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New education programme aims to tackle teaching crisis

The Eden Project in Cornwall has launched a new three-day weekend programme for Early Career Teachers (ECTs) to help them rediscover their reasons for getting into teaching.

New education programme aims to tackle teaching crisis

ECT Eden Project Weekender

ECT Weekender

The programme responds to the current national crisis in the teaching profession, with 44% of England’s state school teachers planning to leave their roles within the next five years[1]. ECTs are the most at risk, with a quarter choosing to walk away from their teaching roles within the first three years[2].

The ECT Eden Project Weekender programme aims to support ECTs to help them rediscover the reason they became teachers in the first place through reflection, adventure, collaboration and building a network community to support them in their future career path.

Sam Kendall, Eden’s Head of School Learning, leads all of Eden’s work with schools, young people and their teachers.  She said: “Teaching is such a wonderfully fulfilling job, and more than ever we need inspired and inspiring professionals to help prepare young people for our rapidly changing world.

“However, for a number of reasons, the scales are tipping unfavourably and many teachers are choosing not to stay in the profession.

“We’re hoping this new programme will help equip ECTs with the tools, takeaways and support they need to always keep in mind their motivation for starting out in this career and reconnect with the difference they want and can make for young people and their future. We want them to feel valued, to feel important and to be inspired to go on to have long and thriving careers.”

A group of 15 ECTs from 10 primary schools within the Learning in Harmony Trust were the first to take part in the ECT Eden Project Weekender programme.

Zahra Edwards, an ECT from Sheringham Primary School in Newham, London, was one of the attendees at this inaugural event. Zahra said: “The weekend was mind-blowing. It surpassed anything that I could have expected. It’s not just that we took the time to find our ‘why’, it felt like a wellness weekend.

“It has definitely re-inspired me, particularly for someone who works in a school in London, where our playgrounds aren’t big open spaces. Seeing how I can bring the outdoors back into the classroom and find alternative ways to engage my class has been really important to me. 

“I’ve come away feeling calm, like I can take anything on, and like I can reconnect with myself and reconnect with my class.”

Over the three days, the programme encourages attendees to set intentions, learn about Eden’s Mission and reason ‘why’, rediscover their own reasons ‘why’ and take part in nature-based activities around the Eden site. They also hear from eminent guest speakers and take plenty of time for reflecting and crucial downtime.

Alex Bell, school leadership coach and Director at Portland Education , helped conceptualise and facilitate the programme. Alex said: “Teachers, and particularly those starting out in their careers through the statutory Early Careers Framework, spend a great deal of time learning about what they need to teach and how to teach with less emphasis on the ‘why’.

“What you teach will change in time. How you teach will get better over time. But why you teach is a precious flame that needs to intensify, not diminish over time.”

The ECT Eden Project Weekender is available to all schools with Early Careers Teachers and has been designed using the principles of the DfE Early Career Framework (ECF) and Education Endowment Fund’s Effective Professional Development recommendations.

To find out more about the ECT Eden Project Weekender, contact Sam Kendall on