Research on professional learning

As an organisation, we are committed to providing an outstanding education for every learner in NSW, to prepare students for life as informed, critical thinkers with a love of learning – ready to contribute to the world as active citizens.

In 2018/2019 the department commissioned a review into professional learning practice in NSW Public Schools which sought to answer the question:

"How does the department develop a professional learning policy which establishes a cycle of continuous professional learning for all school staff and is focused on enhancing the progress and achievement for every student?"

The review surmised that to achieve this ambition, public schools need expert school principals, leaders and teachers who work collaboratively to continuously improve their practice in the classroom. Professional learning is a core process for enabling educators to improve their practice which in turn supports improved student growth and performance.

As part of the review process, a literature review was conducted, designed to articulate what high impact professional learning should look like in schools, based on the most current research and literature on high performing education systems.

The following questions provided a logic for the review:

  • What is the definition of professional learning?

  • What constitutes professional learning in schools?

  • What defines a high impact professional learning culture in schools?

  • What models of professional learning have the greatest impact on teaching practice?

  • What models of professional learning have the greatest impact on student outcomes?

A panel of experts provided advice and guidance on the key questions, data sources and the final design of the High Impact Professional Learning (HIPL) model which is now embedded into the department's Professional learning for teachers and school staff procedure. An extensive body of literature and research was reviewed to develop a view of what high impact professional learning looks like in schools. Five themes emerged consistently throughout the literature as highly influential. These were:


  • Teaching and learning
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