Appraisal process for teachers


As a member of school staff you will have an appraisal review once a year with your line manager. You might be apprehensive before attending your appraisal review, especially if you have concerns about your performance with meeting objectives.

The concept of appraisal is supposed to be a supportive and developmental process designed to ensure that all members of staff have the skills and support they need to carry out their role effectively. It helps to ensure that staff are able to continue to improve their professional practice. 

The appraisal process normally runs from 1 September to 31 August. Your school will have a policy outlining how its appraisal process should operate.

In this article, we look at the Appraisal Regulations, how objectives should be set and what can happen if you don’t meet your objectives.

What are the Appraisal Regulations?

Appraisal arrangements are set out in the Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012 (the Appraisal Regulations). The Appraisal Regulations set out the principles that apply to teachers in all maintained schools and centrally employed (or unattached) teachers employed by a local authority, in each case where they are employed for one term or more. 

The Department for Education (DfE) explains in its model policy that it is also good practice for academies to follow the Appraisal Regulations although they are not legally required to do so.

Performance for teachers and headteachers is made against the Teachers’ Standards.

The standards should be used to:

  • Set minimum expectations of teachers, and
  • Assess performance against these expectations

How should my objectives be set?

Objectives for each teacher will be set before, or as soon as practicable after, the start of each appraisal period. The objectives set for each teacher, should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

The DfE explains that objectives and appraisal discussion will not be based on teacher generated data and predictions, or solely on the assessment data for a single group of pupils.

Objectives can set in relation to assessment data, however, these will not be used in isolation and other factors will also be considered when making decisions about pay progression.

Normally you should not be set more than five objectives to focus on.

How should my performance be assessed?

According to the DfE’s model appraisal policy, teacher performance can be assessed through:

  • Observation of classroom practice and other responsibilities. It can be used as a way of assessing your performance in order to identify any particular strengths and areas for development. All observations should be carried out in a supportive fashion and not add to teacher workload.
  • Feedback. You should be receiving constructive feedback on your performance throughout the year and as soon as practicable after observation has taken place. 
  • Evidence. The range and level of evidence collected for appraisal and pay determination purposes should always be proportionate and minimise workload

Where there are concerns about any aspects of your performance the appraiser will meet you formally to:

  • Give clear feedback about the nature and seriousness of the concerns
  • Give you the opportunity to comment and discuss the concerns
  • Set clear objectives for required improvement
  • Agree any support (for example, coaching, mentoring, structured observations), that will be provided to help address those specific concerns
  • Make clear how, and by when, the appraiser will review progress
  • Explain the implications and process if no, or insufficient, improvement is made, for example, impact on pay progression and potential move to formal capability

When progress is reviewed, if the appraiser is satisfied that you have made, or is making, sufficient improvement, the appraisal process will continue as normal, with any remaining issues continuing to be addressed through that process.

What happens if I don’t meet my objectives?

If your school believe that you are demonstrating underperformance, and have not responded to support within the appraisal process, you might be invited to a formal capability meeting. 

Edapt has published another article which outlines the capability process in schools.

What should I receive in my appraisal report?

Teachers will receive an appraisal report at the end of each appraisal period. The appraisal report can include:

  • Details of your objectives
  • An assessment of your performance in the role and responsibilities against objectives and the relevant standards
  • An assessment of your professional development needs and identification of any action that should be taken to address them
  • A recommendation on pay where that is relevant

What should I do if I don’t agree with my objectives?

You should raise any concerns with your line manager if you feel that certain objectives are not appropriate. If after raising concerns with your line manager and/or headteacher you must be given the opportunity to note your concerns alongside the objectives.

Inappropriate objectives can be challenged using the grievance procedure.

We have produced another article which outlines how to raise a grievance at school.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.