Raising Standards Together

Information pack

Professional standards

Information on professional standards that apply to practitioners in Wales.


Professional standards are intended to:

  • set clear expectations about effective practice during a practitioner’s career including, where applicable, entry to the profession
  • enable practitioners to reflect on their practice, individually and collectively, against nationally agreed standards of effective practice and affirm and celebrate their successes
  • support practitioners to identify areas for further professional development
  • form a backdrop to the performance management process.

New professional standards

Work is underway to introduce new professional standards and is one of a range of commitments designed to support practitioners to develop their practice and support their professional growth.

The review seeks to establish a new framework of standards for all school and further education and work based learning practitioners who are, or will be, registered with the Education Workforce Council (external link).

The new standards will support practitioners to meet challenges now and in the future, and facilitate career-long professional development.

The review is focusing on the professional standards for the following groups of education practitioners:
  • school teachers and headteachers
  • school learning support staff
  • FE and Work Based Learning practitioners
  • FE learning support staff
  • Standards for those undertaking the further education Post Graduate Certificate in Education
The development of each group of standards is working to a different timescale but a common feature is the close involvement of members of the profession and relevant stakeholders in the design and trialing of new standards. The aim is to develop standards with the profession for the profession.

Professional standards for teaching and leadership

Following an extensive period of engagement and trialling with practitioners and stakeholders, facilitated by Professor Mick Waters, proposals for new teaching and leadership standards (schools) were subject to a public consultation which ran from 2 March to 4 May 2017. The Welsh Government summary of responses confirms the final arrangement of the descriptors and can be found here. The government response also committed to further clarify the relationship between the elements of the framework and we have been working with school practitioners and other stakeholders to achieve that.

Pedagogy, Collaboration, Innovation, Professional Learning and Leadership remain central to the model and are now defined as the five professional standards for teaching and leadership. The values and dispositions continue to provide an overarching context for the standards. The descriptors allow each standard to be explored in greater depth.

NQTs commencing induction on or after 1 September 2017 will be required to work to the new standards. NQTs who commenced their induction before this date will complete their induction using the same standards they started with. All other serving teachers and leaders will move to the new standards by September 2018 to allow a year for a managed transition.

How practitioners use the standards will depend on where they are in their career. For the award of Qualified Teacher Status and successful completion of induction it will be necessary to demonstrate all the relevant descriptors. Beyond induction, teachers and formal leaders will be expected to use the standards to inform their reflection and planning of professional learning and this will be a matter for individuals’ professional judgement. Practitioners may also use the descriptors to stimulate further exploration and development in ways that best meet their needs.

The new standards will be available via this page by September 2017 and via the professional learning passport (PLP) on the Education Workforce Council (EWC) website from 1 September 2017. In the meantime, an updated version of the consultation slide pack is available here.

Professional standards for assisting teaching

Work is continuing to develop new standards for school learning support staff. This page will be updated as work progresses.

Professional standards for further education teachers and work-based learning practitioners

An engagement process for the sector to consider the draft new FE and WBL standards which were developed by a working group of practitioners is now open for comment until the 20 July with the aim that they will be available for use by the sector from October 2017. Work on developing standards for the PGCE FE teachers and FE learning support staff will be progressed in the near future.

Existing professional standards

The standards that currently apply in Wales in the school and FE sectors are summarised below.

The Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA) Standards set out the requirements for the awarding of HLTA status. There are currently no standards in place for other learning support staff who work in a classroom.

Trainee teachers are required to meet the Qualified Teacher Status standards. Experienced and newly qualified teachers will use the Practising Teacher Standards  as their national descriptions of practice.

Headteachers are required to meet the Leadership Standards in full (together with the Practising Teacher Standards if they continue to have significant teaching responsibilities).

Developing leaders - teachers and support staff with existing leadership responsibilities and/or those who wish to further develop their leadership skills may use the Leadership Standards as a tool to support their leadership development.

Download Documents

Qualified Teacher Status standards in Wales (File size: 602KB) 

Professional standards for education practitioners in Wales (File size: 264KB)

Professional Standards for Teachers, Tutors and Trainers in the Lifelong Learning Sector in Wales 

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