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 .
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 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
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.
Supports available for schools
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.
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.
For further information on the PLC initiative, please contact the Professional Learning Communities Unit, Performance Division:
Reviewed 11 September 2023