Professional Learning

What is Professional Learning?

Teachers engage in professional learning to stimulate their thinking and professional knowledge and to ensure that their practice is critically informed and current. 

When a wide range of high-quality, sustained professional learning is undertaken, teachers are more likely to inspire pupils and provide high-quality teaching and learning experiences, enabling learners to achieve their best.

It is important that professional learning provides rich opportunities for teachers to develop and enhance their professional knowledge and practice, in order to progress the quality of learning and teaching and school improvement.


Critical self-evaluation is an important part of the professional learning and Professional Review and Development (PRD) process. The Professional Standards offer constructive support for teachers as they consider how they might develop their professional values and dispositions, their knowledge, skills and understanding through ongoing critical self-evaluation and professional learning.

Find out more about self-evaluation

Tools for planning and evaluation

Examples of professional learning

Here are some examples of professional learning:               

  • Experiential, action or enquiry-based learning
  • Professional dialogue with colleagues, other professionals, parents, and learners
  • Focused professional reading and research
  • Leading or engaging in practitioner enquiry/action research
  • Critical analysis of reading, learning and impact on professional practice                
  • Peer support e.g. coaching or mentoring
  • Probationer support       
  • Classroom visits/ peer observations/ shadowing with related professional dialogue
  • Online learning/blogs
  • Co-operative or team teaching
  • Leading or participating in a working party or task group
  • Planning learning which is inter-disciplinary or cross-sector
  • Participation in activities relating to assessment and moderation
  • Secondments, acting posts and placements
  • Masters study and qualifications
  • Accredited courses or activities related to achieving national professional standards for teachers
  • Professional/ Academic conferences
  • Self-evaluation and critical reflection processes
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