Federal, State and school-based professional development has become a multi-milliondollar educational enterprise in Australia. Yet there are no published models for themaking of systems-level professional development policy. Reviewing the literature onthe characteristics of effective professional development programs, this paper proposesa six-phase model using research and theory for the selection, framing and evaluationof professional development programs in State educational systems. Using categoriesfrom Shulman, the model focuses on an effective analysis of teacher knowledge anddue consideration of contexts for teacher learning. It argues for a research-basedapproach to professional development policy and implementation that balances'informed prescription' with 'informed professionalism'.