A new national focus for professional learning and flexible ways of learning that don’t disrupt the school day are features of a groundbreaking £24m package to help teachers deliver Wales’ new curriculum.
The National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL), announced by the Education Secretary, will see £9 million in this financial year, increasing to £15 million next financial year. It is the single biggest investment in support for teachers in Wales since devolution.
The funding will give schools the time and resources they need to plan ahead for the new curriculum and ensure that changes are made in a way that will prioritise the wellbeing of teachers and minimise disruption to pupils’ learning. The funding will also help ensure that there is cover for staff to be released for professional learning.
Under the NAPL, Professional Learning will be an entitlement for all practitioners in schools, not just teachers.
Schools will also be encouraged to create, share and exploit learning opportunities with other schools and organisations as they work together in clusters.
One of the most striking features of the NAPL will be an entirely new approach to how teachers learn. A much more accessible blend of learning will be available through Wales’ regions and universities. This will encompass learning outside the classroom, online learning, classroom learning and coaching.
This will ensure that teachers have much greater flexibility about how and when they learn.
Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said:
“This major investment shows how highly we value teachers’ professional learning. It is an investment in excellence and we are aiming for nothing less than a wholesale reform of how teachers learn; a process that starts from the moment they begin initial teacher education and goes right the way through their career.
“This is a time of great change in our education system and it will be impossible to deliver our new curriculum without a high-quality education workforce. That is why we are making it easier for teachers to learn and explore the curriculum, giving them the time they need and not compromising their day to day work or pupils’ learning.
“We are also providing schools with the option of working together to help them make the changes ahead of the new curriculum. This means that staff can be released to be involved in collaborative professional learning and planning, drawing from the very best evidence-based research.”