School operations

Professional Learning Communities


This policy supports schools to implement the Victorian Professional Learning Communities initiative.


  • Victorian government schools are receiving support to establish professional learning communities.
  • A professional learning community (PLC) is a small group of teachers within a school who meet weekly or fortnightly to improve student learning and wellbeing in their classrooms.
  • PLCs engage in staged and continuous improvement cycles aligned to whole-school goals and priorities.
  • The work of PLCs is underpinned by data and evidence related to student learning and wellbeing, and teaching practice.
  • For further advice on establishing and implementing PLCs in your school, refer to the Guidance tab.


PLCs were introduced in 2016 and are now a core part of Victoria’s architecture for improvement in government schools.

PLCs are teams of teachers within a school who work collaboratively to improve student learning and wellbeing. PLCs work on the school improvement priorities outlined in their school’s School Strategic Plan (SSP) or Annual Implementation Plan (AIP). They use the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes 2.0 Improvement Cycle (FISO) to work through short, 6 to 8 week cycles focused on improving learning and wellbeing.

The department is supporting schools to implement PLCs, with the goal of all Victorian government schools having PLCs established by June 2024.

Schools begin implementation with a pilot PLC. Over time, additional PLCs are established across the school until all teachers and school leaders are working in PLCs.

When implementing the Victorian PLC initiative, PLCs should:

  • comprise small teams of approximately 3 to 6 teachers meeting regularly (every 1 to 2 weeks)
  • use the FISO 2.0 improvement cycle to engage in continuous improvement cycles focused on improving student learning and wellbeing
  • ensure data and evidence forms the starting point for the improvement cycle, and is the foundation for all discussions
  • use protocols and norms to guide the PLC, ensuring that:
    • all voices are heard
    • the inquiry moves past surface assumptions
    • conversations, while professionally challenging, remain safe and inclusive
  • be explicitly supported by the school leadership team, with the principal as the school’s ‘lead learner’
  • align improvement cycles to the school’s strategic direction, for example via the SSP or AIP
  • focus improvement cycles on a small cohort of students within a class/classes.

Some elements of PLC implementation can be adapted to the individual school context, for example:

  • the exact length of the improvement cycle (between 5 weeks and a term in length)
  • the ‘crumb’ – or the specific learning focus – of the improvement cycle
  • the structure/membership of the PLC itself.

Response to Intervention framework

PLCs play an important role in a school’s teaching and learning program. Using a Response to Intervention (RTI) framework, PLCs are categorised as Tier 1 support, where teachers have professional learning opportunities to meet the needs of as many students as possible and are supported to gather evidence about which students are responding to Tier 1 instruction and which students need additional support.

Response to Intervention framework

Refer to 'View long description' for details
Response to Intervention framework


The Response to Intervention framework is as follows.

Tier 3 (Individual)

Intensive interventions for students needing additional support to access the curriculum. Evidence-based intervention is provided individually or in very small groups by an Improvement Teacher.

Tier 2 (Small group)

Supplemental intervention for some students. Delivered in small groups by an Improvement Teacher.

Students are provided with the support they need to succeed in a general education classroom.

Tier 1 (Whole-school)

Teachers have professional learning opportunities to design whole-class instruction that meets the needs of as many students as possible. With the support of school leaders and instructional leaders (such as Improvement Teachers), teachers gather evidence about which students are responding to Tier 1 instruction and which students need additional support.


The framework is presented as a 3-tiered pyramid with Tier 3 at the top, Tier 2 in the middle and Tier 1 at the bottom.

Download Response to Intervention framework

For further information on implementing effective PLCs in schools, refer to the Guidance tab.

Supports available for schools

Regional staff

Area and regional staff can provide support to schools on:

  • use of the FISO improvement cycle
  • curriculum and assessment
  • data interpretation and analysis
  • building a culture of collaboration
  • school systems and structures
  • resources and structures for PLCs.

For further information please contact your senior education improvement leader (SEIL) or email the Professional Learning Communities Unit at

PLC link schools

There are 51 PLC link schools, located in every area across the state and representing a diversity of school types, sizes, contexts and approaches to PLC implementation. PLC link schools share best practice and spread PLC excellence by providing peer-to-peer support to other PLC schools.

To find your area’s link schools and the supports they offer, ask your SEIL or email the Professional Learning Communities Unit at

PLC Coaching Program

PLC Coaching is a free capability-building opportunity for schools to continue to strengthen their PLC practices. Schools will be matched with a coach, who will support them to overcome challenges and adapt the PLC approach to the needs of their school. Areas for focus may include:

  • middle leadership capability-building
  • challenging conversations to drive learning and practice change
  • developing cultures of feedback and trust.

The program includes 12 hours of coaching, split over a maximum of 4 sessions, for up to 3 staff. Coaching can be undertaken individually or in small groups and can be virtual or face to face.

Access to reimbursement for Casual Relief Teacher (CRT) costs is available, with funding differentiated by school size.

Participating schools are required to:

  • complete a brief questionnaire to match the school with the most appropriate coach
  • undertake a pre-coaching conversation with the coach
  • work with the coach to develop a coaching plan that responds to the identified areas of focus.

To find out when the next intake for PLC Coaching is, email the PLC Unit:


For further information on the PLC initiative, please contact the Professional Learning Communities Unit, Performance Division:

Department policy supporting schools to implement the Victorian Professional Learning Communities (PLC) initiative

Reviewed 25 January 2024

Policy last updated

25 January 2024


  • Schools


Professional Learning Communities Unit Performance Division

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