As part of the National Approach to Professional Learning, the Professional Learning Journey and to support the development of the new school curriculum, the Welsh Government is working with regional consortia and higher education institution (HEI) partners to develop a national programme of teacher professional enquiry.
This programme is supporting a growing network of schools to develop a range of enquiry skills by leading enquiries in their own setting to explore professional learning requirements for the new curriculum. Following the 20/21 enquiry cycle, these lead enquiry schools will be equipped to support the wider schools network to begin to develop as professional enquiriers in readiness for 2022.
Phase 1 (2018-19): Piloting and Early Development
During year 1 of the enquiry project, professional learning pioneers were supported by the HEIs to begin to develop their skills as professional enquirers by exploring the professional learning implications of the new curriculum. Pioneers worked in national enquiry groups, specialising in one of the six areas of learning and experience. Below are the summary outcome reports for the work undertaken during spring and summer 2018-19.
During the spring and summer terms, pioneers began to work with cluster schools to extend and deepen their professional enquiry skills beyond their own setting. The pioneers led three enquiry cycles during year 1. To support pioneers to become professional enquirers, HEIs have developed their understanding of relevant enquiry methods, data collection and the ethical considerations needed to engage in the enquiry process.
Phase 2 (2019-20): Consolidation and Enrichment
HEI partners, working with regional consortia, are refining the professional enquiry skills of the pioneers through a consolidation/enrichment programme, enabling the professional learning pioneers (PLP) to become lead enquirers, regardless of accreditation. The pioneers will continue their cycles of enquiry focused on the new curriculum and associated pedagogy to identify professional learning requirements to support practitioners to plan and deliver the new curriculum.
Through the second half of the autumn term of 2019, the spring term of 2020 and the first half of the summer term of 2020, the pioneers are continuing to develop as lead enquirers through undertaking enquiries in their own schools (second half of the autumn term, 2019) and in clusters of schools (spring term and first half of the autumn term of 2020).
The enquiries were selected from a national enquiry menu (drawn up jointly between Welsh Government, the Consortia, the Universities and the pioneers) covering the six areas of learning and experience, curriculum making, pedagogy and professional learning.
The length of enquiry cycles will be flexible and agreed between the pioneers, HEIs and consortia. Some enquiries may be completed within a half-term, others may extend beyond this and deepen to include a wider cluster of schools.
Phase 3 (2020-21): Expansion and Further Development
As the lead enquiry schools deepen their understanding of enquiry, additional partner enquiry schools are brought into the project, with an average of four partner schools working on projects led by the lead enquiry school and supported by additional Higher Education Institutions.
Higher Education Partners 2020-21
- Bangor University
- Cardiff Metropolitan University
- Aberystwyth University
- Swansea University
- University of Wales Trinity St David
- University of South Wales
- Wrexham Glyndŵr University
The enquiries have been reorganised into four domains and lead and partner enquiry schools have different expectations in terms of depth of enquiry and outpits, based upon levels of experience within the project.
Following from the flexibility offered to lead enquiry schools in 2019-20 in relation to the format of their final reports, the reporting structure has been reorganised to allow schools to be creative with presentation format and to include additional supporting resources that would enrich the enquiry report.
School enquiry projects
The enquiry themes from 2019-20 and the new themes from 2020-21 have been reorgansied into four domains, with associated sub-domains.
Here is a map of all domains and sub-domains.
School enquiry projects from 2019-20 have been aligned to the relevant domain/sub-domain and can be accessed accordingly.
Full list of school enquiries
Here is a full list of enquiries, organised by domain, sub-domain and school type. Click on the relevant tab for 2019-20 or 2020-21 enquiries.
Please refer to ‘Guide to Undertaking Professional Enquiry’ (Sept 2019) published by Cardiff Metropolitan University. A useful starting point to support practitioners to develop as professional enquirers.
Please refer to ‘A Journey of Enquiry’ (November 2019) published by Bangor University. A brief snapshot of the journey Lead Enquiry Schools (formerly Professional Learning Pioneers) working with Bangor University.
Please refer to the ‘Pupil Experience Toolkit’ (November 2019) published by University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). This resource is designed to help schools plan for capturing learner progress/progression whilst undertaking professional enquiry.
Professional Learning Journey
The approach to professional enquiry forms part of an upcoming National Professional Learning Journey which provides a possible route map for schools to address the professional learning requirements of planning and implementing the new curriculum. The model will be supported by an increasing wealth of supporting resources and links to programmes provided by Regional Consortia partners.