National approach to professional learning

The national approach was launched in 2018, creating a professional learning vision fit for the evolving education system in Wales.

The 8 elements that make up the national approach can be grouped by their context.

School context

National context

Regional context

Consider how these different contexts define the priorities for professional learning:

Funding arrangements to support the national approach are available.

The funding can be used flexibly to allow schools to work together in ways that suit their own circumstances. 

Examples of how the funding can be used include (but are not limited to):

  • releasing and covering staff to be involved in collaborative professional learning and collaborative planning – at a school level, and across clusters and networks
  • incentivising and rewarding staff to investigate the implications of the new curriculum for their own teaching and assessment practice – at individual level, by funded release for critical enquiry
  • creating roles and posts dedicated to the mission, and especially to supporting colleagues, departments and whole schools through critical enquiry, change management and schools as learning organisations (SLO) activities.
  • development of the role of school or cluster level professional learning coach – this is one of the key findings of the research activity by the universities in looking at the national approach to professional learning, and an area in which we would encourage investment.

Listen to a podcast on the national approach to explore some elements in more detail.

A range of research has been undertaken to provide the evidence base for the elements of the national approach and to ensure coherence.

Consider the following research commissioned to inform the development of the national approach.

Interactive tool

Schools can access the Professional Learning Diamond 9 Tool to identify professional learning priorities. The Diamond 9 can be downloaded to share with school staff and/or cluster partners. Schools may wish to repeat the Diamond 9 exercise, to reflect changing professional learning priorities.

To access this you must be logged into Hwb

School-to-school support

Through early engagement with the draft curriculum, pioneer schools have considered immediate professional learning implications.

Reflect on the experiences of professional learning pioneers to consider how professional learning is evolving to help practitioners bring the new curriculum to life.

Wider support

Wider professional learning support will also be available to schools.

Ruth Thackray from the GWE consortium talks about the consortia role.

Dave Stacey from Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education, University of Wales Trinity St. David, considers the role of higher education institutions (HEIs).


Professional learning link:

Professional learning lead:

Louise Muteham

Dominic Broad


Professional learning link:

Professional learning lead:

Deb Woodward


Professional learning link:

Professional learning lead:

Dave Barry


Professional learning link:

Professional learning lead:

Ruth Thackray