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Well-led professional learning is...

Designed to enable innovative approaches to learning and pedagogy

At all points in the school system areas of specialist expertise are required. This may be in working in Early Years settings, educating those with additional learning needs, providing subject knowledge and skills for older learners or leading and managing teams at all levels. Enabling professional learning support focused on these areas is an essential part of leaders’ responsibilities.

Opportunities to support the development of pedagogical knowledge, curriculum design, subject knowledge and approaches to assessment are sought from within and outside the school.

Such professional learning is planned and unplanned, formal and informal (Evans, 2019). It is continuing and career-long (GTC Scotland, 2012). From a well-being perspective, it is important that leaders create space for themselves and colleagues to consolidate what has been learned rather than constantly seek evidence of change (Jones, 2020). This is difficult at times when there is radical change occurring in the system when the value of ‘what went on before’ will be questioned.

However, leaders move on from continuing consolidation at times of rapid change and identify opportunities for new approaches to teaching and learning. This requires transformative rather than transmissive forms of professional learning (Kennedy, 2005; 2014) and may be disruptive to existing processes. Leaders are aware of these distinctions and consider how compatible the change is with the core values of the school and the likely impact of change arising from transformative professional learning.

In the context of on-going curriculum reform in Wales, practitioners expand their pedagogical and assessment skills (Harris, Jones and Crick, 2020; OECD 2018) and school leaders support this with a particular focus on exploring how professional learning might be used to link pedagogy and curriculum development as a means of building coherence.

Jones, K. (2022)

Insight Series: Leading Professional Learning (2022)

Evans, L (2019)

Implicit and informal professional development: what it ‘looks like’, how it occurs, and why we need to research it, Professional Development in Education, 45:1, 3-16

GTC Scotland (2012)

The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning: supporting the development of teacher professional learning

Harris, A. et al (2020)

“Curriculum leadership: a critical contributor to school and system improvement.” School Leadership & Management 40:1-4

Jones, K (2020)

Multi-dimensional professional learning: a leadership perspective European Educational Research Association

Kennedy, A. (2005)

Models of Continuing Professional Development: a framework for analysis, Journal of In-Service Education, 31:2, 235-250

Kennedy, A. (2014)

Understanding continuing professional development: the need for theory to impact on policy and practice, Professional Development in Education, 40:5, 688-697

OECD (2018)

Developing Schools as Learning Organisations in Wales

Make the Connection

Schools as Learning Organisations

Developing and supporting continuous learning opportunities for all staff

Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership

Professional Learning (formal leadership roles) & Innovation (formal leadership roles)

Professional Learning Journey

Establish a culture of change and innovation

Professional Learning Journey

Curriculum implementation and further developments

Be Inspired

We asked leaders from schools across Wales to tell us how they are Leading Professional Learning, using each of the eight hallmarks of well-led professional learning as a reference point. The resulting Case Studies offer an insight into a diverse range of effective approaches to Leading Professional Learning that we hope will bring the hallmarks to life and inspire fresh, strategic thinking for other leaders in Wales. We want you to Be Inspired.

Read the case studies


Join In

If your school or cluster has an example of practice that could be included in the Leading Professional Learning resource – under one (or more) of the eight ‘hallmarks’ of well-led professional learning, we want to hear from you.

Contact us