Raising Standards Together

Information pack

Professional standards

Information on professional standards that apply to practitioners in Wales.


The professional standards are statements of practitioners’:

  • professional values and attributes
  • knowledge and understanding
  • skills.

The professional standards:

  • set clear expectations about effective practice at each stage of a practitioner’s career
  • give practitioners the opportunity to compare their practice against a nationally agreed standard of effective practice and affirm and celebrate their successes
  • enable practitioners to identify areas for professional development in a consistent and systematic way
  • form a backdrop to the performance management process.

When the standards are used alongside the practitioner’s role or job description they work together to describe how a practitioner should fulfil their role effectively.

Development of revised professional standards for the education workforce

As part of the New Deal for the education workforce, work is underway to develop revised professional standards. The review is one of a range of New Deal commitments designed to support practitioners to develop their practice and benefit from career-long professional learning.

The review seeks to establish a new framework of standards for all school and further education practitioners who are, or will be, registered with the Education Workforce Council(external link). The revised standards will support practitioners to meet challenges now and in the future, and facilitate career-long professional development.

The Minister has set out the specification for the standards to ensure that they:

  • are clear, concise, accessible and include exemplification to support all practitioners to continually develop their professional practice
  • set challenging but achievable benchmarks at key stages in a practitioner’s career
  • are focused on the learner whilst recognising the wider context of professional practice
  • are part of a longer term change programme that supports practitioners and encourages ambition, aspiration and ownership
  • builds leadership capacity at all levels.

A standards review expert panel was established to inform and guide the work. The panel includes Professor John Furlong and representation from initial teacher training providers, Estyn, the Education Workforce Council and Colegau Cymru.
Panel members bring a wide range of knowledge and expertise of practitioner standards and/or practical engagement with standards as a practitioner or former practitioner. The panel has identified key areas of practice which are common to all practitioners and which will form the backbone of more detailed specifications.

Classroom practitioners have been involved in three sector-specific writing groups:

  • FE practitioners (teachers and learning support staff)
  • school learning support staff
  • school teachers and headteachers.

The groups developed exemplification for the key areas of practice and their practitioner experience will help ensure that they are relevant for all registered practitioners.

Engagement with the profession to scrutinise and refine revised standards will continue, prior to wider consultation.

Existing professional standards

The standards that currently apply in Wales for learning support staff, teachers and headteachers 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. However, schools can access appropriate guidance from existing frameworks including the National Occupational Standards (external link) and the National Joint Council (NJC) job profiles where guidance to assist in defining expected levels of performance can be found. The NJC guidance can be accessed via your local authority. Schools may wish to use the HLTA standards in a developmental way with other support staff.

Experienced and newly qualified teachers will use the Practising Teacher Standards (PTS) as their national descriptions of practice.

Headteachers are required to meet the Leadership Standards (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 will use the Leadership Standards as a tool to support their leadership development.

For all practitioners, performance management objectives will be framed with direct reference to the standards applicable to the practitioner and their role within the school.

Download Documents

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

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