A NEW scheme helping teachers and schools in Wales plan ahead for the new curriculum has been launched, with £24 million funding over the next two years.

The new National Approach to Professional Learning scheme will be launched with £9 million this financial year, and £15 million in 2019-2020 in what the Welsh Government has called "the single biggest investment in support for teachers in Wales since devolution".

The project is intended to help teachers prepare for the new curriculum, due to be introduced in primary schools in Wales in 2022, without disruption day-to-day teaching.

Announcing the new scheme in the Assembly earlier today, Tuesday, education secretary Kirsty Williams said: "The world’s highest-performing education systems have vibrant, engaged educators and support staff who are committed to continuous learning.

"Our new curriculum cannot be delivered without a high-quality education workforce. That is why I am committed to developing a national approach to career-long professional learning that builds capacity from initial teacher education and is embedded in evidence-based research and effective collaboration. "

She added: "This investment will enable teachers, leaders and others in school to take the time that they need to make changes and refine their practice.

"There will be flexibility as part of the funding, allowing schools to work together in ways that suit their own circumstances.

"It will support teachers to develop the skills needed for new curriculum design and delivery, in line with the fundamental shift in approach required in the new curriculum. And it will support dedicated school and cluster-level professional learning coaches and leaders - a key recommendation from university and international research in this area."

The scheme has been widely welcomed within the teaching sector.

Mick Waters, professor of education at Wolverhampton University, and head of an independent review of school teachers’ pay and conditions in Wales, said: “At the heart of this profession is the drive to be the best we can be through taking every opportunity to learn. The Welsh Government's drive to support so thoroughly the professional learning of everyone in schools is an important step on the pathway to better life chances for all young people.”

And director of the Stirling Network for Curriculum Studies Mark Priestly, said: “As Wales embarks on its journey of significant educational reform, the importance of teachers’ professional agency – their capacity to critically shape their responses to complex and problematic situations – is paramount.

"The new Welsh National Approach to Professional Learning is a welcome initiative, which promises to develop teacher agency through systematic collaborative professional learning, explicitly linked to the new curriculum.”

The cash will be handed to local authorities as a grant which must be used for education.