Last Updated: Tuesday, December 14, 2021

A national model of professional learning

What is this?

A model designed to support education professionals to grow professionally and seek improvement in their practice.

Who is this for?

​Education professionals in a range of settings, at all levels, who are planning their own learning; and individuals, teams or learning providers who are designing and /or leading professional learning opportunities for others.

How to use this self-evaluation approach to improve practice

The new national model of professional learning identifies the key principles and features of effective learning that will build capacity and promote collaborative practices.

The model is based on best evidence around what makes effective professional learning that has impact on outcomes, not only for the teacher-learner, but for the children and young people they work with.

It outlines three inter-connected areas of practice which education professionals are encouraged to consider in their own professional learning activities.

The model is complemented by a range of practical tools to support education professionals in developing their learning.

The model should be used alongside these tools, as well as self-evaluation activities related to the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) Professional Standards, or other Professional Standards, to map out professional learning.

Explore this approach

Next Steps confirmed that Education Scotland would have a renewed focus on professional learning and leadership development, bringing clarity and coherence to the national landscape. This enhanced focus aims to ensure that education professionals will be supported by a streamlined and coherent professional learning offer.

A scoping exercise undertaken on behalf of the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) - now the Professional Learning and Leadership team within Education Scotland - identified seven propositions around professional learning. Education professionals:

  • have a high level of commitment to their own professional learning and expect to work in strong professional learning partnerships with colleagues
  • place highest priority on being the best they can be for their students and seek professional learning that is focused on practical approaches that can be applied 'in action' in the classroom
  • want more teacher-led professional learning that is differentiated to their needs and embedded in their everyday work
  • seek opportunities to work collaboratively with colleagues, as a norm, including time and space during the school day within healthy working lives
  • believe the system should trust and respect their professionalism, supporting and fostering the development of professional capital and stronger teacher agency
  • seek support and encouragement in engaging in critical reflection and thinking, including accessing professional journals, research and articles
  • value the contribution of formal leaders in school and believe their role needs to be more focused on enabling teacher-led professional learning and collaborative professionalism, along with local and national experts and academics.

These findings, as well as further evidence available at the links below, have been used to inform the new model.