Temporary Cohorts for ECTs and Mentors


The ECF team has been working on improving the service for early career teachers (ECTs) and mentors, specifically registering them in the correct cohort for funded training.


Determining ECT and Mentor cohorts is often delayed due to reasons such as appropriate body’s (ABs) not submitting induction start dates and school induction tutors (SITs) registering mentors before pairing them with ECTs. As a result, we need to assign temporary cohorts for ECTs and mentors until their permanent cohorts can be determined, so that they are able to access funded training.


While the design phase of this project was relatively straightforward, involving the redesign of the user journey based on logical flow and the addition of some new screens, the challenge for the UCD team was to unravel and understand the complexities surrounding the contracts, dates, and definitions of ‘cohort’ that are numerous in this service.


To provide accurate temporary cohorts for ECTs, we created a new section called ‘Determine temporary cohort’. The section includes screens that prompt for induction start dates, and assigns temporary cohorts based on user selection and date logic. ECTs registering between 1 Sep 2023 and 31 May 2024 will be assigned to the 2023 cohort, and those registering between 1 Apr and 31 Aug 2023 will be temporarily assigned to 2022 or 2023 cohorts based on their induction start date. ECTs with prior induction start dates will have their cohort adjusted. Users trying to register before 1 June will be instructed to return later, as 2023 starter registrations begin on 1 June.

Outcome and Learnings

This project underscored the significance of allowing sufficient time for designers to research the complexities associated with the use and meaning of terms such as ‘cohort’ in the service.

We also discovered that using visual diagrams can enhance communication and understanding among team members, instead of relying solely on words. The use of visual aids, such as diagrams, was crucial in delivering a precise solution for this design and development work. This led to creating an editable service map in Figma that served as a single source of truth for the wider team.

UCD team

  • Dale Moore - Content Designer
  • Darren Courtney - Interaction Designer
  • Elena Bracey - User Researcher
  • Costa Christou - User Researcher
  • Zoe Popperwell - User Researcher