The National Professional Learning Entitlement is a Ministerial commitment to professional learning for all practitioners, but importantly it has come about through co-construction between those closest to, and involved in professional learning.
Two of those co-constructors, Dan Davies, Professional Learning Lead Partner from the Education Achievement Service (EAS) and Clara Seery, Managing Director of Central South Consortium (CSC), explain their role in developing the Entitlement, why they feel it’s important, and what they think it can achieve.
What was CSC’s contribution to co-construction?
We facilitated stakeholder groups with Welsh Government to ensure that the voices of schools in our region were heard and used to shape the Entitlement. We were keen to ensure that the entitlement would support leaders, teachers, TAs and consortia to improve outcomes for all learners. CSC, as all regions, was able to consider carefully roles and responsibilities of the middle tier.
Why is it significant for school leaders?
The PLE gives leaders the mandate to realise what we know about the importance of professional learning. It supports professional conversations around what professional learning could look like and how it might be best to engage. It promotes a culture of continuing professional learning for all in line with developing our schools as learning organisations. It also ensures that leaders themselves are considering their entitlement along with those who they support to access professional learning.
How will it affect the approach of regions and partnerships?
We will continue to speak to school leaders and practitioners to provide a broad and balanced professional learning offer that offers bespoke packages of support to enable schools to engage with what they need. We will make sure that all of our staff are aware of the PLE and promote this way of working in schools with leaders and staff at all levels.
How will it make a real difference?
The power of any policy change is in the implementation. We all have a part to play in this. If we want a system where transformational professional learning is the norm, the entitlement, and the expectations that sit with this, will support the system to realise the aspirations of the reform
What was your role in helping to develop the PLE?
As a region we worked collaboratively to co construct the professional learning entitlement with Welsh Government. We were part of the initial thinking behind the entitlement and offered feedback on early drafts. We have also been part of sharing the thinking with schools in our region and beyond. I think it’s a key driver in realising the ambitions set out in Curriculum for Wales.
Why is it significant for regional partnerships?
The document is significant because it sets clear expectations for individuals, schools, and regions. It highlights the importance of professional learning for all within our system and supports our regional offer. It challenges us to change some of our thinking around professional learning, rather than it be something that is done to us, we have a responsibility to lead our own professional learning. This I believe will have a positive impact on practitioners wellbeing and sense of fulfilment within their work.
What does it mean for practitioners, including teaching assistants?
This is without doubt a positive for all within the education system. It sets out clearly what professionals are entitled to and what this looks like when professional learning is highly effective. It also challenges to actively pursue professional learning opportunities, we are agents of our own learning. I particularly like the word entitlement or hawl as it gives gravitas to the importance of professional learning.
What do you hope it will achieve?
I remember a few years ago a colleague said “there can be no curriculum development without people development”. This resonated with me then and resonates with me today. If we are to develop an education system that is of national pride than we must develop our education workforce. The entitlement puts professional learning up the agenda and will in no doubt support the realisation of curriculum for Wales which will improve outcomes for our learners.
See the national programme of professional learning from our regional partnerships here.