Growing Into the Role of Professional Learning Lead

By James Abley

Professional Learning Lead at ATT Institute

Throughout my career, I’ve experienced firsthand the profound impact of learning within the workplace. Continuous learning has been my compass, guiding me toward personal and professional growth. Now, as the professional learning lead at the ATT Institute, I find myself at the beginning of a transformative journey.


In just six weeks since undertaking this important role, I’ve witnessed remarkable growth within myself. As a leader, I’ve embraced new skills and knowledge, equipping me to fulfil my responsibilities effectively. The path hasn’t been without challenges—juggling multiple tasks, adapting to not being in the classroom and working at scale, demands focus, organisation and resilience. Fortunately for me, my exceptional colleagues at the Institute have been my expert guides, providing invaluable expertise day by day to support my growth in the role and my induction to ATT and the Institute.


Reflecting on my early days as a trainee teacher and newly qualified teacher (NQT), I recall the absence of robust research, theory, and deliberate practice and how we were expected to just “get on” with the job. It’s precisely this gap, filled by the ECF, CCF and NPQs that fuels my excitement as I strategically lead the Early Career Framework (ECF) and step into the role of lead mentor for our exciting ITT programme, starting in September. The wealth of high-quality training available to those embarking on their careers through the ATT Institute is something we’re extremely proud of—a chance to empower the next generation of educators.


My journey, prompted by the NPQLTD (National Professional Qualification for Leading Teacher Development) with Ambition, has ignited a passion for lifelong professional development. As I delve deeper into this area, I remind myself that growth isn’t a destination; it’s a continuous voyage—one that shapes not only our careers but also our impact on others. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn, grow and support the Institute mission to transform professional development for our people and partners.