British Council 

What are International Professional Learning Communities? 

International Professional Learning Communities (IPLC) are funded by the Welsh Government and delivered by the British Council in Wales. They align with Welsh Government education priorities, and offer teaching professionals from schools and colleges in Wales the chance to collaborate with schools, organisations and networks in other countries. 

Through International Professional Learning Communities, teachers from Wales have the opportunity to visit a country overseas to learn from international colleagues by observing lesson delivery, teaching methodologies and content approach and standards in pupil learning.

Learning exchanges in the past include digital competence in Hong Kong, school leadership in Malaysia, numeracy in India, literacy in Canada, arts in special educational needs in Los Angeles and reducing the impact of poverty on attainment in New York.

2020 visits 

Singapore March 2020: Leadership and continual professional development  


The voice of teachers will make a critical difference in delivering the Education in Wales national mission, the Welsh Government strategy to improve the school system by 2021. There is an identified need to develop leadership skills and teacher capacity in Wales so that learners can reach their full potential. Quality professional learning in all aspects of leadership and development will develop the highly skilled leaders and teachers required for this. 

The week long visit to Singapore will include visits to the Singapore Ministry of Education School Excellence Branch, the Academy of Singapore teachers, the Singapore National Institute of Education and visits to schools to learn how leadership and continuing professional decelopment initiatives are put into practice.

The programme aims to;

  • Introduce new methodologies and approaches to continuing professional decelopment (CPD).
  • Generate ideas for schools and teacher leadership and the improvement of teacher CPD in Wales.
  • Access new knowledge, ideas and insights through discussions with international colleagues in a mutually supportive environment

Learn about our past trips 

Group of people holding Welsh flags in school classroom
Pupils and teachers at Central Senior School, Canada  ©

Anna Vivian Jones

USA: 2019

The visit to New York focussed on the impact of poverty on educational attainment through the community schools approach, and through visits to schools and community organisations, participants observed best practice in successful parental, family and community engagement with schools.

Germany: 2019

The visit to Berlin focussed on strategies for integrating refugees, through visits to public authority institutions, volunteer organisations and schools, participants observed best practice and policies introduced in Berlin ensuring that every child has a right to education.

China, 2018

Visit to China to explore new approaches to primary maths teaching 

The overarching purpose of the visit to Chonqing was to inspire new approaches to primary maths teaching that will translate into concrete action in Welsh schools. During the visit, organised in conjunction with British Council China and the Chonqing Municipal Education Commission, the delegation observed a range of maths educational practice through leading organisations, consultants and schools that implement a high standard of practice within the following fields:

  • Functional maths/ number manipulation
  • Teaching methodologies
  • Best practice in Mastery Maths

India, 2018

Visit to India to explore expressive and socially engaged arts practice 

The IPLC visit to India focused on exploring different kinds of expressive and socially engaged arts practice. It was hosted by British Council India and ThinkArts, an organisation who deliver high quality, transformative arts events to children and young people. 

As part of the programme, the delegation observed a range of expressive arts practice through leading schools and organisations that are using innovative approaches to integrating expressive arts practice inside and outside of the classroom.

The aim of the visit was to inspire new strategies and improve practice within Welsh expressive arts, which represents one of six areas of learning experience within the new Welsh education curriculum. 

Canada 2018

Visit to Canada to explore innovations in languages, literacy and communication teaching 

‘Languages, Literacy and Communication’ is the largest of six areas of Learning and Experience (AoLE) within the development of the new curriculum in Wales.

The 2018 IPLC visit to Canada, in conjunction with British Council Canada, explored innovations in languages, literacy and communication (LLC) teaching and strategies for developing:

  • Speaking 
  • Listening
  • Reading 
  • Writing
  • Communicating

During the visit, the delegation observed a range of languages, literacy and communication practice through leading organisations and schools that implement high standards of teaching. This should inspire new approaches to improving practice that will transform into Welsh school practice and lead to the development of new strategies to develop students’ 21st century skills.

The visit programme aimed to:

  • Develop effective methods to prepare the teaching workforce to meet the challenge;
  • Analyse the impact of whole-school strategies on pupils’literacy;
  • Develop more effective pedagogies across all languages offered in the curriculum;
  • Gain support in developing creative teaching materials and build sustainable partnerships for innovating and sharing ideas for effective teaching practice.

Northern Ireland 2018

Visit to Northern Ireland to observe best practice in use of digital technology 

This visit, targeted towards schools who'd like additional support to implement the Digital Competence Framework, allowed Welsh practitioners to observe best practice in the use of digital technology for cross-curricular learning.

We worked with the Department of Education Northern Ireland and the AmmA Centre; a multimedia creative learning centre which enhances and enriches pupils’ skills and creativity through new pathways such as:

  • Digital video editing and camera techniques
  • Multi-media design
  • Digital story telling

During the visit to Northern Ireland, the delegation observed a range of digital competence practice through AmmA, the Education Authority C2k project and schools that implement a high standard of digital competence, giving practitioners the unique opportunity to observe best practice to inspire their own strategic vision on how to translate the Digital Competence Framework into practice in their own classrooms.

Ontario, Canada. 2017

Visit to Canada to observe a range of modern foreign language practice

Teachers from schools in west Wales visited Ontario to see the province’s innovative approaches to modern foreign language learning.

The Welsh Government’s Global Futures Plan, launched in June 2015, aims to tackle the decline in the number of pupils in Wales studying Modern Foreign Languages at GCSE level. The visit, arranged with the Ontario Ministry of Education and the British Council Canada, helped the teachers develop new approaches to teaching languages back in Wales. 

They visited leading organisations and schools that demonstrate high standards of language teaching. They also observed a range of innovations in modern foreign language teaching and strategies for engaging pupils in modern foreign language learning. It is hoped that this will help to develop new approaches to improve modern foreign language practice in Welsh schools, and to create new strategies to develop students’ skills.

The programme covered the following themes, which have been identified as key areas for development in Wales:

  • Insight into effective cross-curricular language teaching
  • Expand on the range of strategies for intercultural understanding and language learning provided by the Welsh Government modern foreign language curriculum guide
  • Engage pupils and parents in modern foreign language learning - male pupils and disadvantaged areas
  • Gain support in developing creative teaching materials and build sustainable partnerships for innovating and sharing ideas for effective teaching practice 

Find out more about what our language experts from Wales learnt while in Ontario 

Seattle, USA. 2017

Visit to Seattle to explore approaches to workforce skills development

We are pleased to have worked with Colleges Wales to co-ordinate the programme for senior leaders from further education colleges in Wales to visit Seattle.

During the visit to Seattle, the delegation of senior college leaders from across Wales observed best practice in workforce skills development and explored the integrated network of partners that collaborate to ensure that education and training prepare the population for the world of work.  The visit will help to inform policy and help shape the further education sector in Wales.

Find out more about what the group learnt while in Seattle 

Hong Kong. 2017

Visit to Hong Kong to explore approaches to digital competence

The Digital Competence Framework is the first element of the new school curriculum for Wales to be made available. With this in mind, the overall purpose of the 2017 International Professional Learning Communities visit to Hong Kong was to inspire new approaches to improving digital competence across school curriculum areas. 

Teachers from primary schools in North and South Wales observed a range of digital practice in organisations and schools in Hong Kong that implement a high standard of digital competence. The programme covered the four strands of the new Digital Competence Framework. This gave teachers the unique opportunity to observe international best practice that will lead to the translation of the Digital Competence Framework into practice in their own classrooms. 

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