We want all practitioners to have access to quality professional learning to enable them to deliver high standards and aspirations for all. The National Professional Learning Entitlement (the Entitlement) will play a key role in our journey to achieving this.

The aim of the Entitlement is to promote the support practitioners, system leaders and advisors are entitled to. The Entitlement sets out how the continued development of practitioners will support the schools or settings in which they work and their learners to realise the four purposes of Curriculum for Wales, supporting learners with additional learning needs and embedding equity, well-being and the Welsh language across the whole-school community.

The Entitlement builds on and takes forward key strands of the National approach to professional learning (NAPL) and marks the beginning of the next phase in our system-wide professional learning journey. We want to further develop reflective, enquiring and collaborative education professionals and a culture of mutual responsibility in relation to professional learning. We also want an equity of access to quality professional learning for all education professionals to deliver high standards and aspirations for all. This is in line with the 8 contributory factors noted in the ‘Our vision for successful schools under the Curriculum for Wales’ section of ‘School improvement guidance: framework for evaluation, improvement and accountability’. These factors describe the key attributes that schools that are successfully realising the curriculum will possess.

All practitioners should be driven by the overarching set of values and dispositions included in the professional standards for teaching, leadership and assisting teaching (the professional standards). These values and dispositions as well as the 5 professional standards themselves are central to how we want all our practitioners to develop. The use of the professional standards to reflect on individual practice should inform performance management and school improvement arrangements and lead to the development of an individual professional learning journey for every practitioner.

What we mean by professional learning

Professional learning is defined as career-long developmental opportunities undertaken by the education profession which improve:

  • individual practice
  • a school or setting’s collective effectiveness
  • the wider education system

Our vision for professional learning

Professional learning should:

  • benefit and meet the needs of learners
  • support the development of the workforce within the context of schools as learning organisations
  • be a continuous and coherent experience over time
  • be collaborative
  • be evaluative in nature and involve reflection and enquiry into pedagogy
  • be enabled by leadership in learning organisations with the support of local, regional, national and international learning communities

Quality of professional learning

In line with the principles of the NAPL, there are 3 levels of recognising professional learning; accredited, endorsed and recognised. These are defined as follows:


‘Accredited’ means that the professional learning leads to national and internationally recognised qualifications, such as the National MA (Masters) in Education (Wales).


‘Endorsed’ means that a third party has undertaken quality assurance of the professional learning, as is the case with professional learning for leaders endorsed by the National Academy for Educational Leadership (NAEL).


‘Recognised’ means that the professional learning will be recognised within the education profession across Wales. A number of the national professional learning programmes are already recognised across Wales for example the national Curriculum for Wales professional learning programme and the teaching assistants learning pathway.

We will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that all national professional learning is recognised.

The Entitlement is divided into 3 profession-specific sections and each should be used by the relevant professional to consider and explore their own personal needs and how they can develop themselves and the organisation in which they work. The section for each profession below is made up of a series of interlinked entitlements and expectations. Following each entitlement is the associated expectation.

  1. Teachers and teaching assistants (pdf)
  2. Leaders (pdf)
  3. System leaders or advisors who work in middle-tier organisations to support schools or settings (pdf)

All education professionals are entitled to:

  • an individual professional learning journey
  • well-designed professional learning that includes a blend of approaches and opportunities for reflection, enquiry and collaboration for learning
  • work in a school or setting, or organisation that sees itself as a learning organisation and uses professional standards in all aspects of professional development

Each entitlement is linked to an expectation that practitioners should:

  • actively pursue and reflect on their individual professional learning journey
  • actively engage in professional learning and make positive use of time allocated for it, including INSET time
  • regularly consider their role in supporting the school or setting as a learning organisation, their practice in terms of the professional standards and instigating improvement by seeking appropriate professional learning

Using the Entitlement

With support from their school or setting, practitioners should consider the professional learning opportunities available and plan their individual professional learning journey to best meet their needs, the needs of their school or setting and the needs of their learners.

The full range of professional learning opportunities is available in the Professional learning for education practitioners section.

The ‘effective practice’ descriptors ensure the developmental needs of individuals in their current roles are being met. They are designed to be realistic and achievable. It is expected that most education practitioners and leaders will already be accessing the entitlements described in the ‘effective practice’ descriptors through local, regional and national provision.

All schools, settings, and individuals should strive to realise the ‘sustained highly-effective practice’ descriptors over time. Leaders should enhance and continually develop the culture of professional learning to enable individuals to be part of a sustained highly-effective learning organisation focussed on ensuring that all learners realise their potential. Innovation and challenge should be encouraged, and the creation of this learning and supportive culture is essential.

All stakeholders involved in supporting education practitioners and leaders should be aware of the Entitlement and actively use it to support professional learning in schools and settings.

Headteachers and governing bodies or management boards of pupil referral units (PRUs)

In relation to supporting the professional learning of others, headteachers backed by their governing body or management board, should actively develop their school or setting as a learning organisation in which they:

  • initiate and encourage continuous, open discussions with staff on professional learning and ensure that the entitlement or expectation indicators are being met or being worked towards
  • create a climate where professional learning for all is valued and planned for to benefit and meet the needs of all learners
  • make use of their education consortia’s approach to ensuring and capturing the impact of professional learning at school or setting level
  • support leaders and education practitioners to create time and space for their professional learning
  • consider the most effective blend of approaches in delivering or accessing professional learning experiences
  • make effective use of the professional learning grant and other funding to enable education practitioners to engage with professional learning

Education system leaders or advisors, including education consortia, local authorities and diocesan authorities

In relation to supporting the professional learning of others, education system leaders or advisors should:

  • support schools or settings to deliver the Entitlement
  • initiate and encourage continuous, open discussions with schools or settings on professional learning and the entitlement or expectation descriptors being met or being worked towards
  • support leaders to create time and space for their own and others’ professional learning
  • support schools or settings to develop a culture that promotes and supports professional learning in accordance with the relevant professional standards and the principles of the schools as learning organisations model
  • draw on a range of relevant information to support leaders to plan their professional learning, taking account of future skills required and the future needs of the school or setting
  • ensure they are operating as professional learners themselves, modelling making use of relevant professional standards and engaging in their own professional learning journeys
  • monitor how schools or settings are progressing in terms of implementing the Entitlement as part of their school development plan.