the DfE portal then please let Tina know and she will collate all affected schools and communicate these to Teach First.

If you do have access then these additional resources to help with the navigation of Brightspace may be useful:

Brightspace video for Mentors
Brightspace video for ECTs

We are aware that there were some ECTs and mentors who could not attend the induction conferences, and we are holding two virtual conferences that will cover the key messages they need to know. We would be very grateful if you could support your staff to attend these if they need to.

The details and links are as follows:

Early Career Teacher Conference
Thursday 30th September 2021 at 9.30am – 12.30pm

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 890 7568 6556
Passcode: jgJ7Az

Early Career Mentor Conference:
Thursday 7th October 1pm – 3.30pm

Join with Google Meet:

The conferences will be recorded and placed on our website.

In addition, Tina and I will be hosting surgeries for ECTs and mentors to answer any questions, or just to talk about your experiences so far. The first of these will be on Thursday 30th September at 4:00 – drop in just to chat, we’d love to hear from you. The link to join is here:


We have received a steady stream of NPQ applications, and training for facilitators is underway. We are looking forward to the first cohorts starting in November. For anyone still unsure about how the new NPQs work and are funded, here are our FAQs from this week:

  1. How do I apply for an NPQ? Go to the One Cumbria website, click on the NPQ tab on the homepage and complete the application form online. The application will be assessed and applicants will be contacted by early October at the latest.
  2. When’s the deadline for the November NPQs? The end of the day on 30th September. The application round for the February cohort opens on 4th October, with a deadline of 14th January 2022.
  3. What do the NPQs currently cost?
    • Specialist NPQs (Leading Teaching, Leading Behaviour and Culture and Leading the Development of Teaching) cost £840
    • NPQSL – £1045
    • NPQH- £1690
    • NPQEL- £3245
  4. Is there scholarship funding? Yes – all schools can have fully funded places on the NPQLTD programme.
    • Any Head in the first two years of headship is also eligible for funding. In addition, schools in the 30th percentile for Pupil Premium, along with PRUs and Special Schools, are eligible for scholarship funding for the entire suite of NPQ programmes. Please ask Alison if your school is eligible for this.
    • There is an Additional Support Offer for Heads who are in the first two years of headship and have just finished or are about to finish the legacy NPQH. This is to allow you to engage with the key aspects of the reformed curriculum for NPQs.
  5. What’s the time commitment? There are two conference days to attend, 8/9 hours of online seminars after school, 24-35 hours of asynchronous online learning and, for the Senior Leadership NPQS, a facilitated school visit. Course durations are 15 months for specialist NPQs, 18 months for leadership NPQs.
  6. How will I be assessed? There are tasks at the end of each module which you will use to apply your learning to your school context before bringing your reflections to the seminars. The final assessment is a response to a case study with an eight day window to complete. Much less onerous and more practical than previously!
  7. Do I need to have QTS to apply for an NPQ? No, you need a TRN (Teacher Reference Number) – the online application form explains how you get a TRN so that you can access an NPQ. Just make sure you don’t leave it too late to apply as places are limited.

If there is anything else you need to know, please contact Alison Wilkinson at One Cumbria.

In other news, please do follow us on Twitter and Instagram where you will find up to date info on all things Teaching School Hubs, and shortly, blogs from some of our ECTs and mentors telling their stories so far. Also, watch this space for breaking news coming shortly about as One Cumbria joins forces with the SLP (Science Learning Partnership) to provide bespoke science CPD for our schools.

As always, we are here to listen and help so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you for reading to the end of this newsletter!

With best wishes,


Judith Schafer
One Cumbria Teaching School Hub