Professional Enquiry

Professional enquiry promotes levels of critical reflection that are transformative. It is a ‘finding out’ or an investigation with a rationale and approach that can be explained or defended. The findings can then be shared so it becomes more than reflection or personal enquiry. For the aspiring leader, regular engagement in practitioner enquiry supports professional growth by challenging or ‘disrupting thinking’ and ‘ingrained habits of mind’.

Your professional enquiry will be undertaken within your own practice/context. You have the opportunity to take a collaborative approach to your enquiry with other members of the cohort if appropriate. We ask that ahead of the programme that you discuss potential areas for enquiry with your line manager. You are looking for a project that allows you to develop your leadership through this professional learning and is in line with the School Improvement Plan. A suitable practitioner enquiry helps to create a space to stop and look again at existing ways of working.

Leaders who engage in research have a deeper critical understanding of their teaching and leadership practice and can drive forward tangible change more effectively. Practitioner research can play a major part in making change sustainable and systemic as practitioners become ‘agents of their own professional learning’. Systematic enquiry helps teachers to ‘let go’, unlearn, innovate and re-skill in cycles of professional learning throughout their career in response to changing circumstances. 

Your VIBE professional enquiry has the potential to transform your professional practice and your school. We will provide you with the tools and techniques to help shape and guide your Professional Enquiry.

We will utilise the GTCS Professional Enquiry Framework to develop your Professional Enquiry. These questions can help prompt your actions at each stage. It is also essential that you reflect on the impact of your enquiry on practice as a Middle Leader.


Define then redefine your problem – make sure what you think is the issue is the issue! How does it fit in? How does it relate to local and national curriculum and assessment policies?


Using Education Source – EBSCO – literature review. How will you tackle it? What are we actually going to do?


How do you measure a change? What’s the plan? What’s the situation now? Implement the idea


What data did you collect? What does that tell you?


How are you going to change your practice?


Who needs to know? Who would like to know? Who can also learn from your enquiry?

This is adapted from the framework produced by Fearghal Kelly.


Reading Critically

We understand that it might be a while since you have had to read academically so we have included a guide in your workbooks to help you develop your critical literacy skills. There is also some great advice on the GTCS Website to help you explore what it means to read critically.


Professional Poster

You will be asked to submit a professional poster and deliver a 15 minute presentation based on your professional enquiry at the end of the programme. You are asked to submit your professional poster for assessment ahead of your presentation. Below is the template for your professional poster. This should form an overview of your enquiry. You can also use a slide deck during your presentation if desired.

VIBE Practitioner Enquiry Template

Assessment criteria for your professional poster

The Standard for Middle Leadership 2021.

  • 2.2.2 Understand and demonstrate self-awareness and inspire and motivate others.
  • 2.2.4 Communicate effectively
  • 3.4.1 Develop and Sustain a range of inclusive and supportive relationships, processes and practices which promote a culture of self-evaluation in line with agreed strategic and operational priorities.
  • 3.4.2 Develop and sustain the effective use of a wide range of robust and credible information to support and inform decisions and improvements across the school and learning community in line with agreed strategic an operational priority.


Enquiry Professional Poster Presentation

You will be asked to present your professional poster to the rest of the cohort and assessment panel. If you have chosen a collaborative approach, each member of the team will be asked to present individually, but your presentations should reflect the ways in which your approach was collaborative and what you have found. Your presentation will be formatively assessed and you will receive formative feedback from the assessment panel and peer feedback which can be used to inform your final essay if relevant.

You are expected to effectively communicate your approach to your practitioners enquiry, your findings and next steps as well as critically reflect on the impact on your development as a middle leader your self-evaluation and the impact on school improvement in line with the Professional Standard for Middle Leadership.

Treehouse Login

Not Joined Treehouse?