Managing Teacher Appraisals & Capability

The Government has placed a great deal of scrutiny on the management of teacher performance in schools. The aim of the new arrangements for managing teacher performance, introduced in September 2012, recognised that schools require greater flexibility, freedom and authority when managing teaching staff who do not meet the required standards. The teaching profession continually strives to provide excellent standards in teaching and many of the professionals working within the sector are highly proficient. However, poor performance can have a very detrimental effect on pupils and the school. This article reminds schools of the key changes to the regulations, along with their responsibilities and outlines how Peninsula can support clients from the education sector to ensure their current capability procedures are correct and up-to-date.

Key changes to the previous arrangements

  • A written appraisal policy is required and teachers are entitled to receive a written appraisal report following each appraisal;
  • Teaching staff should have very clear objectives in place;
  • Teachers’ performance must be assessed annually against the relevant standards (Teaching Standards) to ensure a clear and transparent system for schools in maintaining staff performance.
  • The three hour limit on classroom observations has been removed in order to enable governing bodies to decide on the appropriate levels of observation for their school, which gives them greater flexibility;
  • There is no ‘informal’ stage in the capability procedure – the entire procedure is managed with all stages on a formal recorded basis;
  • The suggested length of the monitoring and review period following a first warning has been reduced from 20 weeks to 4-10 weeks.

General guidance:

Under-performance can occur for a variety of reasons, therefore individual circumstances underlying any performance issues must be taken into account. The length of the review period must be reasonable and appropriate to the circumstances of each case and there must be a sufficient time period to allow improvement to take place. Schools must ensure:
  • Teachers are informed of the standards against which their performance will be assessed. This can include any relevant professional standards as well as the Teachers’ Standards 2012.
  • Performance is always be assessed against those standards
  • An assessment of the teacher’s training and development needs and where relevant a recommendation on pay progression. This is especially relevant given the introduction of performance related pay for teachers in 2013.

Which type of schools do the regulations apply to?

They are compulsory for maintained schools (including special schools), however, other types of schools may introduce the regulations. The regulations do not apply in:
  • Academies;
  • Free Schools;
  • Independent schools;
  • Sixth-form colleges.
Which staff do they apply to?
  • Appraisals – apply to the head teacher and all teachers employed by the school;
  • Formal capability procedure – applies only to teachers (including the head teacher) about whose performance there are serious concerns which the appraisal process has been unable to address.
Which staff don’t they apply to?
  • Those on contracts of less than one term;
  • Those undergoing induction (i.e. Newly Qualified Teachers);
  • Support staff.
Peninsula’s specialist Education Team Advice can assist in checking over current policies to ensure they are compliant and also provide full advice and support in managing teacher performance. Call the Education Team on 0844 892 2810.

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