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It’s that time of year again when most schools have either set or are in the process of finalising their appraisal targets for the next academic year. Some schools will also be setting support staff targets while others choose to do this later in the year.
What is key is that targets are there, supporting the delivery of the school improvement plan, helping pupils attain to the very best of their ability, with staff clear about what they need to do and the professional development that will enable them to achieve those targets.
Embedded within the process must be an assessment of the national teacher standards – these describe the ‘how’ of what teachers do in the classroom. And, when Ofsted comes calling and assesses the effectiveness of teaching, learning and assessment, one of the things they will look at is the extent to which the teachers’ standards are being met.
Including objectives and standards in the appraisal process is statutory for teachers. School pay policies may well set out other assessment criteria.
Getting the most from this framework requires more than a ‘tick box’ mentality with a few rushed conversations with staff.
Creating time for meetings where progress can be reviewed and meaningful dialogue happens is what adds value. Appraisers need to be supportive, but also ready to be challenging when needed. Remember, challenging may not just be when there are difficulties: challenging can also involve encouraging people to stretch their career horizons and get ready for future responsibility.
Getting the most out of appraisal happens when there is a collective approach led by the senior leadership team. Proper planning and preparation are the foundations of the process. Appraisal doesn’t stop when the targets are all set – it’s an ongoing process over the year – make sure you book some dates to come together as a team of appraisers to review how it’s going in your school and what you may need to change either for this year, or in future years.
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