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.
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.
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.
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.
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.