Policies promoting decentralization and a new localism have had a significant impact on public services including education in the UK and internationally. Distributed leadership provides the infra-structure that holds the community together, as it is the collective work of educators, at multiple levels who are leading innovative work that creates and sustains successful professional learning communities. The development of multiple networks of professional learning communities (PLCs) was an attempt to re-structure and re-culture the practice landscape of the Welsh education system. Central government in Wales has struggled with the relative under-performance of the education system over the last decade and has explored various policy options with regard to school improvement before settling on its current collaborative approach, heavily influenced by the notion of a self-improving system. Viewing schools and education systems through the theoretical lens of practice architectures and landscapes allowed for a comparative analysis of the conditions at different levels of a system that supports PLCs to develop.