Staff Appraisal Time: Don’t Have A ‘Big Keith’

Appraisal or performance management or performance appraisal (PA) should be supportive and developmental process to ensure that all teachers have the skills and support they need to carry out their role effectively.

That’s what it should be. 

Schools must have an annual appraisal process for teachers and this is something that should be welcomed by everyone.

It often isn’t. Teachers would prefer undergoing root canal denistry work.

Teachers must be given a written appraisal report which sets out, an assessment of their performance, an assessment of their training and development needs and a recommendation on pay progression.

This normally happens. 

The headteacher is responsible for the appraisal of other teachers but may delegate this duty to other appropriate teacher, usually those with management responsibilities.

Make sure it’s your head that does your appraisal. 

You should get a PAT or a Pre-Appraisal Template and for all the areas identified you will be expected to provide evidence.

Hopefully your appraisal won’t look anything like Big Keith’s from The Office. His commitment to the process is underwhelming to say the least.


10 Ways Appraisal Is Effective

Appraisal can be productive and it doesn’t have to be a ‘Big Keith’ experience. According to Piggot-Irvine (2003) effectiveness occurs

when appraisal interactions are non-controlling, non-defensive, supportive, educative and yet confidential. Effective appraisal therefore is underpinned by a relationship of respect and has outcomes directly linked to improved learning and teaching.”

A healthy PA system should help align individual performance with organisational objectives, support development and growth and improve communication. According to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), appraisal is effective when:

  1. performance objectives are aligned to the school improvement plan
  2. teacher appraisal is accepted as a key part of a team and senior leader role
  3. key elements of appraisal (setting objectives, monitoring progress, giving feedback) are ongoing activities, not just once a year
  4. teachers and staff actively participate in the objective setting and review process – it is a partnership, so that teachers and staff members feel accountable for their own performance
  5. appraisals focus on both outputs/results (the ‘what’) and behaviours (the ‘how’)
  6. there is effective use of both quantitative (for example test results, reading scores, attendance and behaviour statistics) and qualitative data (for example pupil participation in extracurricular activities, pupil voice including school councils, parental questionnaires) to inform judgements on performance
  7. focus is on the quality and relevance of the objectives and the discussion, not on the appraisal form
  8. appraisal, observation and review drives action
  9. appraisal focuses on strengths as well as weaknesses
  10. teachers are encouraged to include their own aspirations in the discussion

(NB: the NCTLhas been repurposed and no longer exists).

Appraisal should enable a professional discussion to take place regarding workload and priorities and gives staff the appropriate focus, development and support. It should also provide staff with an opportunity to discuss in confidence any matters regarding their employment at work that may inhibit their performance.

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