Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

Focus Group Analysis of “Teacher Professional Learning (TPL) in Northern Ireland (NI)” Proposals


The final report of the focus group on the Teacher Professional Learning in Northern Ireland proposals by Dr Allison Campbell, Dr Patricia Eaton, Dr Paul McFlynn and Dr Emilia Symington.

A copy of the full report is attached. An extract from the introduction is below:


Purpose of the Research

The background to the project was set out by the Department of Education in its project

1. The Department of Education’s (DE) Teacher Education Team (TET), in
association with educational partners in Northern Ireland, is responsible for the
implementation of DE’s Teacher Professional Learning (TPL) Strategy, “Learning

2. The Strategy sets out the Department’s vision for teacher professional learning as
“Every teacher is a learning leader, accomplished in working collaboratively with
all partners in the interests of children and young people”. Published in 2016, the
aim of the Strategy is to empower the teaching profession to strengthen its
professionalism and expertise to meet the challenging educational needs of young
people in the 21st century.

3. In essence, the Strategy envisages that teachers determine their own continued
professional learning throughout their career as the agent of their own
improvement. TPL is not something to be ‘done to’, but is best when based on an
individual’s understanding of their personal needs, in the context of their learners,
the school and the community in which they work.

4. A proposals paper entitled “Teacher Professional Learning in Northern Ireland”
summarised the development work carried out by three working groups1 during
2019-20, and was approved by the Learning Leaders Oversight Group2
for use in discussions with targeted Focus Groups in the education sector. An associated
aide memoire / poster has also been produced (see Appendix 1)